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Nolecast: Florida State at Miami preview and prediction

FSU has a chance to upset Miami is these things go right.

Bud Elliott and Ingram Smith return with the 56th Nolecast episode of 2018. The Nolecast is the No. 1 Florida State Seminoles podcast.

Listen in the player below this article, or on Apple Podcasts (iTunes), Stitcher, or Google Play Music

Show notes are as follows, roughly in order

Here is what we believe will happen, and that we are looking to find out. These show notes are sometimes shorthand, but we include them because the listeners and readers want it.

  • How good is Miami? A legitimate Top-20 team.
  • But didn’t they look like crap against LSU? Parts of the Hurricanes did, but they didn’t play nearly as poorly as their final result indicated.

Miami’s offense (24th) v. FSU’s defense (33rd)


  • 44th in efficiency, 51st in explosiveness. 69th in marginal efficiency, and 25th in marginal explosiveness. Safe to say that Miami is better at hitting big plays than it is at sustaining drives.
  • The Hurricanes have been tremendous in the scoring zone, ranking 3rd nationally.
  • They’ve also had tremendous starting field position (6th nationally) thanks to their defense and special teams.


  • Conversely, FSU’s defense is good at stopping drives (49th, 37th), but will give up big plays (73rd, 75th).
  • One key difference is that FSU’s defense has had to face the 127th worst field position from opposing offenses, which is a huge difference.
  • FSU has been elite at preventing red zone scoring (7th nationally) so something here will have to give.

Personnel and scheme

  • Miami has been OK throwing the ball (55th in efficiency, 47th in explosiveness), but have been somewhat better under N’Kosi Perry after he was inserted two games ago.
  • Perry has big physical tools, but also some questions. He has the same yards/attempt as Rosier, despite playing worse competition. And he’s already thrown three interceptions. His completion rate is better than Rosier’s was by a lot (67% v. 52%).
  • He has also not had to throw from behind, or in a tight game.
  • Miami is without receiver Ahmmon Richards, but slot receiver Jeff Thomas is one of the fastest players in college football and will be a huge problem. He has an incredible 25 yards/catch this year, and Miami uses him to get out of trouble.
  • Miami is much better on standard downs than it is passing downs. It’s an offense that heavily uses the RPO and play-action, and the QB running (about 8 carries/game), and these things work better when the threat of the run matters.
  • Speaking of the run game, Miami is not great at it on a down-down basis (82nd), but does hit explosive runs (16th).
  • Travis Homer is a dependable, instinctive back with some wiggle and the ability to hit a home run. The offensive line for Miami is definitely not great.
  • Miami has the personnel to pick on FSU’s linebackers and safeties, who aren’t very good.

FSU’s offense (109th) v. Miami’s defense (26th)

  • This is a huge mismatch.
  • FSU’s efficiency (125th/110th) is not likely to get better against a Miami defense that doesn’t allow many sustained drives (4th and 15th).
  • If FSU is going to find success, it will need to be with the big play. FSU’s explosiveness (15th, 30th) is about all it has, and Miami does give it up at times (94th, 60th).
  • Field position is going to be key. FSU’s starting field position has been atrocious. It is constantly losing games because it suffered from a 100+ yard FP disadvantage on the regular.
  • Deondre Francois is going to need to be quick and correct in his decision making. And he must be willing to run. Miami’s defense can’t be allowed to play 11 on 10.
  • Miami has some strange splits with standard and passing downs. They seem to play a lot better on standard downs than passing downs, which is odd because the defense has the advantage in long down and distance. The Hurricanes love to try to sack the QB on first and second down, but aren’t quite as good getting to the QB on long down and distance.
  • Play-action on early downs with the intent of pushing the ball down the field will be key.
  • Miami’s defensive line is plenty disruptive. Gerald Willis in the middle should give FSU fits because the Seminoles’ guards are really slow.
  • Jonathan Garvin and Joe Jackson on the outside have the speed to give FSU a lot of trouble. Not expecting Dickerson to play.
  • Bill Connelly’s stuff rate. FSU dead last in stuffs allowed, Miami leads the nation.
  • Given how much Miami likes to penetrate, FSU should probably go more gap scheme this week instead of zone scheme. But the problem with that is that FSU’s guards are not good pullers, so the advantage of lessening the penetration could be negated.
  • Miami has some of the best linebackers in the country, so getting blockers on them will be key.
  • The Hurricanes will try to play man-man across the board, so FSU has to be able to win there.
  • Well-timed screens will also be important.


FSU literally is 130th in turnover luck. Miami is 22nd. To spring the upset, FSU will need to be probably +3 in turnover margin.