Florida State football’s defense was simply outmatched by Miami and D’Eriq King tonight. Early on, it was evident that FSU was willing to play conservative, “bend, don’t break defense,” but they had trouble with the don’t break problem. Miami scored on all six of their first half drives (five touchdowns and a field goal) which led to a 38-3 halftime lead and effectively ended the game. Here are our defensive observations from the loss.
- Both Joshua Kaindoh and Hamsah Nasirildeen were out on the field prior to the game, looking like they would give it a go, but neither touched the field. Without their best defensive end and safety, the ‘Noles were simply at a competitive disadvantage when it came to talent. Since Kaindoh went down against Georgia Tech, FSU’s defense hasn’t looked nearly the same.
- To try and offset the difference in skill level, Adam Fuller switched up his defensive system. After having a traditional 4-3 defense in week one, Fuller went to a three-man front using backers to generate pressure in the first half. FSU seemed to be content with just containing King, instead of rushing him, and letting him beat them with his arm. But as the linebackers became too focused on King’s legs, Miami’s receivers began to find and expose holes in Florida State’s zone defense.
- Early on this season, Miami had been beating teams with shot and bust plays on offense. FSU limited those shot plays tonight, but couldn’t get themselves off the field. Florida State forced Miami into 10 third downs, they fell short on just two, despite having an average 6.5 yards to go on third. Both of their third down failures, led to fourth down conversions. Miami never punted in the first half and only kicked a field goal on first down as time ran out in the first half.
- FSU has struggled to find a second cornerback behind Asante Samuel Jr. this season. In week one, Jarrian Jones was the starter and was beat multiple times in one-on-one. Akeem Dent got the start and Jarvis Brownlee saw his first action of the season tonight. Both corners were beat for big gains on the night. Meiko Dotson, last year’s nation leader in interceptions, has yet to be active through two games. If FSU doesn’t find their second CB soon, it will be a long year for the secondary.
- Speaking of Samuel Jr., there were still some bright spots for the defense tonight. After having two interceptions week one, Samuel put together another strong performance against the Canes.
- Redshirt FR Travis Jay also had a solid night, posting seven tackles and a forced fumble. Jay flashed multiple times with big hits and was consistently around the ball throughout the night. On the negative side, Jay was seen on crutches heading to the locker room late in the game.
- Outside of two facemask penalties, Amari Gainer had a good night for the ‘Noles. He posted eight total tackles and a TFL. Cory Durden also had a forced fumble on 4th and 1, one of FSU’s two defensive stops on the night.