Miami football gets ready for one of its biggest games on the schedule: Florida State comes to town on Saturday. After last Thursday’s win over North Carolina, the Hurricanes have a long week to prepare for the Seminoles.
Florida State is also coming off a win over Louisville — thanks to a catch-and-run touchdown from Nyqwan Murray. But as FSU has struggled to adjust offensively under the new regime of Willie Taggart, the offensive line has routinely had issues.
So far this season, through the first five games, FSU’s offense has been tackled for a loss 43 times, or 8.6 per game. Both of those numbers rank dead last in the ACC. In the win over Louisville, Florida State didn’t give up a sack, which is a positive, obviously. However, the Seminoles have allowed 12 sacks (2.4 per game) so far this season. Within the ACC, only Louisville has allowed more: 15.
With Gerald Willis and Jonathan Garvin leading the charge, Miami football continues to get outstanding play from its defensive line. Miami is one of three FBS teams currently averaging double-digit tackles for loss per game. The Hurricanes lead the nation with 12 tackles for loss per game (60 total).
According to Football Study Hall, Miami’s defense ranks No. 1 nationally in Havoc Rate. After the UNC game now, Miami has recorded a tackle for loss, forced a fumble, or defensed a pass on 28.2 percent of the plays it had faced so far this season. That’s an insane number.
After losing seven straight to FSU (2010-16), Miami snapped the streak last season — a 24-20 victory in Doak Campbell Stadium. Miami football hasn’t won two straight in this series since 2004; however, that could change this week. The U has emerged, early, as a big favorite over FSU — almost two touchdowns.
Mark Richt’s club has plenty of awesome playmakers on offense and special teams. At the quarterback position, the N’Kosi Perry era has arrived, too. However, if Miami is to keep this ship sailing — and keep pace in the Coastal Division race — it will be the defense that leads the way.