The Florida State Seminoles have looked unworldly through 7 games this season.
QB Jameis Winston is on a short list of Heisman frontrunners. Kelvin Benjamin looks like a poor man's Calvin Johnson. Fellow WR Rashad Green plays with the speed and savvy of a young Donald Driver. And Nick O'Leary has developed into a very reliable red zone target.
They can run the ball too.
The defense led by do-it-all DB Lamarcus Joyner, is fast and ferocious. When they force turnovers the way they did against Clemson, they can put you in a world of hurt in a hurry.
But they aren't unbeatable. No team is.
Miami will need to play their best game of the year to achieve a season defining win.
Here are the keys to victory:
Fluster Winston. No easy task for sure. Jameis Winston looks to be arguably the most poised and polished red shirt freshman QB in the history of college football. And he's extra dangerous when you blitz him.
But he is still a red shirt freshman.
Boston College was able to get pressure on Winston for about a quarter and a half, and he looked almost ordinary, before going off. Same with Bethune Cookman where Winston was just 10-19 for 148 (though it is important to point out FSU won both of those games handily).
"We felt that if we could get to him and disrupt his rhythm a little bit that we could cause a disruption in their offense and we did." - Bethune Cookman Head Coach Brian Jenkins
Miami will need Anthony Chickillo, Shayon Green, and Olsen Pierre to make the pocket uncomfortable on early downs, and Al-Quadin Muhammad and Tyriq McCord to get after him on obvious passing situations.
Once they get there they better bring the wood, as Winston does not go down easy alla Big Ben Roethlisberger.
Miami's pass rush started out hot, with 20 sacks through their first 6 games. But against UNC and Wake Forest they struggled a bit to get consistent pressure. Against FSU they will need to get after Jameis early and often to have a shot.
Pound the rock over and over and over and over. It will be no easy sledding against a very talented front seven featuring Christian Jones. FSU's defensive front has been unleashed this season behind the extremely aggressive mindset of 1st year defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt.
Against NC State, the Noles had 9 different players produce tackles for loss!
However, Andre Williams and Boston College did gash the Noles for 200 on the ground back on 09/28.
And make no mistake about it, running the ball is the strength of the Hurricanes' offense. Duke Johnson and Dallas Crawford, running behind Miami's massive and talented O line, have willed UM to wins the past two weeks.
Johnson will need to exploit every slight crack of daylight he can in Tallahassee, as well as break some tackles and make a few men miss against that heavy blitzing front.
The strength of the Seminoles D is the secondary, so Miami probably needs to get at least two bills on the ground on Saturday Night to remain unbeaten.
Make at least one big play in special teams that produces or sets up a score. Punt block, kick off return, punt return.... doesn't matter which one. Duke has a history of big time returns, and Stacy Coley has been close to breaking one as well the past few weeks.
Artie Burns and Ladarius Gunter teamed up to produce a huge FG block and score 2 weeks back against UNC.
Miami needs more of the same against FSU.
"I've always said, when you make good plays on special teams it is the easiest way to win a football game. And if you don't make plays, it is the easiest way to lose a football game." - Frank Beamer
Especially when you are a road underdog.
Win the turnover battle. Don't look now 'Canes fans, but UM went an entire game with out a turnover against Wake Forest.
Miami's struggles to take care of the ball this season have been well documented.
Lest we forget that in their biggest win of the season they won the TO battle 5-1 against the dreaded Gators. It certainly wouldn't hurt to get a few against the vaunted Seminoles.
If UM wants to get blown out against FSU, the easiest way would be to be sloppy with the football. Just ask Tajh Boyd and Clemson who found themselves buried and bludgeoned following three first half turnovers.
So there you have it folks.
Rattle Winston, pound the ball all night, make a big play in special teams. and win the turnover battle, and Miami wins.
Easy? Of course not!
Impossible? Far from it.