This post is to introduce people to the teams' defenses. It lists the rankings of the two teams and some of the more important stats that go along with playing defense. I listed some of the top producing players from each team and position to help familiarize readers that may not follow the other school. I'm not saying one player is better than the other, or that a player not listed isn't any good. If I don't spend enough time praising your favorite player I sincerely apologize.
Defense vs Defense: Miami and FSU come in with a lot of hype around the offenses,(click here for info on the offenses), but if you follow Miami or watched FSU against Clemson, you know that the defenses have played a huge role in the team being undefeated. Both are ranked in the top 25 - with FSU ranking 8th overall and Miami ranking 16th.
Top Defensive Lineman:
UM: Shayon Green - 31 TT / 7.5 TFL / 3 Sacks
FSU: Jacobbi McDaniel - 21 TT / 1.5 TFL / 0 Sacks
Rush Defense: FSU is ranked 29th in the nation against the run while Miami is ranked 39th. A difference of six yards a game creates that difference, with FSU giving up an average of 135.7 yards a game and Miami giving up 141.7. Miami's run defense is much improved and one of the biggest reasons why UM has stayed undefeated. FSU hasn't had to deal with the run much, due to them being able to score 35 points in the first quarter and force opponents to abandon the run. While not strictly rushing-defensive statistics, FSU leads UM in Tackles For Loss 49 to 44 while Miami leads FSU in forced fumbles 10 to 7.
Thoughts: Miami has come a long way from last season when it comes to the run They will need to muster up the same sort of performance they had against Florida. If Miami is going to challenge FSU, they have to keep the run game in check - Winston is too talented to have the running game and play action at his disposal. Last year FSU held Miami to 29 yards. With UM becoming more reliant on the run, the FSU defensive line should see plenty of action. In the 5 games FSU has played against ACC teams they have only given up a 3.3 ypc average, although two backs were able to go over 100 yards rushing in those games . If FSU shuts down the Miami run game again this year, things will most likely get pretty rough for UM.
UM: Denzel Perryman - 52 TT / 1.5 TFL / 3 PBU / 1 FF / 2 QBH
FSU: Telvin Smith - 49 TT / 5 TFL / 1 Sack / 1 INT/ 3 PBU / 2 QBH
Pass Defense: FSU is the best in the nation at pass defense. FSU gives up on average 153.7 yards a game through the air, only allowing 200 or more yards twice in their last 11 home games. Miami comes in 17th in the nation, giving up 200.6 yards a game. UM has the edge in interceptions - leading the Noles 12-10. Miami also leads FSU in sacks by a count of 22 to 17, but FSU leads UM 19 to 13 in quarterback hurries. The two teams create the QB pressure differently. FSU's leaders in sacks are a LB and DB while UMs sack leaders are all DEs.
TOP Defensive Backs:
UM: Ladarius Gunter - 23 TT / 1 TFL / 2 INTS / 4 PBU
FSU: Lamarcus Joyner - 37 TT / 4TFL / 3 Sacks / 1 INT / 3PBU
Thoughts: Miami is going to have its hands full this week trying to slow down WInston. The past two weeks they have faced pass first teams and things haven't gone well. Bush and Howard are going to need to live up to their names and have monster games, while Gunter is going to need to continue to play at a high level. Will they shut down FSU? No, probably not... if they can create some sort of 'bend but don't break' style and get a turnover or two, that may be the best UM fans can hope for. FSU has way too many weapons in the passing game to shut everyone down. The UM defensive line can help by creating pressure without having to blitz. DE Tyriq McCord may see extra snaps and will need to make them count. Miami cannot allow Winston to sit back and pick apart the secondary without pressure.
Florida State has Lamarcus Joyner - and that makes passing against them difficult enough; add the rest of just as talented defensive players and you see how they are number one in the country. FSU's ability to put up points on offense tends to take teams out of their game plan, but if you watched the start against Clemson, their defense doesn't need any help. They pressure the quarterback well enough from their defensive line but like to blitz as well. Joyner moves around and leads the team in sacks (with 3) while his fellow DB Terrence Brooks has racked up 3TFL, 2 INTs, 4PBUs, and 2FF this season. Morris is going to need to be perfect with his passes, or the FSU secondary is going to feast on his over throws.