We all know what's at stake tonight at Doak Campbell Stadium.
Could UM conceivably lose this one and recover enough to win the ACC Coastal?
It's possible. But considering that like Georgia Tech their other crossover opponent from the ACC Atlantic is Clemson, it'd put them in quite a hole.
But even more importantly than conference implications, this contest feels like a statement game for the program.
Win and it shuts up critics (at least temporarily) calling for Al Golden's job. It also gets the team off to a good start in Atlantic Coast Conference play, not to mention acts as a confidence builder.
Lose and it is "same old, same old."
Another big game where they come up short, and likely another disappointing finish in the ACC standings. It could also signal the start of the end of the Golden Era.
As we've said all week, this is a big, big game!
With all of that said, here are my three keys to getting an all important victory.
#1 Prevent Everett Golson from picking up third and longs with his legs. No one is quite sure what version (if any) of Dalvin Cook shows up tonight. But even with out the superstar sophomore, FSU has become a run first offense in 2015. The 'Canes have the players along the front seven to stop the run when they know it is coming (given they tackle). When they get the Seminoles in third down and 5 or more, it plays to their advantage with their talented secondary. They can not allow Golson to break contain and pick up conversions in situations where they do everything else right.
#2 Show up. No, I am not being literal here and suggesting that Miami might miss their buses and forfeit the game. What I mean is that the Hurricanes need to come to the game 100% focused and mentally prepared to win. This includes players as well as coaches. If UM is scrambling pre snap on defense to get lined up, committing silly penalties, and burning time outs because they can't get the play/personnel they need on the field, they won't win.
#3 Do not abandon the run on offense. I am not suggesting an ultra conservative approach on offense. But I also don't feel like the Hurricanes can line up in shotgun all night and throw their way to a win. They need balance, and Joe Yearby has run the ball with purpose and power this season. I love Brad Kaaya, but I'd like to see Yearby be more the focus of the offense this evening, at minimum to set up some play action passes.
Well there you have it Miami fans. If UM can keep Golson from running, eliminate mental errors, and get a big game from Yearby we might just have reason to celebrate tonight.
Enjoy the game everyone!