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Matchup of the Week: FSU Edition

Each week, SOTU will look at Miami's next opponent and break down the matchup you should keep the closest eye on. This week, the opponent is none other than rival Florida State. #12 FSU comes in undefeated (4-0) and the Canes look to avenge themselves after an embarrassing loss to Cincinnati.

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

It's here, Canes fans. It's Florida State week. This is the game that players come to Miami to play in. Let's just hope that this game ends in Miami's favor. Miami hasn't beaten FSU in five consecutive seasons, with the last win coming in 2009 in Tallahassee. That's right, the last QB to beat the Seminoles was none other than Jacory Harris. Miami has come close to snapping FSU's winning streak. In 2011, the Canes lost at FSU 19-23, and of course the infamous collapse in 2014 is still a healing wound. Nevertheless, this is a new year, a new team, with a new mindset.

So far in 2015, Miami is 3-1 and heading to Tallahassee after losing a pathetic game to Cincinnati last Thursday. FSU is still undefeated at 4-0, and despite recent struggles, is still 21-1 over the last 2 1/3 seasons. Although FSU still holds an undefeated record, they are vulnerable, and certainly a beatable opponent.

This game will come do to whoever wants it more, who plays the best 60 minutes of football, and how well each coach has their team prepared for the opponent. This is a rivalry game, and an intense one. No matter the circumstances, Miami, and FSU alike, will show up to play and give their blood, sweat and tears to pull out a W. For Miami's sake, this game could ultimately define their season, as well as their coach(es)' future.

Everett Golson vs. Miami's Defense

Everett Golson is now at the helm for Florida St. after transferring in from Notre Dame earlier in the year. Golson has played Miami once in his career, when he was a redshirt freshman at Notre Dame. The Irish absolutely obliterated the Canes in a 40-3 contest. ND would also go on the national championship game that season. Golson had a good freshman year and put up good numbers in his junior season, but was turnover prone throughout the entire year. In 2014, he threw for 3,445 yards in 29 touchdowns through the air, but also threw 14 interceptions. Godson is also dangerous with his legs, rushing for 8 TDs in 2014, but fumbled the ball 12 times and lost eight. Prior to 2015, Golson was a walking turnover. This season, however, Golson has yet to turn over the ball in any fashion. He is completing 64.2 percent of his passes, threw for 786 yards with seven TDs and no interceptions.

As stated before, Golson has plenty of ability to scramble and keep a defense honest. However, he is running a lot less in FSU's offense compared to ND's. He does not need to rely on his legs thanks to a very good FSU offensive line, playmakers on the outside, and a good stable of running backs. Though, Golson's biggest problem this season is him taking bad sacks and running a rather pedestrian offense. FSU is averaging a mere 213.5 passing yards per game, but is averaging 192.3 rushing yards per game. The Noles have an obviously balanced attack, especially with Golson throwing the football far less than previous seasons and wanting him to avoid turning the ball over. ACC Digital Network took a look inside Miami's numbers to see how they can match up against the Seminoles.

What Miami needs to do to combat this is simple: play solid defense - which is obviously easier said than done. Miami does not have to look like Alabama in the front seven or even FSU in 2013. Even if the Canes don't get all of the turnover opportunities they hope for, FSU's offense looks pedestrian and methodical. Do not be fooled, if Miami makes a mistake or doesn't tackle, FSU will be sure to light up the scoreboard. Miami's secondary will have to play a huge game in order to make FSU more one-dimensional than they want to be. The Canes will have Deon Bush and Jamal Carter for the entire game (hopefully), and they each will definitely be a factor in a 60-minute football game. Bill Connelly wrote good article on Miami/FSU earlier today, including an eye-opening portion on Deon Bush.

What Miami cannot do is play conservatively, in any part of this game. Offensively, they need to exploit FSU's biggest weakness on defense, whatever that may be. Defensively, the Canes need to pressure Golson and attack him throughout the entire game. If you recall, Miami attacked Jameis Winston and the FSU offense in the first half and only allowed 10 points. They got too cute, and too scared, and lost the game after allowing 20 second-half points to FSU. Miami has to apply the pressure and keep their foot on the gas for four quarters.


If there were a runner-up to the topic of this article, it would have been FSU's running back Dalvin Cook. Cook, as ALL Miami fans and natives know, is the most explosive player in the state, bar none. This season, Cook has just been marvelous. I was surprised that I wasn't hearing his name in the Heisman race, then I remember Leonard Fournette. So far in 2015, Cook has run for 570 yards and six TDs...on just 66 attempts -- that's 8.6 yards per carry. Calvin wasn't the focus of this article because everyone knows what he can do, and he does it better than almost anyone in the country. His status against Miami, however, is in question due to a hamstring injury he suffered in the first quarter against Wake Forest last week. He is listed as "day-to-day," but definitely expect him to play despite any injury report heard. According to a recent report, Cook was in shells (helmet and shoulder pads) and participated in practice today.


Again, FSU week is here, and it's time for Miami to put up or shut up. FSU is vulnerable and down this year, and this is the time to take advantage of it. Miami had a poor performance in their last matchup, but this game should be played close to flawless. The energy will be electric, and believe that both teams will be ready to play. With that being said, Miami-24, FSU-23.