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The ‘Canes Can’t Afford to be Taggart’s Signature Win

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Florida State has had a shaky start to the 2018-19 season; righting the ship against Miami would be catastrophic for the ‘Canes.

NCAA Football: Miami at Florida State Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

2016 was the last time the ‘Noles visited Miami, escaping with a victory via blocked extra point. Miami, being the streaky team they are under Richt, would lose 3 more times following the rivalry game. That reason is why the ‘Canes can’t afford to lose when Saturday rolls around, as their ACC Championship Game hopes could be crushed.

What may be more concerning, is the fact that Florida State comes to town with nothing to lose — the opposite of Miami’s situation.

The ‘Noles obviously know Miami very well despite the new coaching staff. We know that Deondre Francois can throw the ball accurately, while running backs Cam Akers and Jacques Patrick are capable of busting open for huge gains. It’s safe to assume that the ‘Miami’ game plan will be the best that Florida State has to offer.

The pressure is definitely on the ‘Canes this year, as the game could have serious post-season ramifications for them. Miami must be sharp on all sides of the ball, as this game will be played on pride, deeming the ‘paper’ stats as irrelevant.

Any time the Miami-Florida State game comes around, the emotions are as high as ever. This time will be no different, as Miami looks to begin a winning streak against their rivals, whilst the ‘Noles look to improve, and build momentum in Willie Taggart’s first season as head coach.

During the Al Golden years in particular, a victory over Florida State would have been considered as a ‘signature win.’ That never happened for Golden though, and Miami continued to fall to their rival year after year. A win for Florida State would be the ultimate confidence boost, and a monumental upset, as Florida State downed mistake-prone Louisville on the road on Saturday.

The best thing Miami could do is to come out firing — not lifting their foot off the gas. Killing a bad team’s hope early and often is crucial, as letting them hang around can often lead to a comeback.

A lot rests on Mark Richt’s shoulders, as his game plan will have a massive impact on the result. He’ll need to incorporate new formations, while incorporating plays that will catch the Florida State defense off-guard.

The same mindset goes for Manny Diaz, who’ll design new blitz packages and coverages to matchup against Florida State’s offensive scheme. Florida State will do its best to use Miami’s aggressiveness and speed against them, and the defensive staff will have to be prepared.

Florida State hasn’t faced a defense as dominant as Miami’s this year, but this is a rivalry; the stats from previous games mean nothing. We fought to the very last second when Florida State had their run, and we should expect the same level of fight, and toughness from them.