The Miami Hurricanes traveled up to Doak Campbell Stadium to do battle with the Seminoles of Florida State last Saturday, and to say the least it wasn’t much of a battle. Fueled by one of most dominating performances a Hurricanes defense has put on display since 2017 when Miami obliterated the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in Miami Gardens, the Canes came away victorious by a final tally of 27-10. Miami not only beat the Seminoles into submission but they did so in historic fashion, in more ways than one. For starters, Florida State’s loss marked the first time in program history that they allowed as many sacks as they did, as Miami’s ferocious pass rush planted Seminoles Quarterbacks to the turf 9 times. The previous high came earlier this season in September when the Noles beat NC State but also allowed 8 sacks.
Another very notable stat in which Canes fans in particular will enjoy, is how the 64th installment of this series also proved to be the second time in as many seasons that FSU put together its worst offensive showing in terms of total yards manufactured. Both instances came versus Miami (‘18 - 200 total yds, ‘19 - 203 total yds). And last, but definitely not least, Willie Taggart was relieved of his duties not even 24 hours after the clock struck triple zero. That means that in the eleven months as Miami’s main man, Manny Diaz has managed to crash an FSU coaching clinic held by Willie Taggart, and also managed to crash his career in Tallahassee as head coach of the Seminoles. If that’s not historic then I don’t know what is.
So after yet another “Who’s your daddy?” moment against FSU which was good for Miami’s 34th win in the series, fifth win on the season, and second in two weeks, Miami finds itself still in a position to win the ACC Coastal division.
What is next for Miami?
During Sunday’s airing of Hurricane Warning, I was extremely vocal on how significant the team meeting that was held prior to the Pittsburgh game was. Simply put, it was huge and I truly do not think that fans realize how much togetherness means to the success of a team. Intangibles are extremely vital to team success so when things such as experience, chemistry, and the use of fundamentals all come together while everyone on the team is on one accord with one goal in mind, this team will begin to click on all cylinders in all three phases of the game. Just watch. However, they MUST buy in and this team must continue to show the internal growth that they have in the past two weeks. The issue all year long with this group has always been between the ears and not a lack of talent as evidenced by over 50% of the roster being comprised of 4 and 5 star players. The FSU victory may have been proof that the team meeting in which Michael Harley took a stand in (excerpt from Susan Miller Degnan article below), is making a difference. One thing is to win on the road against the Pittsburgh Panthers right after an inspired team meeting in which things that needed to be addressed, were. However it is an entirely different thing to see that same energy carried out for two consecutive games, resulting in back to back conference victories on the road. This demonstrates that the meeting wasn’t just about lip service, it wasn’t just doing what they were supposed to do for a game, and it wasn’t just about getting together to air out differences.
Something stood out to me during Saturday’s contest and it absolutely floored me when I realized it because it was something that I had not noticed from a Hurricanes team in years. On more than one occasion, I noticed offensive linemen running to the aid of their teammates who were on the ground after the conclusion of a play to help them up and get members of the opposing team off of them to make sure no extra curricular activity transpired. Not only did Miami’s offensive linemen rush over to the aid of their teammates, but they did so with passion, hustle, and a sense of urgency. That's called “having your boys back” and it’s something that has been lacking for a long time. Quarterbacks would get pummeled and Miami O-linemen would just look at them as they peeled themselves off of the turf. No camaraderie, and it was maddening to see especially when whoever Miami was playing against that given day, hustled over to help their guys up after every play. It’s part of the culture shift that Manny Diaz is trying to implement and the team meeting two weeks ago looks to have been a turning point in the right direction.
In conclusion, these Hurricanes need to care, and I mean that in more ways than one. They must continue to be selfless on and off the field, trust one another on and off the field, be mature on and off the field, AND stay true to what was spoken in that meeting before the Pittsburgh game. If they do that, the rest will handle itself. This is how the 2001 greatest team of all time did it, and that’s how it should always be done for every Miami team that follows. This team, when clicking on all cylinders, is easily the best team in the Coastal and can contend with Clemson as the best team in the conference. The time for them to prove it is now...go win out.