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2019 Canes Football Game Preview: Week 9 at Florida State

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Will the Hurricanes be able to extend their winning streak to three over FSU in 2019?

Florida State v Miami Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

After an away game at Pittsburgh to take on the Panthers, the Hurricanes are again on the road in week-nine, as they’ll travel to Tallahassee to do battle against their bitter rivals, the Florida State Seminoles on November 2nd.

Miami has taken the last two from the Noles, edging out FSU in both 2017 and 2018, and if they can notch another victory, it’ll be their longest win-streak against their rivals since the early 2000’s.

The 2018 season was historically bad for Florida State, as the Willie Taggart era got off to a rough start in his first year in Tallahassee. The team finished 5-7, the programs first losing record since 1976, and the first time FSU missed a bowl game since 1981.

Entering their game against Miami in November, FSU will have already faced off against teams like Boise State, Clemson and also Syracuse the week prior.

Offense

In December of 2018, coach Taggart hired Kendal Briles to be the schools new offensive coordinator, bringing him over from Houston. Considered one of the top play-callers in college football, fans are expecting much more points scored from the Seminoles in 2019 with Briles as OC accompanied by his spread offense.

Gone is quarterback Deondre Francois and talented offensive lineman Landon Dickerson, both players have transferred to different programs.

So at the quarterback position, FSU will most likely be starting sophomore James Blackman, assuming that he can beat out Wisconsin transfer Alex Hornibrook. Blackman showed potential when he was the primary starter in 2017, and then he threw for 510 yards and five touchdowns in 2018. With the Badgers for three seasons, Hornibrook threw for 5,438 yards with 47 touchdowns and 33 interceptions. He also has a 2-0 record against Miami.

Cam Akers is still at Florida State, and the talented junior running back is expected to have a breakout season. He broke the programs freshman rushing record in 2017, and then had 706 yards with six touchdowns last year.

At wide receiver, FSU will rely heavily on sophomore Tamorrion Terry who averaged over 20-yards per catch in 2018, and is a rising star in college football. The Seminoles also have reliable receivers to compliment Terry, such as D.J. Matthews and Keyshawn Helton.

The biggest concern on the offensive side of the football for Taggart’s team is the offensive line, and there’s no debate. Last season, this line was horrendous, allowing QB pressure on 33% of all passing attempts. For 2019, they’ve hired new unit coach Randy Clements to try and help this struggling group. This will be Miami’s biggest key to winning in November, as they’ll try and unleash Jonathan Garvin, Trevon Hill and the rest of their talented defensive lineman.

Defense

Harlon Barnett is entering his second season as defensive coordinator for Florida State, and this side of the ball is in a lot better shape than the offense. In 2018, the Noles were plagued with having to play many youngsters, but they did lost some veteran playmakers as well, especially rusher Brian Burns who’s now on the Carolina Panthers.

On the line, while they did lose Burns, they still return five quality players in that group. Most notably, tackle Marvin Wilson returns in 2019 for his junior season, and is one of the top DL in the entire country. Cory Durden and DE Joshua Kaindoh also come back.

At linebacker, the Seminoles bring back two linebackers, Dontavious Jackson and Hamsah Nasirildeen. Jackson was great against the run in 2018, and will look to improve on his pass-rushing skills as well.

Secondary is where FSU is stacked, as all but one defensive back from last season returns to Tallahassee in 2019. While this group struggled last year, their experience will come in handy. Jaiden Lars-Woodbey, Cyrus Fagan and Stanford Samuels III have all been there before, plus they add highly touted freshman Akeem Dent. This will be one of the strongest position groups for the Noles.

PREDICTION

As always, the Seminoles have talent, this will forever be the case. However, it was a rocky 2018 campaign to say the least, and this off-season has been anything but smooth. That being said, I think people aren’t giving FSU enough credit, this isn’t a program that is meant to be down for long. Though they’ll struggle against Clemson and possibly Boise State, both Miami and the Seminoles could meet in this game ranked high, with postseason ramifications at stake. Nevertheless, the Hurricanes have the momentum in this rivalry at the moment, and I believe Miami will extend that streak to three in 2019.