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.
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.
I think Kendal Briles is an outstanding hire for FSU.— JC Shurburtt (@jcshurburtt) December 23, 2018
Gone is quarterback Deondre Francois and talented offensive lineman Landon Dickerson, both players have transferred to different programs.
There are rumors that Deondre Francois, the former #FSU QB who announced he was transferring to #FAU as a walk-on, is instead transferring to FCS Alabama State. Working to confirm.— Jake Elman (@JakeElman97) June 21, 2019
Can confirm Florida State graduate transfer offensive lineman Landon Dickerson has committed to Alabama. First reported by @HankSouth247.— Matt Zenitz (@mzenitz) June 16, 2019
Former five-star recruit who dealt with injuries each of the last three years. Has two years of eligibility remaining.
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.
Cam Akers. 5⃣8⃣ yards. SEE YA! #DoSomething (@FSUFootball, @thereal_cam3) pic.twitter.com/gQkxK5eQ89— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) October 20, 2018
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.
Will Tamorrion Terry be must-see TV this season?— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) June 7, 2019
7⃣8⃣ days until @ACCFootball and 8⃣6⃣ until @TT1Batman is burning DBs!#GoNoles (@FSUFootball) pic.twitter.com/HDwuv3ngal
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.
Ballgame. Miami's defensive line did in the second half what we thought it would do throughout the game: beat the crap out of FSU's offensive line.— Tomahawk Nation (@Tomahawknation) October 6, 2018
FSU far exceeded expectations in this one, but couldn't get the W.
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.
Dontavious Jackson dominated in run-defense for Florida State last season. pic.twitter.com/juhIqogjDM— PFF College (@PFF_College) May 21, 2019
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.
FSU LB/S Jaiden Lars-Woodbey missed just 4.0 percent of his tackle attempts as a rookie, per Pro Football Focus (best among returning LBs in ACC).— Brendan Sonnone (@BSonnone) June 12, 2019
Here, he takes on Top 15 draft pick Chris Lindstrom, sheds the block & records a tackle on 4th down vs. BC:https://t.co/Lgl3EpBf0J pic.twitter.com/v8j6YK1XXd
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.