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Film Review: Florida State 31 - Miami 28

The underdog Seminoles upset the ‘Canes at Doak Campbell Stadium on Saturday evening.

Syndication: Tallahassee Democrat Alicia Devine/Tallahassee Democrat / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Miami Hurricanes traveled north to Tallahassee and were sent packing back to Coral Gables 31-28 on Saturday afternoon. Manny Diaz and the Hurricanes were clear favorites but came out sleepwalking, while FSU used the rivalry matchup as their proxy Super Bowl.

This was one of the worst college football games I’ve watched in years. It looked more like a bad D2 game than an ACC football game between two former national championship powers. The Seminoles were in the College Football Playoff as recently as 2014, and Miami was rated no. 2 in the country in 2017, yet we had to sit through that abomination of a game.

Miami is now 5-5 while Florida State moves up to 4-6. Neither program is bowl eligible at Veteran’s Day Weekend, that would’ve been unheard of in 1991. But this ain’t 1991, and Dennis Erickson’s liver and Bobby Bowden are rolling over in their graves right now.

The Doppler

The Hurricanes offense was 6-of-16 on 3rd down but an impressive 4-of-4 on 4th down. Compared to weeks past, going 100% on 4th is quite a growth statement. FSU was only 3-of-15 on 3rd down but also went 100% on 4th down (2-of-2).

Miami turned the ball over three times compared to the ‘Noles one turnover on Saturday afternoon. On top of being sloppy with the football, the ‘Canes committed 14 penalties for 105 yards. FSU committed eight penalties for 60 yards.

The offense

QB Tyler Van Dyke started off the game extremely rough in the first quarter. Van Dyke finished up with four touchdowns and two interceptions and a fumble, while averaging only 6.7 yards per pass attempt.

Jaylan Knighton went from Emmitt Smith to Sammie Smith in a week’s time. Knighton averaged two yards per carry with a long of only seven yards. Van Dyke struggled as well, and Thad Franklin and Cody Brown failed to pick up a carry.

The ‘Canes had embarrassing drops all game but also had a few clutch catches from Charleston Rambo, Mike Harley and Will Mallory. Knighton had the true play of the game on the Texas route where he ran over an FSU defender for a TD.

The Miami offensive line allowed three sacks, six tackles for loss and a hurry. FSU’s Jermaine Johnson II was everywhere for the ‘Noles. Johnson logged five TFL’s and three sacks against the ‘Canes, and was pivotal on a few different short yardage plays. FSU came away with eight pass breakups on Van Dyke’s passes.

Above- Van Dyke took a bunch of chances against Georgia Tech by throwing deep late and into double coverage that were dropped or misplayed by a bad GT secondary. FSU took advantage of Van Dyke’s Jacory Harris like decision making.

Above- Miami fans were all impressed with Avantae Williams’ interception vs. GT. The way he went up and forcefully stole the football. Well, that’s what happens against Mike Harley and his soft performance here. He doesn’t just get bullied, but he gets the ball stolen right from his hands.

Above- The OL was getting bullied and Van Dyke fumbles. Johnson proved by Jarid Williams is a bad tackle and there’s the inkling of why Cam Harris was in for Knighton early in the year. Knighton was unwilling to pass protect.

Above- I enjoy the trick plays, they’re great and all. I’m all for them. But it’s frustrating when it’s the only offensive play that Lashlee has that goes for positive yards.

Above- Hey there’s mesh with a wheel and a post and everything. Not too shabby. I like Mesh inside the 10, especially with the wheel tag. It needs protection but it’s hard to cover down there.

Above- Really gutsy call from Lashlee. With how bad Miami’s pass pro has been, added to the safety they’ve given up and the near safety they’ve also given up this is maybe more guts than brains. It works and Rambo finally got on the board.

Above- When you run a ton of swings and wheels it helps to have the Texas route in the book. The defense widens out and you hit the middle of the field.

The defense

Jordan Travis, not exactly known for being a gunslinger, threw for 10.5 yards per attempt and 275 yards including the 4th and 14 conversion that led to the FSU go ahead score. RB Jashaun Corbin picked up 4.5 yards per carry and a TD on the ground.

Five different FSU receivers had double-digit yards per catch against Diaz’s vaunted pass defense. Three of the receivers had 20+ yards per catch afternoons. Miami came away with three sacks, nine TFL’s and two hurries, but only one pass break up.

That’s a big issues for the ‘Canes- again it’s the lack of finish. The missed tackles and lack of PBU’s show how Miami can’t finish on defense.

Above- FSU really ran one play on loop. It was a read option with counter blocking from the back side guard and tackle. Travis reads the D-End, if the DE sits or goes to the RB, the QB keeps behind the counter blocking. If the DE “squeezes” and follows the pullers, the QB pitches to the RB. It worked well at times, worse at other times.

Above- Here it is in live action. McCloud squeezes inside and the Q tosses. The TE buries the linebacker and McCloud trips on a diving Hurricane defender because Miami’s defense blocks itself more often than not.

Above- Travis was the right QB to beat Miami. He’s accurate enough, can hit on a deep ball or two, and can scramble when the ‘Canes over-rush or pursue like they often do. He scrambled where Kenny Pickett refused to and it won FSU the game.

Above- Why not pound counter at Miami? Diaz hasn’t proven he has an answer for the 1980’s classic from the Joe Gibbs playbook in Washington.

Above- I’m not sure what the call was here. If the CB, TeCory Couch, is playing cover 2 I understand why he’s sort of flat footed, but he also doesn’t touch the outside receiver. That leaves the WR heading full speed and the safety can’t get there in time over the top. If it’s C2 he needs to jam and re-route the WR. Williams can’t get there in time otherwise.

Above- Miami gives up another deep play from FSU. There’s a push off but the refs allowed a lot of hand fighting all night.

A special kind of bad

The 4th and 14 conversion and the subsequent QB sneaks with clock management are the pinnacle of Manny Diaz incompetence. Diaz and Shoop’s entire structure is built off of pressure but here he just brings three with a spy linebacker.

Above- Per usual, Miami gives up the middle of the field and doesn’t pressure on 4th and 14. Remember fans blaming Blake Baker for this against UNC? It’s not Baker, it’s Diaz.

Above- Mike Norvell runs QB sneak from a power formation instead of forcing Miami to cover 53 1/3. As Fergus Connelly would say (paraphrasing), once you lack depth you have to use width in your game plan. Give Miami a 10 personnel picture widened way out to the sidelines and force the defense to cover it with Travis under center and Corbin behind him for the Bush Push.

Miami really does a good job on FSU’s first two attempts, but in typical Diaz fashion there’s a penalty for Miami. Diaz also lets time run off the clock before burning the timeouts, resulting in lost clock time for the offense once FSU scores.

Above- This time it’s an arrow-QB counter RPO and with the encroachment it’s a free play anyway. However, it didn’t matter. FSU scores with Travis untouched to go up by three.

The wrap

Miami once again came in under false bravado on the bus as the ‘Canes arrived at Doak Campbell. The TV production team made a big deal over the bus rocking and Rick Ross playing. Then there was Manny Diaz skipping down the sideline and the subsequent fight heading into the 4th quarter.

The lack of discipline for Miami in all phases of the program has become embarrassing. I was feeling the rising tide and then my boat sank on Saturday. Miami as an athletic department will head back to the drawing board, hopefully in search of a new Athletic Director, and a new head football coach.