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2021 Miami Hurricanes Game Preview: Florida State Seminoles

Miami looks to make five straight over their rivals from Tallahassee

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

No matter the year, no matter your record coming into this week, whenever Miami and Florida State plays, it’s a big game. Manny Diaz is 2-0 against the Canes rivals from Tallahassee as head coach, and in 2021, him and his team will try and make it five straight wins over the Seminoles.

Seems like it wasn’t that long ago, Florida State was a power in college football, contending for national championships and ACC titles on a yearly basis, and also winning seven straight over Miami. However, it’s not 2015 anymore, the Noles aren’t that team anymore, and the Canes firmly control this rivalry at the moment.

Coming off a 3-6 year in 2020, Mike Norvell prepares for his second season as FSU’s head coach. In last years matchup, the Hurricanes thrashed Florida State 52-10 at Hard Rock Stadium.

Though, Norvell has some hype building in Tallahassee, picking up notable players from the transfer portal throughout the offseason, as well as building a very strong 2022 recruiting class.

One of those players from the transfer portal now in Tally, quarterback McKenzie Milton, who threw for over 8,600 yards and 70 touchdowns in three years at UCF. Coming off a horrible leg injury suffered in 2018, whether or not Milton can return, somewhat, to what he was at UCF, will determine just how far FSU can go in 2021. He and Jordan Travis will be competing for the starting spot at quarterback.

Milton will have some weapons to throw to in the passing game, with Ontaria Wilson returning, Keyshawn Helton and Andrew Parchment serving as valuable options as well at wide receiver. Look for the Seminoles to utilize tight end Camren McDonald too.

While the Noles offensive line was pretty abysmal in 2020, they do return all five starters up front, which, just like Miami, gives them experience in the trenches and will pay dividends, maybe.

Allowing 36 points per game in 2020, the Florida State defense was one of the worst in the ACC. Getting to the quarterback and in the backfield was a major problem with the defensive lineman, and while developed depth is hoped for, it’s still a glaring weakness for the Seminoles. They’ll rely heavily on DT Robert Cooper and defensive end Jermaine Johnson, who transferred from Georgia.

One thing the defense does have going for them heading into 2021, the three starters at linebacker, who led the Seminoles in tackles last year, are back. Emmett Rice, Amari Gainer and Stephen Dix will lead this defense this fall.

Asante Samuel is gone to the NFL, and Jaiden Lars-Woodbey transferred to Boston College, so the secondary is going to be another question mark for the Noles. In 2020, FSU’s defensive backs picked off only eight passes all season. Transfer safety Jammie Robinson is expected to add a boost in the secondary.

Two things. First, I expect Florida State to improve in 2021, and I think Norvell can turn this program around, if fans are patient. I don’t like seeing the Seminoles down, it’s bad for the rivalry, Miami and Florida State should be a pinned game to watch around the country like it used to.

Second, I think the Hurricanes are on a different level than that team in Tallahassee, at the moment and going forward. D’Eriq King returning, second year with Rhett Lashlee, new coaching hires on defense, top to bottom, Miami is flat out a much better football team right now.

Seeing that the game is in Tallahassee this season, that’ll make Miami’s task a bit more difficult, especially if Florida State is playing well leading into that week in November.

That being said, I see the Canes making it five in a row this year over the Seminoles, and I potentially could see them winning big once again.