Miami @ Florida State
This game did not go as well as Miami would have hoped. The Seminoles took down the Canes 41-14 and both teams came into the game 7-0 and ranked in the Top 10. Things got started right out of the gate when the Noles took the kickoff and went on a 13-play, 72-yard drive for a TD in game’s opening possession. 7-0 FSU.
Miami did have a promising start as well. Duke Johnson had all kinds of room to run, but Miami had to settle for a FG on the opening possession and missed. The Canes got back on track 3 plays later when Deon Bush (ACC Honorable Mention) intercepted Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston. After 4 straight rushes to Duke Johnson, Stephen Morris threw an absolute rope to Allen Hurns for a 33-yard TD to knot the game at 7-7.
Miami then gave up a great deal on the ground in the next possession that FSU dominated for 7:01, 11 plays, and 79 yards for a TD, but all that running allowed Jameis Winston to hit a 35-yard gainer through the air, to make the game 14-7 in favor for Florida State. The game was broken open after a false start penalty got Miami off schedule and the Canes were forced to punt. Once the Noles got the ball again, a 48-yard screen pass to Devonta Freeman made the score 21-7.
Just before halftime the Canes made things interesting when Rayshawn Jenkins intercepted Jameis Winston with 2:05 remaining before halftime. This time, it was Stephen Morris would came up clutch hitting Clive Walford for 20 yards, rushing for 9 yards, and then finishing the drive off with a 14-yard nasty throw to Allen Hurns just before halftime. 21-14 FSU.
In the 3rd quarter FSU sacked Stephen Morris to stall the Canes’ opening drive. FSU took the ball and ran it 5 of the first 6 plays before opening things up and using two Winston passes to gain 48 yards into the redzone before scoring on the ground to take a 28-14 lead. It took just one play for the Seminoles to intercept a badly underthrown deep ball from Stephen Morris and regain possession. From there it was the Jameis Winston show and the drive was capped off with a 12-yard rush from Devonta Freeman to take a 35-14 lead in the 3rd quarter.
The worst thing that happened in this game was Duke Johnson’s broken ankle late in the 3rd quarter. Johnson’s injury was severe and required surgery that ended his season. Johnson has two years of eligibility left and was a True Sophomore during 2013. His injury is a heavy blow to Miami as Duke is one of the mos dynamic players in college football. Despite missing Miami’s final 4 conference games the coaches of the ACC still put Duke on the ACC 2nd’s Team.
In the 4th quarter, Miami really didn’t show much. Stephen Morris threw an INT, Florida State hit a pair of field goals and the final score was 41-14.
What Can We Take Away?
It wasn’t pretty. Stephen Morris’ two INTs were costly. Miami possessed the ball just 21:27 of the 60 minutes, the Canes were just 4 of 12 on 3rd Down and gained just 275 yards of total offense. Florida State gained 517. OUCH.
But the biggest issue in this game was the loss of Duke Johnson. The Canes were already playing without Phillip Dorsett, and Duke Johnson was THE play maker on the Miami team. When Miami need a long drive they went to Duke. When they needed that big play or had to have a quality possession….they went to Duke. So his loss really is a big deal.
But I really feel like Miami panicked in this game and forced throws, particularly Stephen Morris. Additionally, FSU & Louisville are very similar statistically on defense and between Teddy Bridgewater and Jameis Winston are the Top 2 QBs in college football. It’s easy to draw parallels and to make assumptions, but on paper the two schools are similar (Florida State’s offense was about 70 yards per game better than Louisville in 2013). In the end Miami just couldn’t stop Florida State, even despite forcing two turnovers the Seminoles still managed to tally 41 points and win by 27.
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