by Frank Martin
There were years in the not-too-distant past when the matchup between Florida State Seminoles and Miami helped to determine the national champion. While the No. 10 Seminoles found their way into the initial BCS standings, the Hurricanes’ only chance at a BCS game would be to win the ACC.
Miami Florida Hurricanes has gotten crushed by a combined 77 points in its two previous games against ranked opponents and is coming off a home loss to North Carolina.
Florida State bounced back from its lone loss by punishing Boston College but has a tough stretch ahead, with three of its five remaining games on the road. That starts on Saturday at Miami, where the Seminoles have won the last three meetings.
Florida State Seminoles (6-1, 3-1 ACC): Quarterback EJ Manuel and the offense had the Seminoles up to No. 3 in the country before going cold in a 17-16 loss to North Carolina State on Oct. 6. But that performance turned out to be the aberration when Manuel came out against the Eagles and put up 439 yards and four touchdowns in a 51-7 rout. The defense has never wavered. Led by senior end Bjoern Werner, that unit is allowing an average of 11.4 points - the fourth-best mark in the nation. Manuel passed for 193 yards in a score against the Hurricanes in Tallahassee last season, but it was the special teams that did the bulk of the scoring in a 23-19 victory. Greg Reid ran a punt back 83 yards and Dustin Hopkins kicked three field goals. The Seminoles were outgained 383-259 in that one, but forced three turnovers.
Miami Florida Hurricanes (4-3, 3-1): The Hurricanes were pounded 52-13 at Kansas State on Sept. 8 and 41-3 in Chicago against Notre Dame on Oct. 6, but still had a chance to run the table in the ACC until Saturday, when they were knocked off at home. Miami was gashed for 272 yards on the ground in the 18-14 loss to the Tar Heels and showed off an undisciplined style, turning the ball over twice while being called for 15 penalties. Freshman running back Duke Johnson has been bottled up over the last three games, topping out at 47 yards on the ground with only one touchdown. Quarterback Stephen Morris ranks 26th in the nation in total offense at 296.6 yards but the defense has let the Hurricanes down. That unit ranks last in the ACC in total defense, surrendering more than 500 yards per game.
1. Only one of the last 10 meetings (a 45-17 Florida State victory in Miami in 2010) has been decided by more than one touchdown.
2. The Seminoles have taken two straight and five of the last seven in the series, including the last three in Miami.
3. The Hurricanes have had to overcome a deficit of at least seven points in each of their four victories.
NCAA Football Prediction: Florida State 35, Miami 24.
bjoern werner - duke johnson - dustin hopkins - ej manuel - florida state seminoles - miami florida hurricanes - stephen morris