The annual contest between Florida State and Miami has finally arrived, or as it is more commonly known in Tallahassee, "Miami Hate Week." The clash between the Seminoles and the Hurricanes is one of the most storied rivalries in college football and no matter the rankings of the schools it is always a heated contest.
Saturday should be no different, as the 'Canes are better than their 5-4 record would indicate, Florida State has won four in a row and as I've said before, you can throw records out when two rivals take the field.
Here are three keys to victory if the Seminoles want to silence the Hurricanes on Saturday:
1) Corral Miami's weapons: While the Hurricanes might not be as complete a football team as they have been in years past, they're still stacked with athletes. If Florida State wants to win on Saturday, they're going to have to keep guys like Tommy Streeter and Lamar Miller in check. At 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds, Streeter is a big, physical receiver that is going to give the Florida State secondary fits.
The same goes for Lamar Miller, the Hurricanes' leading rusher and one of the top running backs in the nation. Quietly, Miller has amassed over 1000 yards this season on an average of nearly six yards a carry and has reached the end zone eight times. In between the tackles, only Oregon's LaMichael James averages more yards per carry and FSU's linebackers are going to need to stay disciplined in their gaps to stop Miller.
2) Fight fire with fire: Miami might have some athletes, but so does Florida State. To be successful on offense, the 'Noles need to cut guys like Devonta Freeman and EJ Manuel loose. It's mostly been running back by committee for FSU this season, but Freeman has proven that he is the answer to the Seminoles' rushing woes, posting the first two 100-yard rushing games by an FSU player in 2011. As for Manuel, we all know he can make plays with his legs, but I'd really like to see him attack the Miami secondary, as they made Logan Thomas look like an All-American last month in Blacksburg.
3) Attack Jacory Harris: Harris might be having a more productive year this year, but he has yet to face a front four like Florida State's. I know I harp on these guys every week, but they're such a big part of the defense's dominance this season. Miami's frontline is only giving up 1.33 sacks per game. Look for that to change Saturday against the likes of Bjoern Werner and Brandon Jenkins and look for Florida State to force Harris into some bad decisions. If the 'Noles can execute on these three fronts, they can leave the Doak victorious on Saturday.