After quite the delay we finally get our chance to have yet another fun edition of Miami vs. Florida State. After the game was rescheduled from September 16th to Saturday and after a flirtation with possibly moving to kickoff we finally will have a 3:30pm ET kickoff.
Here are three keys to the game from the Hurricanes perspective:
Keep QB James Blackman Under Constant Durress
Wake Forrest last weekend had five sacks against FSU in their home loss to the Noles. That’s a rather high number for the offensive line to give up and shows a major weakness. Miami last Friday against Duke also had five sacks as the defense finally was able to live up to their pre season top 10 defense billing. If Wake Forest was able to get pressure on Blackman, Miami should do the same. I’ve heard several analyst say that Blackman is actually really good at reading blitzes and despite that Wake Forest still got five sacks. If Wake can penetrate rushing four, Miami should do the same. That front seven when playing to their potential is lethal and they will need to keep Blackman under pressure all game.
Mark Walton and Ahmmon Richards Need Big Games
Maybe these two don’t need huge games, but they need to make big plays. This is a huge national stage for both players. Richards came back from a hamstring injury that kept him out of the team’s first two games to have over 100 yards receiving and a TD. Walton didn’t have a huge rushing game, but was big in the passing game. Both these lethal weapons are going to be critical if Miami is going to want to end the seven game losing streak agains the Noles.
The Kicking Game
It wouldn’t be Miami/Florida State if there wasn’t a mention of the kicking game. We are all very well aware of the history of kicks in this series. Not sure if this game is going to have a similar fate as previous battles, but you can never discount this. The kickers will play some role in this game, just curious to see how it manifests this time around.