Miami (FL) vs. Florida State- Game Preview

Miami (FL) (3-1) Bio Flash:

Head Coach: Al Golden (5th year, 31-23 record)

Key Players: QB Brad Kaaya, RB Joseph Yearby, LB Rapheal Kirby, WR Rashawn Scott

Last Year’s Record: 6-7 (3-5 in the ACC)

Quick Analysis:

Miami was able to survive a furious  4th quarter rally against Nebraska in week 3, and came into their bye week with the look of a promising team. That all ended when the Hurricane faithful saw their optimism disappear with a loss at Cincinnati last Thursday. On the bright side, Cincy is not a conference game and the ‘Canes did not take a hit in their chase to win the ACC Coastal. They actually open up conference play against Florida State in which many are calling Al Golden’s make or break game. There might be a fire already burning in Golden’s chair as he looks for his first victory against the Seminoles as head coach of Miami. Despite all the negatives for Miami, they have been able to do some good things this year, particularly on offense. Running Back Joseph Yearby has rushed for over a hundred yards and a touchdown  in each of the last three games. Second year quarterback Brad Kaaya can be very accurate, but shows flashes of inexperience and youth at times. On the defensive side of the ball, Miami looked undisciplined and displayed poor open field tackling in the loss to Cincinnati. All 167 rushing yards for Cincinnati against Miami came in between the tackles; good news for the Seminoles’ power run game.

4 Things 2 Watch:

1) Injured Players Availability

Mario Pender has been ruled out for Saturday, and will be out for a while. Dalvin Cook, on the other hand, has what appears to be a strained or pulled hamstring and did not practice earlier this week. In addition, Nate Andrews has a bone bruise and is a definite go (in a limited role) for Saturday. Coach Jimbo Fisher was not too clear on Cook’s availability. How much FSU can use Dalvin Cook will be a crucial deciding factor in this game.

2) Super Aguayo and Beatty

If this game is the defensive struggle many think it will be, Roberto Aguayo and Cason Beatty will have to be at their best. Beatty will need to be able to flip the field, or aim to average around 40 yards a punt. Aguayo must convert on all his kicks because this game could come down to a field goal.

3) The Johnathan Vickers Show

Last week with Pender out and Cook leaving the game early, many thought it was true freshman Jacques Patrick’s time to shine. That was not the case. Vicker’s only got 10 carries, but that was 10 more then Patrick. Coach Fisher really let Everett Golson loose last week after Dalvin Cook went down, as Golson had 31 pass attempts. Come Saturday however, expect Florida State to run the ball, whether it be Cook or Vickers.

4) Gutsy Play Calling

Al Golden knows his job is on the line. Winning this game and making a run for the ACC Championship game could perhaps buy him a little security. With all this in mind, Golden is going to have to make some gutsy calls. Even last week against Cincinnati Golden called (a successful) double pass.  Be prepared for Golden to make some bold decisions Saturday night.


Last week, Miami played on Thursday which means they got a couple more days of rest and preparation for Florida State. The ‘Canes started the season strong, with an impressive win against Nebraska, but failed to keep the momentum going against an average Cincinnati Bearcats squad. In the loss, the defense looked vulnerable and the offense looked pedestrian at times. The ‘Noles haven’t looked the best on offense either, but Everett Golson has played very efficiently. Brad Kaaya will be asked to take shots and throw more down the field, whereas Golson will have to make easier zone reads in a short passing attack. Because of this, Kaaya is the one more likely to make mistakes. Miami’s offensive line has played decent up to this point in the year, but Florida State’s pass rush should be able to apply pressure and make Kaaya uncomfortable in the pocket. Kaaya’s lack of mobility is a concern for Miami. In preseason, this had the look of a game the ‘Noles could lose. As the season’s worn on, Florida State has a clear-cut advantage in this match up in what should be a great game. The prediction for this week is 23-13 Florida State. Enjoy the game, as this rivalry never fails to excite.

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