Miami looks to revive season vs. No. 4 Florida State
League: NCAA Football
Posted on: 08 Nov, 2023 at 07:07 AM
Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports
One win would change everything.
That's the opportunity facing the Miami Hurricanes, who travel to Tallahassee, Fla., to visit the fourth-ranked Florida State Seminoles on Saturday.
Miami's disappointing season -- including a stunning last-second loss to Georgia Tech that would've been a victory had the Hurricanes simply taken a knee with time winding down -- can be salvaged in a sense with a triumph over the school's biggest rival.
However, the Seminoles (9-0, 7-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) are favored by two touchdowns and a serious threat to win their first national title since 2013.
Worse yet for Miami (6-3, 2-3), quarterback Tyler Van Dyke seems to have lost his confidence -- to the point that coach Mario Cristobal hasn't ruled out benching him in favor of true freshman Emory Williams.
Van Dyke is a capable QB, proving that in 2021 when he averaged 293 passing yards per game and threw 25 touchdown passes with just six interceptions. Earlier this season, in a signature 48-33 win over Texas A&M, Van Dyke completed 21 of 30 passes for 374 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions.
However, in the past two games, Van Dyke averaged just 168 passing yards while tossing no TD passes and getting intercepted five times.
Cristobal this week suggested that injuries are a factor.
"(Van Dyke) has been banged up," Cristobal said. "But the bottom line is that we have regressed in the passing game. It was our strength earlier in the year, and it hasn't been good (lately)."
Williams, in his only career start, beat Clemson 28-20 in double overtime on Oct. 21. The Hurricanes played it conservatively in that game and Williams completed 24 of 33 passes for 151 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
As for the Florida State series, Miami leads 35-32. However, the Seminoles are looking for their third straight win in the series and 13th in the past 19 meetings with the Hurricanes.
A fascinating matchup to watch for on Saturday pits Florida State's wide receivers against Miami's cornerbacks.
Star Seminoles receivers Johnny Wilson and Keon Coleman missed the team's 24-7 win over Pitt last week.
Wilson, who sat out the Seminoles' past two games, returned to practice this week -- welcome news for coach Mike Norvell.
"I do see us being in a better spot," Norvell said of his receivers' health entering the Miami game. "What that means, we'll see."
Coleman (538) and Wilson (415) are Florida State's top two players in receiving yards. They have also combined for 11 receiving TDs. No other Florida State player has more than two TD catches.
Further, Wilson is 6-foot-7, and Coleman 6-4, giving sixth-year quarterback Jordan Travis two imposing targets.
Miami could be vulnerable in the secondary due to injuries that hit two of its top three cornerbacks last week. Both Jaden Davis and Daryl Porter Jr. were hurt in Miami's 20-6 loss at North Carolina State.
The only certainty for Miami at cornerback is that Te'Cory Couch will play. But losing Davis and/or Porter could hinder the Hurricanes' upset hopes.
Florida State leads the ACC in points scored per game (39.6) and is third in points allowed (17.0). Miami ranks fifth in scoring offense (32.1) and fourth in scoring defense (20.0).
Miami will need to stop running back Trey Benson and Travis.
Benson ranks third in the ACC in yards per rush (6.6) and is sixth in rushing yards (641).
Travis ranks second in the league in passing yards (2,469) and has produced 190 yards and seven TDs on the ground.
--Field Level Media