#13 Miami (FL) at Florida State
Time: 2:30 PM (CT), Saturday, ESPN
Spread: MIA -3
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Florida State Seminoles started its season 0-2 for the first time since 1989, but it recovered with a 26-19 win at Wake Forest last week to notch its first victory of the 2017 season. Week 6 could be tougher for the 1-2 Seminoles as they host the Miami Hurricanes. The Hurricanes are favored by 3-points in a game with a low over/under of 46 points, according to college football oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.
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The main reason for the Seminoles struggles, of course, has been the season-ending injury sustained to Deondre Francois in the 7-24 loss to Alabama in Week 1. The Seminoles descent out of being ranked since has been predictable, even if James Blackman is just a true freshman who did not expect to find himself in this role. He struggled last week but was able to connect on a 40-yard TD pass to Auden Tate with 53 seconds left in the game as Florida State pulled ahead in the final quarter. Blackman threw 11 of 21 for completion with one TD in the game, but just 121 total passing yards. He struggled more rushing, with five attempts for a total loss of 39 yards, losing nearly eight yards per attempt.
The FSU defense did a decent job with dual-threat Wake quarterback John Wolford, who threw an interception and picked up just 3.3 yards per carry on his 19 attempts. While Wolford did rush for 63 total yards, Wake got just 33 from the totality of its backfield, with Matt Colburn picking up just 13 yards (though he did manage a touchdown rush). Florida State has to be somewhat concerned Wake was able to come so close, but Miami is a tough football team worthy of its No. 13 national ranking. This game could see FSU fall to 1-3 on the season, in what will be one of the most disappointing Seminole campaigns in modern history.
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Miami is 3-0 with wins over Bethune Cookman, Toledo and Duke. The Duke game was not even close last week, as Miami shut the Blue Devils down and limited them to just two field goals as the Hurricanes triumphed 31-6 in the game. Toledo did hang 30 points on the Hurricanes defense, and the source of concern that game was Toledo quarterback Logan Woodslide, who threw for 342 yards and three TDs. If Blackman can get adequate protection, the secondary of the Hurricanes can be exploited, and that is an x-factor in this game, given that the team with the most offensive success against Miami this season did it via the pass.
Florida State is still a strong passing team even if Blackman is not on Francois’ level. He still may be yet. Through two games, he has a better passer rating than Francois’ 19 of 33 opening game, and he has yet to launch a picked-off pass. Tate should be able to thrive with him throwing the lobs, and the Seminoles still have Cam Akers and Jacques Patrick having decent seasons in the backfield with 175 and 143 yards, respectively and 5.3 and 4.0 yard-per-carry averages. Florida State is bashed and thought out of this game by many bettors, but the Seminoles will prevail by a slim margin as underdogs to slightly get this season back on track.
This game was originally due to have been played on Sept. 16th, but is rescheduled for this Saturday. Malik Rosier of Miami is getting more confidence, and he has completed 65.6 percent of his passes with eight TDs and two INTs. Florida State has such a good secondary, though, and Mark Walton has been battling an ankle injury in the backfield for the Hurricanes. He averages 9.2 yards-per-carry on the season and could be a big difference maker. The Hurricanes defense has 11 sacks and ranks No. 2 in the nation in tackles for loss (nine per game).
Florida State’s defense has been inconsistent of late, and Blackman had just seven passing yards in the first half against Wake Forest last week. While he did make the game-winning pass, those struggles are alarming, and Miami’s front seven is ultra tough and full of playmakers who could rattle the freshman in the pocket. Last week, Wake Forest had five sacks and 17 tackles for loss, and Miami should do the same this week, though it still may not be enough to win this one on the road.