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After the Storm: FSU

After the Storm: FSU

Stefan Adams
The Miami Hurricanes won their third straight in their rivalry with the Florida State Seminoles this weekend, walking out of Doak Campbell Stadium with a 27-10 victory. Here were my grades and takeaways from the game.


Beating FSU is always a big deal. No, the season hasn’t gone as expected in Manny Diaz’s first year, but winning this game just has so many implications. It keeps Miami’s slim hopes of winning the Coastal alive, which is always the goal every season. Coaches that don’t beat their rivals don’t tend to last very long, so this weekend was a big step forward for Manny’s long-term prospects at Miami. Beating FSU and winning a bowl game would at least give the program something positive to hang on to during what is sure to be a long offseason. Also, this game was huge for recruiting purposes in more ways than one; with their third straight win in the series, and this one being so convincing, UM made clear that they are closer to being back than FSU, and likely put themselves ahead of the Noles in the hierarchy of many high school athletes. Miami also ended the Willie Taggart era at FSU, and while UM would have loved to keep playing him on the field in the long term, in the short term, it’s going to sink FSU’s 2020 class while giving Miami another opportunity to get a leg up in the recruiting arms race.


This game was won in the trenches. In the Roundtable preview, I pointed to the matchup in the trenches being more of a key to a victory than QB play. The truth is, when you have completely dominant defensive line play that has 9 sacks and is getting pressure almost every dropback, it’s not going to matter much who the QB is; they’re going to have a bad time. The advantage was there for Miami, and boy did they ever exploit it. Miami had 16 TFL in 69 plays, nearly 1 in 4 plays of negative yards. It is impossible for any offense to sustain drives like that. Even if FSU wanted to hit a guy like Tamorrion Terry deep, they wouldn’t have had time to let the play properly develop. Not to be outdone on the other side, but Miami’s OL (2 sacks, 5 TFL) just had their second straight strong week. They picked up most of FSU’s blitzes perfectly, showed great communication in passing off defenders, and made sure Jarren Williams had plenty of time to go deep throughout the game. With their athletes on both sides of the ball, Miami is going to be extremely tough to beat when they are dictating the game in the trenches like that.


9 games in, and Gregory Rousseau is officially Miami’s best defensive player. Rousseau was the one player I pointed to in the preview, saying he needed a big game to put his stamp on this rivalry and introduce himself on a national stage. To say he accomplished those things would be the understatement of the century. A week after recording 3 sacks vs. Pitt, Rousseau was unblockable yet again, taking down 4 QB’s vs. the Noles. Rousseau brings more to the table than elite athleticism, as he showed vs. FSU he can get sacks with strong hand technique as well. FSU couldn’t even stop him with the cut-block. He now has an ACC-leading 12 sacks and has started just 4 games. Those 12 sacks tie him for 4th all-time at Miami for sacks in a season, and Rousseau is now just 5 sacks behind Danny Stubbs’ single-season UM sack record of 17 set in 1986. Rousseau has 4 games left to make it happen, and he has a strong chance to break the record at his current pace. It might have seemed crazy to say in the beginning of the year with so many established veterans coming back on the defense, but I wouldn’t take anybody else over Rousseau at this point.


I think Todd Stroud deserves a lot of credit for the D-Line rebound. Stroud took a lot of heat early in the season when the UM defensive line got off to a slow start, as the standards at that position group have been set so high at Miami in recent years. I think it was fair, but some of it was the gameplan calling for defensive ends to drop back in coverage or spy the QB. In any case, the turnaround has been swift and remarkable in recent weeks, so he should share in some of the credit. After the dominant performance against FSU, UM is now 5th in the country in sacks per game (3.78) and 6th in the nation in TFL per game (8.4), right back among the best of the best in havoc stats. It’s a big part of why UM’s defense has allowed less than 10 ppg in their last 4 games (9.8) and just two TD’s total in regulation in that same span.


Jarren Williams may have had his best game as a Hurricane considering the context of the opponent. Williams may not have been as accurate as he usually is (21 for 37 at 57%), but he threw for a career-high 313 yards and made NFL throws all day, keeping FSU’s defense honest by looking to stretch the field. All three of his deep balls were perfectly placed dimes right on the money, showing excellent timing and rhythm, and Williams actually threw Dee Wiggins open on one that went for a 56-yard TD. However, I actually thought his best throw of the day was the corner route to KJ Osborn, thrown from the left hash to the right sideline and fit in between two FSU defenders. A combination of arm strength and accuracy, that was truly a ‘Wow’ throw. Miami QB’s are judged in part by their ability to beat FSU. Good start.


Miami had a huge hidden yardage advantage. The Canes were dominant in the field position battle that led to a ton of short fields for the offense, while constantly putting the Noles behind the 8-ball. Miami’s average starting field position was their own 44, while FSU’s was their own 25. That’s a 19 yard per drive difference and there were 14 total drives on the game, a 266 hidden yardage advantage for UM. In other words, FSU would have had to outgain Miami by 266 yards just to break even. When you look at it in that context, you begin to realize just how much of a weapon it is to have a great punter like Louis Hedley, who outkicked his counterpart in FSU’s Tommy Martin by over 10 yards per punt (45.8 to 35.4), as well as a punt returner like KJ Osborn, who had two big runbacks to increase Miami’s field position advantage even more. The punting game has done a complete 180 from last year, when it looked like UM had the worst unit in the country.


Big plays bailed UM out on offense. Miami had 197 of their 353 offensive yards on 5 explosive plays of 20+ yards. This is both a good and bad thing. On the positive side, it shows Miami can threaten a defense from any point on the field and are able to maximize their athletic advantage over opponents for instant offense. With that type of quick-score offense, you’re never truly out of a game. On the flip side, while, yes, they’re exciting plays, a lot of times, big plays like that are a result from a breakdown in the defense. You’d rather not have to rely on them, and instead work down the field by stringing together first downs. The fact is, UM had too many lulls in this game that could’ve come back to bite them; 3-15 (20%) on third downs continues to harm UM’s ability to sustain drives, while Miami had a terrible 4 drives for 19 yards and zero first downs in the third quarter. UM is now the worst third down offense in the nation, converting at just a 26.6% clip. An above average game from the offense to be sure, but still room for improvement.


On the other side, Miami did not allow Tamorrion Terry or Cam Akers to really break loose. The pair of FSU offensive stars (along with the rest of the offense) did not have a play over 20 yards in the game; for context, Terry came into the game 2nd in the ACC averaging 21 yards per catch, while Cam Akers had 15 total TD’s on the year to lead the conference. Miami’s gameplan: use a relentless pass rush to force the ball out quick, make the surefire tackles for short gains only, stack the box to shutdown the run. FSU had issues all year sustaining drives due to their poor offensive line play, so they needed a few big plays from the duo to really have a chance; instead, Miami held them to 129 yards on 29 touches combined. Both UM’s gameplan and great execution from the front seven allowed them to win by 3 scores.


Grades

Offense: B

Miami’s attack unit came through with explosive plays at the perfect times and had 5 plays over 20 yards, ending the day with 353 total yards on 5.8 yards per play. 27 points, 1 turnover. OL played their second straight strong game, allowing just 2 sacks on 40 dropbacks and 5 total TFL, while giving Williams plenty of time to go downfield throughout the contest. Run game couldn’t get untracked and only totaled 40 yards. 3-15 (20%) on third downs continues to harm UM’s ability to sustain drives. 4 drives for 19 yards and zero first downs in the third quarter was a major negative. An above average performance against a rival on the road gets a ‘B’.

Defense: A+

Incredible pass rush struck for 9 sacks and 16 TFL, which killed almost every Noles drive before they could get started. Held FSU’s star weapons Cam Akers and Tamorrion Terry to zero game-breaking plays over 20 yards. 10 points allowed, 203 total yards given up, 2 turnovers, 5-17 (29%) on third down defense. FSU’s two lowest yardage totals in the past 10 years have now come against Miami in back-to-back games. Can’t ask for much more from this unit.

Special Teams: B+

Louis Hedley (45.8 ypp) outdueled FSU punter Tommy Martin (35.4 ypp) to help Miami dominate the field position battle on the day. KJ Osborn has turned into a weapon on punt returns, as he helped UM advance their field position with two big runbacks. No big returns allowed by the coverage units. Camden Price shanking a 37-yarder was the lone miscue, but he did make two important kicks and all three of his XP attempts.

Coaching: A

Had the team prepared to play a rival on the road and jumped out to an early 17-3 lead. 6 penalties for 65 yards was just average. Enos may have called his best game of the year. The defensive gameplan doesn’t get much better and made the proper adjustments on defense when the Wildcat was giving them trouble on the Noles’ lone TD drive. The staff has gotten a lot of justified criticism this year, but this was their best all-around effort of the season, coming against FSU no less.
 

Comments (41)

Tackling was my #1 takeaway. That was what I preached all week. Akers has been really good all year, but the line was still only generating 1.4 yards before contact for him. What he's been getting, he's been getting on his own from broken tackles. Miami's tackling was EXCELLENT on Saturday, both on him and on the WRs when they did catch the ball. Looked like a different team than what we saw against GT (hmmm....maybe motivation is important in this game).
 
An underrated throw on here is Jarren's throw to Harley on the corner route that set up the Deejay touchdown. Started off looking to his right, went through two progressions and then found Harley, threw a perfect pass AND it was on a third down.

That's the type of shyt we've been desperately missing from a QB for a LONG time.
 
An underrated throw on here is Jarren's throw to Harley on the corner route that set up the Deejay touchdown. Started off looking to his right, went through two progressions and then found Harley, threw a perfect pass AND it was on a third down.

That's the type of shyt we've been desperately missing from a QB for a LONG time.
And Harley did a nice job of keeping his hands down (the db was looking for this to make his play) until the last minute before catching the ball.
 
Man those losses to the tech schools gonna come back to bite us in a big way. could’ve had the coastal man dam

if we rebound and win out (including the bowl) we will end the exact same way as '16, with plenty of momentum headed into the offseason. this team isn't at clemson's level yet and a big loss to them in the acc championship would be a huge momentum killer. might be better for us in the long run.
 
FSU’s two lowest yardage totals in the past 10 years have now come against Miami in back-to-back games.


I remember when @Cuban-Cane made a post stating something like their oline were worst then us and bruh you were right fam!

IDK if our energies were waaay up for this game or what but our boys feasted!
 
if we rebound and win out (including the bowl) we will end the exact same way as '16, with plenty of momentum headed into the offseason. this team isn't at clemson's level yet and a big loss to them in the acc championship would be a huge momentum killer. might be better for us in the long run.
Also assuming we win out and look good doing it we may still make the Orange Bowl anyway without making the ACC title game.
I assume Clemson is going to blow out whoever comes out of the Coastal which makes Miami look like the better pick for the game at Hardrock New Year's Day.
So winning the Coastal this year may not mean much in the long run.
 
FSU’s two lowest yardage totals in the past 10 years have now come against Miami in back-to-back games.


I remember when @Cuban-Cane made a post stating something like their oline were worst then us and bruh you were right fam!

IDK if our energies were waaay up for this game or what but our boys feasted!

our OL has been improving recently. theres is a disaster, but if we play w that focus on the defensive side, good luck to anyone
 
An underrated throw on here is Jarren's throw to Harley on the corner route that set up the Deejay touchdown. Started off looking to his right, went through two progressions and then found Harley, threw a perfect pass AND it was on a third down.

That's the type of shyt we've been desperately missing from a QB for a LONG time.

That was a great throw and he bought himself time with his feet.
 
Also assuming we win out and look good doing it we may still make the Orange Bowl anyway without making the ACC title game.
I assume Clemson is going to blow out whoever comes out of the Coastal which makes Miami look like the better pick for the game at Hardrock New Year's Day.
So winning the Coastal this year may not mean much in the long run.

Does not the Orange Bowl have the choice of picking ND if they are rated higher than available ACC team
 
I will say in the 3rd that two of the drives on the offense we failed a 4th and 1 and missed a field goal on a 4th and 1. If we convert those our offense would have been better in the 3rd. Also had Jarren miss a wide open Wiggins in the redzone in the 2nd quarter or it's 21-3 at half. My point is plays where there to be made by the offense, it wasn't all on Anus.
 
our OL has been improving recently. theres is a disaster, but if we play w that focus on the defensive side, good luck to anyone

Man muthaf*** You P*** Y !!! You had thought I forgot about your bigotry comments huh on JT -GTFOH !!!!! Not all good w/ me -Don't pay me no mind blood in any of my commentary or post and I mean that shi**. Keep that same energy you got going Sucka a*** Mark a** Busta!!!

PullingMuthaf***CanesCardsOvaHere !!! Bi**a**SNAKE!

Your a** Got me out of my spirit F***Boy!
 
Man muthaf*** You P*** Y !!! You had thought I forgot about your bigotry comments huh on JT -GTFOH !!!!! Not all good w/ me -Don't pay me no mind blood in any of my commentary or post and I mean that shi**. Keep that same energy you got going Sucka a*** Mark a** Busta!!!

PullingMuthaf***CanesCardsOvaHere !!! Bi**a**SNAKE!

Your a** Got me out of my spirit F***Boy!

what bigotry comments? saying a kid is from esl isnt bigotry, but show me how it is. if so, def didnt come out that way. this site has excused behavior based on where a kid is from.

also, lets see your cane card.

also, guarantee you wouldnt say **** to anyone in real life. just another keyboard warrior like the rest of us. lol at keep that energy up. i dont really care what a stranger thinks of me esp when they try to construe race when nothing was racially motivated. keep going though. im sure between all that nonsense you typed, there is something that will make me scared.
 
if we rebound and win out (including the bowl) we will end the exact same way as '16, with plenty of momentum headed into the offseason. this team isn't at clemson's level yet and a big loss to them in the acc championship would be a huge momentum killer. might be better for us in the long run.
actually, we are YOUNG this year & I’d like to reach The ACC Championship Game for a few reasons:
-See how the pups play/handle the BRIGHT LIGHTS
-I may be a foolish Die-Hard Cane, but I think that we match up better this year against Clemson than last year or even in 2017
-We ARE THE BEST TEAM in Da Coastal Division(even though currently our record DOES NOT reflect it
 
Also amazing job by our OL on that play. Jarren is actually a QB that consistently goes through his progressions. If they give him that type of time from here on out we can't lose.
Agree!! And amazing job by Cam and especially DJ on Pass Pro. 🙌
 
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