Rivalry Week: Florida State Seminoles

Rivalry Week Florida State

Photo by Kathy Hitchcock

Miami, Florida – It’s rivalry week meaning the game everybody circled between the Miami Hurricanes and Florida State Seminoles is upon us. Had this battle happened after say week 2, the fanbase would’ve been very confident in knocking FSU down. This year’s edition of the storied history between longtime foes comes at a very bad time for UM. The once potent offense has severely regressed and the quarterback position, once seen as the central pillar of the team, seems like the weak link. After dropping last weekend’s game to NC State, Miami checks in at 6-3 (2-3 ACC) traveling to Doak Campbell Stadium to play an undefeated Seminoles squad in what’s arguably the Canes’ most important matchup of the season.

Sitting pretty at 9-0 (7-0, ACC) Florida State is riding off a 24-7 win over Pittsburgh. Although Miami leads the all-time series 35-32, the Seminoles won the previous two meetings including last year’s 45-3 beatdown at the Hardrock. Under the direction of Mike Norvell, No. 4 Florida State is in the hunt for the college football playoff brimming with both a high-flying offense and a formidable defense that’s good against the pass.

Florida State

Jordan Travis

Now this is what you call a first-rounder in the NFL Draft. Jordan Travis has had a phenomenal year compiling 2,469 yards including 19 touchdowns. He’s only been picked off twice which translates to quite the challenge for Miami’s secondary. On top of this, Travis also recorded seven rushing TDs this season. Against Pitt the West Palm Beach native threw for 360 yards seeing the endzone twice through the air and on the ground. Interestingly, he pulled off the rushing TD despite ending the day with -15 yards. If the Hurricanes stand any chance, they’ll have to shut him down. If anyone needs a reminder, Travis completed only 10 of 12 passes last year, however, he really made those count producing 202 yards and three TDs (plus an INT).

Trey Benson

FSU is very far from being a one-dimensional adversary. Trey Benson is the leading rusher generating 641 yards tallying eight scores and a touchdown reception. Averaging 6.6 yards per carry, Benson can be a major headache for Miami if the Hurricanes aren’t careful. Considering UM is one of the best against the run, I’m not too concerned. Stopping the ground game is still no guarantee of victory but it’ll deny the Seminoles a tool in their arsenal. Benson scored twice in the previous meeting on a night where he ran for 128 yards.

Kalen DeLoach

Leading his team in solo tackles (also tied for most assisted tackles), total tackles, and sacks Kalen DeLoach is literally all over the field. DeLoach also caused two forced fumbles recovering one of them and converting it to a TD. The linebacker brandishes elite speed allowing him to track down agile targets. Because of this, he’s capable of excellent coverage making those big plays that absolutely choke opposing drives.


Emory Williams/Tyler Van Dyke/Jacurri Brown

Might as well. It may seem like beating a dead horse but considering how pertinent it is to have a capable quarterback for rivalry week, the topic must be revisited. During Monday’s press conference coach Mario Cristobal was noncommittal toward naming his starting QB. Despite speculation running wild on who will be UM’s signal caller, I think Jacurri Brown is the odd man out. Between Tyler Van Dyke and Emory Williams I’m leaning the former on a short leash. If the first half is a bust, Williams should get the snaps moving forward. Regardless of who is in control, they will have to play out of their minds to leave Tallahassee with a win.

Rueben Bain Jr.

It’s all hands on deck for this one. The Bain Train broke out versus Clemson and given the amount of talent he’s shown there’s no reason to believe he can’t pull off big plays against FSU. Rueben Bain Jr has experienced a very productive freshman season and he will need to show his very best Saturday night in order to put as much pressure on Jordan Travis as possible. Whether it’s him or another individual, the Hurricanes need to force some turnovers in order to halt such a prolific QB.

Kamren Kinchens

It cannot be stated enough the monumental task that lies before the defense. Long since determined the toughest opponent of the year, the unit will need to put up a collective effort that eclipses the Clemson game. Collecting his tenth career interception against the Wolfpack, Kamren Kinchens has now nabbed a pick in three straight games. The streak will need to continue (or someone else should step up) in order to contain, frustrate, and ultimately upset FSU. He’ll leap at the opportunity of halting Travis in order to keep this bout competitive.


Prior to the start of the campaign, I honestly marked this one down as a loss. Fast forwarding to now, nothing has changed my mind on that. In fact, given the team’s struggles, it’s only reinforced my position. It would be one heck of an upset but Florida State is going to win 38-17.

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