Saturday’s college football game of the day: Florida State at Miami

Florida State Seminoles at Miami Hurricanes (-3, 64.5)

With the roles reversed from recent meetings, 10th-ranked Miami (Fla.) hosts No. 21 Florida State while favored to end a six-game losing streak against its instate ACC rival. While the Seminoles, ranked No. 4 in the preseason, already have seen their national title hopes crushed, the unbeaten Hurricanes have outscored their foes 108-44 but have yet to face a team nearly as talented as Jimbo Fisher’s squad.

The Seminoles, who lost 37-35 to North Carolina last Saturday on a 54-yard field goal on the final play after rallying from a 21-0 deficit, have allowed 135 points in their last three games and rank 94th in FBS in total defense (438.4 yards per game). To be fair, while the defense clearly hasn’t come close to performing to the program’s usual lofty standards,  FSU already has faced three of the nation’s best quarterbacks – Mississippi’s Chad Kelly, Heisman Trophy hopeful Lamar Jackson of Louisville and North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky – and will be tested again by Miami junior Brad Kaaya. “Just thinking about Miami winning irks my nerves,” FSU star running back Dalvin Cook, who hails from Miami, told reporters. “Going down and playing them, Kaaya is a special talent, he’s been having a great year and we must contain him.”  Miami’s youthful defense has far-exceeded expectations, ranking seventh in total defense (253.3 yards) and No. 2 in scoring defense (9.3 points), but the Hurricanes’ three FBS wins have come against teams ranked between 89th and 118th in total offense. 

TV: 8 p.m., ABC.

LINE HISTORY: Miami opened as 2-point home favorites over their in-state rivals from Florida State. The spread was bumped up to -3 almost immediately and has held steady all week. The total opened at 65 and on Friday afternoon was sitting at 64.5. View complete line history here.

INJURY REPORT:

Florida State – OL C. Martinez (Ques Sat, knee), DT D. Taylor II (Ques Sat, shoulder), OL D. Kelly (Ques Sat, knee), WR K. Gavin (Ques Sat, toe), DB L. Taylor (Ques Sat, quadricep), RB J. Vickers (Ques Sat, concussion), WR J. Harrison (Out Indefinitely, suspension)DB D. James (Late oct, knee).

Miami – DL S. Patchan (Ques Sat, knee), QB T. Beirne (Ques Sat, personal), WR S. Bruce (Out For Season, leg), LB J. Gordinier (Out For Season, knee).

WEATHER: This game will be played at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. Hurricane Matthew will have blown through the area an begun it’s potential loop back for a second pass by Saturday evening. Conditions for Florida St. vs Miami will be partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid 80’s. There is just a 10 percent chance of rain and winds will be light.

ABOUT FLORIDA STATE (3-2 SU, 2-2 ATS, 3-1 O/U): The Seminoles have plenty of offensive firepower led by Cook, who has rushed for 407 yards in the last two games, and red-shirt freshman quarterback Deondre Francois (264.7 yards per game), who has exhibited poise and the ability to make plays with both his arm and his legs. His targets include Cook (19 receptions, 15.1 yards per catch) out of the backfield and speedy wide receivers Jesus Wilson (22, 15.5) and Travis Rudolph (17, 14.3). The top performers for the struggling defense, which sorely has missed defensive back Derwin James (torn meniscus), have been linebacker Matthew Thomas (30 tackles) and defensive ends DeMarcus Walker (6.5 sacks) and Brian Burns (four).

ABOUT MIAMI (4-0 SU, 4-0 ATS, 3-1 O/U): While Kaaya – who recorded 405 yards passing in last year’s loss to the Seminoles – remains the key to Miami’s offense, coach Mark Richt is employing a more balanced approach this season (241.8 yards passing, 232.5 rushing) that has left opposing defenses guessing. Running backs Mark Walton  (445 yards, 7.1 yards per carry versus 3.5 in 2015) and backup Joe Yearby (323, 7.3 versus 4.9) also have benefited from an improved offensive line. Although the defense gave up more rushing yards last week against Georgia Tech (267) than it had allowed in its first three games combined, it held the Yellow Jackets to three third-down conversions on 12 attempts and produced two touchdowns as freshman linebackers Shaquille Quarterman and Michael Pinckney returned fumbles for scores.

CHEERLEADER WAR:

TRENDS:

* Seminoles are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight up loss.
* Hurricanes are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games on grass.
* Under is 7-1 in Seminoles last 8 games after accumulating more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game.
* Under is 5-0 in the last 5 meetings.
* Underdog is 14-3 ATS in their last 17 meetings.

COVERS CONSENSUS: The Miami Hurricanes are picking up 55 percent of the spread picks made by Covers users and Over is grabbing 54 percent of the totals wagers. View full Covers Consensus here.


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