Two old in-state and ACC rivals will get together on Saturday night (8:00 pm ET) in Miami when number 23 Florida St.(4-1) travels to face the number 13 Miami Hurricanes (3-1). The game has been decided by fewer than 10 points in nine consecutive meetings between these two teams, making for some very exciting games and this one figures to be just as intense. New FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher will be facing off against Miami head man Randy Shannon in his first shot at the Hurricanes as the top dog. Both teams were embarrassed and suffered their only losses in their first games against top-25 opponents this season, with FSU losing to Oklahoma 47-17 in Norman to te then-number 10 Sooners and Miami dropping their contest in the Horseshoe 36-24 to number 2 Ohio St.
These are two very evenly matched teams, the difference on Saturday will likely come down to quarterback play. Miami is led by QB Jacory Harris, who is nursing a shoulder injury suffered against Pittsburgh, and was only 13-33, although with four TD passes, against Clemson last week. Harris has been up and down this season, throwing for 10 TDs and 8 INTs with a 57.1 completion percentage, but his four picks against Ohio St. loomed large in that loss and if he turns the ball over against FSU it could be curtains for the ‘Canes. If Harris misses significant time with the injury, Miami does not have sufficient depth at the quarterback position to sustain his loss, so watch the injury situation closely. FSU is led by quarterback Christian Ponder, who has completed 60.5 % of his passes with 8 TDs and only 3 INTs on the season while throwing for 844 yards. Ponder is experienced, plays behind and experience offensive line that has been able to give him time to throw and has shown less propensity for turnovers than Harris, which could be a large factor in this game.
FSU and Miami rank as the two top defense in the ACC by the numbers, with the Seminoles giving up and average of 293.4 YPG and Miami ranking at the top with 266.8 YPG allowed. FSU has 25 sacks on the season, tops in the league, and if they can pressure Harris they should be able to force him into some mistakes. Miami may give the ball up, but they can also take it away, as evidenced by their 6 forced turnovers in a 30-21 win at Clemson last week.
Miami comes into the game having won 8 of the last 11 meetings between the two schools and 2 out of the last 3., including last year’s 38-34 thriller in Tallahassee when FSU was unable to score inside the two yard line with 14 seconds left. The last nine games have an average margin of victory of 4.1 points, so a close one here would not be out of the ordinary. The underdog is 10-1 ATS in the last 11 meetings. The under is 6-2 in FSU’s last 8 games overall, and the under is 35-17 in Miami’s last 52 home games.
Florida St. St. vs Miami Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Florida St. Seminoles +6
@ Miami Hurricanes -6
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Florida St. vs. Miami Prediction for Week 6 Saturday Evening Game:
Spread Prediction (Top Play) – FSU is a solid pick here on the road against a Miami team that is not receiving consistent play at the game’s most pivotal position, quarterback. Ponder’s ability to manage the game and make big plays without hurting his team will be the difference in this game. The underdog has been a strong trend in this matchup, and with the history of tight games FSU is simply getting too many points for a team of this caliber. Expect game to come down to the wire, but a key mistake will likely be the Hurricanes undoing.
Over/Under Prediction – The under is the play here, as the top two defense in the conference square off. Look for Harris to struggle against the strong FSU pass rush, especially with his injury situation. Ponder will not necessarily have a field day against a strong ‘Cane defense, but the combination of a veteran offensive line and a strong running game led by sophomore Jermaine Thomas (6.3 YPC 4TDs) should take some of the pressure off and allow FSU to move the ball.
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