Game of the Week: No. 7 Miami vs. No. 3 Florida State

Story posted October 31, 2013 in Sports, CommRadio by Aaron Carr

Each week ComRadio staff writer Aaron Carr will highlight a matchup in college football that he considers to be the “Game of the Week.” If you’re going to enjoy some college football action then this is the ONE contest that you do not want to miss. Carr’s, “Game of the Week” selection for week ten of the college football season comes to you live from Miami, Florida where a pair of ancient rivals battle it out in the Atlantic Coast Conference’s marquee rivalry game.

The Game: No. 7 Miami Hurricanes vs. No. 3 Florida State Seminoles

Forget for a moment all the conference and national championship implications that hinge on the outcome of this game. Forget for a moment that this is a matchup of two top 10 programs. Forget for a moment that this game features two historical college football powerhouses. Style points and storylines don’t matter when it comes to the ACC’s marquee rivalry game. For Florida State and Miami, all the matters is winning.

The two in-state rivals first clashed in 1951, with Miami winning the inaugural matchup 35-13, along with victories in eight of the first nine matchups between the two programs. This is the rivalry that’s given us Wide Right I, Wide Right II, Wide Right III, Wide Left, Wide Right IV, the Miami Muff and everything in between. The two schools have cost one another records, championships, milestones and memories, while the hatred only intensified.

Fast-forwarding to the 2013 matchup, the Seminoles, who’ve won the last three games in the series, are looking to pad their BCS resumes on the road against their archrivals. The Noles are the most balanced team in college football from my vantage point, ranking in the top five in both points for and points against. Florida State’s games this season haven’t been close, even against then No. 3 Clemson, who was steamrolled 51-14 by FSU.

The same cannot be said for Miami. The Canes have won their last three games in dramatic fashion, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, while staring at double-digit deficits in all three contests. Miami’s last two wins against North Carolina and Wake Forest saw the Coastal Division leaders score the go-ahead touchdown in the final seconds of the game. Whether the “cardiac Canes” have been good or just plain lucky the last three games is something America is about the find out. The bottom line is this; for better or worse, Miami is battletested, Florida State is not. 

The same can be said for the opposing quarterbacks in this in-state blood feud of a football game. Florida State’s, “Famous Jameis” Winston deserves every accolade he’s received in his freshman season. The two-sport star has thrown for 2177 yards and 23 touchdown passes while completing 70 percent of his passes and only tossing four interceptions.

Miami’s senior signal caller Stephen Morris is the one who’s looked like a freshman at times this season. The Miami native has 10 touchdowns against eight interceptions this year, not exactly the stat line of an elite senior passer. Despite FSU starting a freshman under center while Miami leans on its senior, the visiting Seminoles have the clear advantage at quarterback. 

Players to Watch:

RB Duke Johnson, Miami: Being the running backs historian that I am, I can safely say without hesitation that this young man from Miami, Fl., is one of my favorites carrying the rock today. The sophomore ball carrier, who scored the game-winning touchdown against Wake Forest last week, now has 16 rushing scores in his first two seasons. And after missing out on a 1,000-yard season during his freshman campaign by a measly 53 yards, Johnson is poised to crack the millennium mark this year. He’s also developed into a dependable workhorse for the Canes, carrying the ball 30 times for 168 yards in last week’s come from behind win.

DB Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State: The ball hawking senior defensive back for the Seminoles looks the part of a first team All-American, despite his 5’8” frame. For his performance against the Clemson Tigers, a game in which he made eight solo tackles and forced three turnovers, he was named the Walter Camp Defensive Player of the Week. If the Fort Lauderdale, Fl., native has his way, that won’t be the last time he’s picked for that accolade. Switching between safety and corner at various points in his FSU career, he’s the leader of the Noles secondary.

By the Numbers:

2006 The 2006 game between Florida State and Miami was the most watched college football game in ESPN history.

31 Miami leads the all-time series between the two programs with a 31-26 record.

30 The number of carries by Miami running back Duke Johnson in the win over Wake Forest. The 30 carries were eight more than his previous career high.

Aaron Carr is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email adc5230@psu.edu.