Matchup: Miami vs. Florida State

Quarterback: Robert Marve has looked great so far for Miami. He clearly grasps the offense, which can be seen every time he improvises to make a first down happen on a broken play. He just has to eliminate the mistakes that killed the Canes last game, which comes with time. Jacory Harris has played steadily, and he would perform better if given more weapons to work with while in the game (such as Graig Cooper). For Florida State, both Christian Ponder and D’Vontrey Richardson have struggled. They have thrown six interceptions, which is concerning considering half their games were against Western Carolina and Chattanooga. EDGE: Miami

Running Back: The Seminoles are led by Antone Smith, who is finally starting to realize his vast potential. He had a huge game against Colorado last week, going for three touchdowns. When in the game, Richardson is also a threat running the ball. For the Canes, Cooper had another big game, going over 100 yards on the ground. Both teams lack that difference-making second back. EDGE: Even

Receivers: The Noles feature tall targets Greg Carr and Cory Surrency, both of whom will present matchup problems. Surrency averages 20 yards per reception. The electric Preston Parker will be a problem out of the slot. For the Canes, Kayne Farquaharson is becoming a go-to receiver for Marve. Dedrick Epps and Aladarious Johnson both looked great last week. EDGE: Florida State

Offensive Line: Both running games have looked good, while Miami’s passing game has been more effective. FSU averages 6.1 yards per carry but has faced weak competition. Miami is more talented, but FSU is getting production. EDGE: Even

Defensive Line: FSU has explosive athletes along their line, led by Everette Brown. Miami has been great against the run, but it must get more pressure on the quarterback to win games. Eric Moncur has notched sacks in consecutive games for the Canes. EDGE: Even

Linebacker: The battle for “Best Freshman Linebacker in Florida” between Sean Spence of Miami and FSU’s Nigel Bradham gets personal this week. FSU’s Derek Nicholson leads his team in tackles; Miami’s Glenn Cook and Colin McCarthy have been great in pursuit. EDGE: Even

Secondary: Miami got toasted when it mattered last week. The secondary still has not created a turnover. Florida State’s has created only one, but has more talent. Look for UM’s Brandon Harris to make more of an impact as the coaches increase his reps. EDGE: Florida State

Special Teams: UM’s Travis Benjamin and FSU’s Parker are game breakers. Matt Bosher has been solid for UM. FSU is 5 of 9 on field goals and has struggled for years against UM. This will come down to coverage units. Neither is proven. EDGE: Even

October 1, 2008


Dan Stein

Senior Sports Writer

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