No. 3 Florida State vs. No. 7 Miami
Famous Jameis and Co.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston has burst on to the scene this year, leading Florida State to an average of 52.6 points per game. “Famous Jameis” has continued the success of recent Seminole quarterbacks Christian Ponder and E.J. Manuel. The dual-threat quarterback has thrown for 23 touchdowns to only four interceptions. Blitz him? He has only been sacked 12 times all year, while rushing for 126 yards on 44 carries. Winston’s favorite receiver has been Rashad Greene, who leads the team with 39 catches, 690 yards and eight touchdowns.
Duke Johnson led Miami run game
Junior running back Duke Johnson has been a staple of the Miami offense all season, leading the Hurricanes with 117.6 rushing yards per game. In last week’s come-from-behind 24-21 victory against Wake Forest, Johnson put the team on his back, rushing for two fourth-quarter touchdowns and a total of 168 yards on 30 carries. Behind the junior is sophomore back Dallas Crawford, who has 65 carries for 291 yards and nine touchdowns.
Defense wins championships
Neither offense has faced a defense with the talent and skill of their opponent. Both the Seminoles and Hurricanes defenses’ rank in the Top 20 in the nation in total yards, pass yards allowed, scoring defense, and third down defense. The Florida State defense is led by junior tackle Timmy Jernigan, senior linebacker Telvin Smith and play-making senior corner Lamarcus Joyner. The Hurricanes lead the nation in turnovers caused per game with 2.7; their stout defense is led by their junior linebacker Denzel Perryman and his 52 total tackles.
Impressing Pac-12 recruits
Miami and Florida State have always been havens for high school football prospects, and this year is no different. With both teams ranked in the Top 10, this Saturday’s matchup will have major recruiting implications. Among the high school talent watching, three five-star prospects -- all of whom have scholarship offers from Cal and other Pac-12 schools -- will be in attendance for Saturday’s game. Joe Mixon (Oakley, CA), a five-star recruit, is the No. 1 all-purpose back in 2014 class according to Rivals’ rankings. Mixon has 11 Pac-12 scholarship offers and made an official recruiting visit to Cal in September. Adoree’ Jackson, five-star recruit, is the No. 1 ranked athlete in 2014 class and has 10 Pac-12 scholarship offers. Malachi Dupre, five-star recruit, is the No.1 ranked wide receiver in 2014 recruiting class and has five Pac-12 scholarship offers.
BCS implications for Stanford
Both No. 3 Florida State and No. 7 Miami come into Saturday’s primetime contest undefeated, with the Stanford Cardinal ranked between the two in the BCS at No. 5. If Miami loses, their National Championship aspirations should be gone, as they won’t face a ranked team until the ACC Championship. Florida State also has an easy road ahead, but the Seminoles will finish their regular season against their in-state rival, the Florida Gators. If Stanford wins out, they should hold an advantage over whichever team loses, furthering their national title desires.