Are Florida State Highly Touted Running Backs Overrated?


Florida State running backs Cam Akers and Jacques Patrick were ranked among the best tandems in the country entering 2017. Have they underperformed based on expectations?

How will the Miami Hurricanes defense handle the Seminoles talented running back tandem?

Akers was the third highest rated recruit and second-ranked running back in the class of 2018 according to Sports Illustrated. Florida State has faced a trio of tough run defenses to begin the season.

Alabama and North Carolina State have the second and eighth best run defenses in the country. Add in breaking in a true Freshman quarterback and the Florida State offense has struggled.

Florida State ran for 40 yards on 27 carries in the opener against Alabama. They were much more productive with 26 carries for 104 yards against NC State. Against Wake, they had 43 carries for 149 yards.

The Florida State passing game has been inconsistent in the two games with true Freshman quarterback James Blackman under center. Blackman was 22-38 for 278 yards and no interceptions against North Carolina State. He only managed 121 yards on 11-21 with a touchdown and an interception against Wake Forest.

If not for a 40-yard touchdown to Auden Tate with just over a minute left Blackman would have finished under 100 yards passing. FSU running backs Patrick and Akers have been productive to a point. Overall the Seminoles production on the ground has been inconsistent.

Patrick has 175 yards rushing this season, one touchdown and is averaging 5.3 yards per carry. Akers is averaging four yards per carry. He has rushed 144 yards this season. Patrick’s touchdown is the Seminoles only one on the ground this season.

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  • The sack yards suffered by Blackman and Dondre Francois, plus the running backs other than Akers and Patrick have contributed to the Seminoles averaging just 3.3 yards per carry on the ground.

    While Akers and Patrick have been productive in yards per carry are they truly backs to be feared? The Seminoles have rushed for just 293 yards in three games. The Seminoles average of 97.7 yards per game according to NCAA.Com ranks 121st out of 129 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

    Overall offensively Florida State is a very un-Seminole like 115th nationally in scoring. They are averaging only 18 points per game. Conversely, the Hurricanes are 18th nationally averaging 41.3 points per game.

    The Miami run defense has struggled at times this season. They rank 46th in the country allowing 129,7 yards per game. Their 3.5 yards per carry has been solid.

    Look for Miami Defensive Coordinator Manny Diaz to stack the box against the Florida State running game. Their average yards per carry has not been great, but Akers and Patrick have been good individually. Diaz is also likely to bring the blitz as frequently as necessary.

    Next: Florida State Greater Pressure Saturday than Miami Hurricanes

    If Florida State is going to extend their winning streak to eight games against Miami it’s going to have to come through the air.