Miami Hurricanes-Florida State Could Come Down to Running Game

DURHAM, NC - SEPTEMBER 29: Mark Walton
DURHAM, NC - SEPTEMBER 29: Mark Walton /

When the Miami Hurricanes and Florida State play Saturday afternoon in Tallahassee the difference could come down to each teams ability to run and stop the run.

The winner of the previous 30 Miami Hurricanes-Florida State games has been the leading rusher 22 times. During the short Mark Richt tenure at Miami thus far, the Hurricanes are far more productive offensively when they can run the football.

Miami struggled to run the football during their four-game losing streak last season. The Hurricanes averaged 2.03 yards per carry during the losing streak in 2016.

Miami’s running game has been one of the best in the country in 2017. This season the Hurricanes are averaging 7.5 yards per carry and 238.3 yards per game.

Junior running back Mark Walton has been sensational. Walton is averaging 134.3 yards per game. That’s fifth in the country. He is also second nationally averaging 9.16 yards per carry.

Walton’s backup Travis Homer is averaging 8.3 yards per carry. If he had enough carries to qualify that would rank seventh in the nation.

Florida State’s defense enters the game allowing 126.3 yards per game on the ground. That’s a respectful 38th nationally. The Seminoles allow 3.4 yards per carry. Miami was at less than three yards per carry against Duke last week until Travis Homer broke a 40-yard touchdown run.

Florida State enters the game with one of the worst rushing offenses in the country. The Seminoles are 120th nationally averaging 97.7 yards per game. That average has been impacted greatly by Florida State’s inability to pass protect.

The Seminoles are 126th out of 129 teams in the FBS in protecting the passer. They have allowed 12 sacks for 80 yards. That has impacted the statistics in their running game.

Live Feed

ACC Power Rankings: Can #4 FSU overthrow Clemson at Death Valley East?
ACC Power Rankings: Can #4 FSU overthrow Clemson at Death Valley East? /

Saturday Blitz

  • Miami vs. Temple Prediction, Odds, Trends and Key Players for College Football Week 4Betsided
  • Where did Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson play college football?FanSided
  • Who is playing college football tonight, Sept. 14?FanSided
  • College Football Picks Against the Spread for Every Top 25 Game in Week 3Betsided
  • College football rankings 2023: Projected Week 3 AP Top 25 after Texas upsets Alabama, Colorado rolls againFanSided
  • Judging only on rushing attempts, the Seminoles are averaging 4.78 yards per carry. Not nearly the lofty average that the Miami running game has achieved, but they have been productive.

    Freshman Cam Akers and Junior Jacques Patrick have split the rushing responsibilities for Jimbo Fisher. Akers has 36 carries for 144 yards without a touchdown. That’s an average of four yards per carry. Patrick is at 33 for 175 and a touchdown. He is averaging 5.3 yards per carry.

    The Miami Hurricanes defense is 46th in the nation allowing 129.7 yards per game. Miami is allowing just 3.5 yards per carry. Duke and Bethune-Cookman averaged four yards per carry. The Hurricanes were able to limit Toledo to just three yards per attempt on the ground.

    Miami will try and establish the run against Florida State. Their offense thrives when they can run the football. Without the run during the four-game losing streak, last year teams were able to focus on rushing the passer. Virginia Tech got to Brad Kaaya last year eight times in a 37-16 victory.

    Defensively the Hurricanes are also going to try and stop the run. Florida State quarterback James Blackman has been erratic in his two starts. He only eclipsed 100 yards last week with a late 40-yard go-ahead touchdown pass in a 26-19 victory at Wake Forest.

    Next: Miami Hurricanes HC Mark Richt Discusses Miami-Florida State Rivalry

    The Hurricanes are likely to stack the box and make Blackman beat them. If he cannot that will allow Miami Defensive Coordinator Manny Diaz to frequently blitz and disrupt Blackman. Florida State’s offensive line is going to have to improve quickly or face a long afternoon of the Hurricanes continually in the Seminoles offensive backfield.