Miami Hurricanes OL needs to slow Florida State pass rush

Oct 23, 2021; Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 23, 2021; Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports /

One of the biggest challenges for the Miami Hurricanes against Florida State on Saturday will be slowing the Seminoles pass rush. Florida State is fifth in the ACC and 29th nationally in sacks. Defensive ends Jermaine Johnson and Keir Thomas have 12 of the Seminoles’ 25 sacks.

Miami is 13th in the ACC and 107th nationally allowing 27 sacks. Florida State is averaging 2.78 sacks per game. Miami is allowing an average of three sacks per game. Johnson is second in the ACC and 15th nationally with 7.5 sacks. Thomas is eighth in the ACC with 4.5 sacks. Slowing Johnson and Thomas is critical.

The Miami pass offense has been extremely productive during its three-game winning streak despite allowing eight sacks. Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyke has completed 72.48 percent of his passes for an average of 380 yards with 10 touchdowns and one interception during the three-game winning streak.

Miami defeated North Carolina State, Pittsburgh and Georgia Tech to eliminate a 2-4 start. The wins over the Wolfpack and Panthers were particularly impressive. NC State has the second-best defense in the ACC and Pittsburgh is fifth. The Panthers and Wolfpack were the top two defenses in the ACC when Miami played them.

Giving Van Dyke time throw will be critical for Miami with how successful they have been passing during the three-game winning streak. If Van Dyke has time to throw and the offensive line can limit pressure and sacks from Johnson, Thomas and the Florida State defensive line, Miami can be productive and explosive.

While Florida State has been productive rushing the passer, the Seminoles’ pass defense has been mediocre. Florida State is seventh in the ACC and 73rd nationally allowing 235.1 passing yards per game. Miami is fourth in the ACC and 16th nationally averaging 310.1 yards per game.

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If Miami can protect Van Dyke, the Hurricanes should continue to connect on big pass plays. Miami is 11th nationally with 12 pass plays of 40 yards or more. Florida State is 95th allowing nine pass plays of 40 or more yards. Even if Florida State gets to Van Dyke a few times he should still be able to connect deep versus the Seminoles.