Morris Doubtful As Miami Hurricanes Host Florida State
By: Michael Robinson
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
The annual in-state battle between the Florida State Seminoles and Miami Hurricanes has been extremely close over the years, but this one could be heavily affected by an injury to Miami quarterback Stephen Morris.
The Don Best Pro Odds have Miami as 18½-19 point home ‘dogs after opening at +17½. The total is 56 and ABC will have the coverage at 8:00 p.m. (ET) from Sun Life Stadium in Miami.
The junior Morris is listed as doubtful after spraining his ankle in last week’s 18-14 home loss to North Carolina. He has thrown for 1,991 yards overall, second most in the ACC. Sophomore Ryan Williams is expected to start in his place after transferring from Memphis after one season.
Miami (4-3 straight up and against the spread) is also dealing with a 2-game losing streak in addition to the quarterback injury. The North Carolina game was preceded by a bad 41-3 loss to Notre Dame, a game played in not-so-neutral Chicago.
Coach Al Golden is happy that the Hurricanes still lead the Coastal Division at 3-1, but they’ve looked bad against ranked opponents with a blowout at Kansas State (52-13) in addition to Notre Dame. This one will at least be at home.
The Seminoles (6-1 SU, 2-4 ATS) were a top-5 team nationally in both the AP and Coaches Poll before a terrible 17-16 upset at North Carolina State as 17-point favorites two weeks ago. They blew a 16-0 halftime lead along with likely their national title hopes.
Coach Jimbo Fisher’s guys did rebound with a 51-7 home win over Boston College last Saturday, but is still ranked just 12th and 10th respectively in the AP and Coaches. The Don Best Linemakers Poll doesn’t have wild swings due to a single bad game and still has Florida State at No. 4.
Quarterback E.J. Manuel may not be part of the Heisman talk anymore, but his 175.8 rating ranks fifth in the country. He’s had a couple of huge passing games against Clemson (380 yards) and Boston College (439 yards), and the aerial attack overall ranks a respectable 23rd in the country (297.4 YPG).
The offense is balanced with a running game that ranks 16th (233.1 YPG). Senior back Chris Thompson has been a home run threat at 7.6 yards per carry after missing most of last season with a back injury.
Florida State should be able to pick its poison offensively, either running or throwing. Miami’s defense is 117th in total yards (506.6 YPG), with the porous run ‘D’ the biggest factor (253.7 YPG, ranked 118th).
Fisher’s defense on the other hand is elite at 222 YPG (ranked third) and 11.6 PPG (fourth). He’ll look to stop the running game first and make Williams prove he can throw it in his first career start with the 'Canes.
Note the ‘under’ is 2-0 in Florida State’s road games this year and 6-0 in the last six away from home (including last year’s Bowl).
This matchup has been close historically with 10 of the last 11 decided by eight points or less. The one exception was the last time they met in Miami in 2010, a 45-17 Florida State blowout as 5 -point ‘dogs.
The road team has also dominated lately at 5-1 SU and 6-0 ATS in the last six. The underdog is 12-1 ATS in the last 13.