From Week 1 to Week 2, the Miami Hurricanes have continuously improved its use of the passing game to get on the board from the start.
Jumping from 24 passing attempts in their season-opener to 30 last week versus Louisville, the Canes seemingly entered Saturday’s contest against Florida State with no clear intentions on prioritizing a specific scheme to move the ball offensively.
As for the Seminoles, they thought to have had things figured out. You see, versus UAB and the Cardinals, quarterback D’Eriq King leaned towards locating tight ends Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory for yardage. If not, it was usually halfbacks Cam’Ron Harris or Jaylan Knighton catching a short pass for a positive gain.
With that being said, Florida State looked to force King to find his wide receivers for touches, something he hadn’t frequently done in his first two games with Miami. Noles defensive coordinator Adam Fuller switched his 4-3 defense used in Week 1 against Georgia Tech and instead leaned on a three-man front to contain King from using his legs and instead take shots down the field.
As we know now, that execution failed miserably.
King made them pay.
The redshirt senior targeted 10 different players on completions, totaling 267 passing yards and 2 touchdowns, deserving of an 88.5 QBR. Prioritized was senior Mike Harley Jr., who had 7 catches for 53 yards. King ultimately connected with Dee Wiggins and his tight end Jordan for scores early in the first half.
King and the Canes had the chains rolling all night long, helping Miami put up 52 points in the victory, the most scored in series history against the Seminoles.
“[FSU] played a completely different defense in the first half of the game then they played in the opener,” head coach Manny Diaz said. “Instead of a four-down team they went to be a three-down team, played it to a different coverage look. Very similar to what UAB did, … all of a sudden, you got the game plan and you got to adjust on the fly.”
In hindsight, not only did Miami get a blowout victory at home, but they’ve garnered the confidence needed to take on the No. 1 ranked Clemson Tigers two weeks from now.
“For those kids to not panic, for our staff to not panic and give us a chance to have the performance we had in the first half [despite] basically going blind on what they were doing, I thought was really impressive and gives us a lot of confidence going forward,” Diaz said.
Like UAB and Louisville, the Seminoles were unable to force King to commit a turnover. Instead, it generated the same ‘it’ factor he’s showcased for UM’s offensive early on.
“I think the offense is made for that,” King said. “It’s made to hit the open guy. We’re not into ‘we got to get the ball to this guy this many times a game,’ so we just got to keep spreading the ball around and everyone’s got to keep getting better.”
As both teams move on, it’ll leave a negative mark on the likes of FSU and a sight to a glooming road ahead for Miami, as they once again dominate the long-time rivalry.