Press Credential: What to Watch For

Usually you can throw out the records when Florida State and Miami renew their classic rivalry, but here are some things to watch for Saturday, courtesy of the NoleDigest.com weekly Press Credential.

Florida State is hunting its fifth consecutive win of the season and fifth in a row against Atlantic Coast Conference opposition. The Seminoles won five consecutive games in 2010, Jimbo Fisher's first season as head coach. FSU last won five consecutive ACC games during the 2003 season. ...

FSU quarterback E.J. Manuel, who has 13 career starts and 26 appearances on his résumé, will make his first start against Miami. He hopes to follow in the footsteps of Christian Ponder, who defeated Miami in his first shot as a starter. ...

Manuel has no shortage of weapons at his disposal, especially through the air. A total of 10 Seminoles with at least five receptions on the year are averaging better than 10.5 yards per reception. No team in the nation has more receivers averaging 10.5 yards per reception with a minimum of five. ...

Mark Stoops' FSU defense has instituted a "No Running Zone" policy. The Seminoles rank third nationally in rushing defense, yielding just 78.9 yards per game. FSU has limited seven of its nine opponents to fewer than 100 yards, including each of the last four weeks. Miami's Lamar Miller will test that rush defense. He eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing on the year last week against Duke. ...

Florida State has spent much of the season ranked among the bottom 20 teams in turnover margin. The Seminoles are making a late push to reverse that trend. Since turning the ball over five times without forcing a turnover in a loss at Wake Forest, FSU is winning the turnover battle. The 'Noles have a 9-5 edge in turnover ratio over the course of their four-game winning streak. ...

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Punter Shawn Powell continues to make special contributions to the field-position game, with help from the coverage units. Powell averaged 49.0 yards on his four punts against Boston College, including two that pinned the Eagles inside the 20. He also had a 46.5 net punting average. Powell leads the ACC in punting (45.8), and the Seminoles rank fourth nationally in net punting with a 41.7 average. ...

Senior linebacker Nigel Bradham and senior cornerback Mike Harris are waging a season-long battle for the distinction of leading the Seminoles in tackles. Bradham regained the team lead with seven stops at Boston College, pushing his season total to 52. Harris is now four back with 48 on the year. Bradham is bidding to become the first Seminole to lead the team in tackles for three consecutive seasons since Marvin Jones (1990-92). ...

FSU's pass rush continues to produce at an impressive clip, with contributions coming from a variety of people. The 'Noles rank fifth nationally in sacks with 30 on the season. FSU has 12 different players contributing to that total, led by Bjoern Werner (6.0), Cornellius Carradine (4.0) and Brandon Jenkins (3.5). FSU also ranks 14 nationally in tackles for loss with 68.5 on the year.


John Crist is the editor-in-chief of NoleDigest.com, a Heisman Trophy voter and a member of the Football Writers Association of America.


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