Setting The Tone

Miami's vaunted front seven was pounded by the running of Florida State tailback <b>Greg Jones</b> last season. Jones rushed for 134 of his 189 yards in the first half as the Seminoles took a 17-14 halftime lead. FSU finished with 296 rushing yards on 52 carries but it still wasn't enough to overcome UM, which rallied for 14 fourth-quarter points and a 28-27 victory. FSU, of course, looks to erase last year's memory, and Jones could again play a key role in the Seminoles' plans.

Miami's vaunted front seven was pounded by the running of Florida State tailback Greg Jones last season.

Jones rushed for 134 of his 189 yards in the first half as the Seminoles took a 17-14 halftime lead. FSU finished with 296 rushing yards on 52 carries but it still wasn't enough to overcome UM, which rallied for 14 fourth-quarter points and a 28-27 victory.

The Hurricanes improved their record to 7-0 in one-point games against the Seminoles.

Fifth-ranked FSU (5-0), of course, hopes to end its frustration against the second-ranked Hurricanes (5-0) next Saturday in Doak Campbell Stadium.

Off today, the Seminoles are enjoying a long, quiet weekend.

UM, meanwhile, is probably still recovering from Thursday's dramatic victory West Virginia. The Hurricanes needed a last-minute field goal from Jon Peattie to escape from the Orange Bowl with the hair on their chinny-chin-chin.

UM didn't escape totally unscathed, however.

Tailback Frank Gore will miss the rest of the season with a torn ligament in his left knee. Gore, the team's leading rusher with 89 carries for 468 yards, injured his knee on a 12-yard run in the first quarter. Tests Friday revealed a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Senior Jarrett Payton, the 6-2, 220-pound son of former NFL all-time rusher Walter Payton, will take over as the No. 1 tailback with his first start against the Seminoles. UM coaches probably will shift senior receiver Jason Geathers, a former runner, to tailback as well.

FSU, meanwhile, could be back at full strength at tailback for this game, giving the Seminoles their first real opportunity to establish the running game if needed.

Will Jones enjoy a repeat performance from a year ago?

Jones has been effective has he continues this recovery from reconstructive knee surgery. However, he should benefit greatly from the expected return of Leon Washington and Lorenzo Booker.

The pair gives FSU added quickness and versatility, especially in the passing game. That diversity should also help Jones against an UM rush defense that ranks fourth (133.6 yards per game) in the Big East.

"As far as running the ball, there's no question -- Miami to me would love nothing more than to be able to sit back this entire ballgame in a two-deep shell and control the line of scrimmage with their front-seven," FSU offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden said.

"We haven't gone into a game where we have said, ‘We're going to establish the run as a priority,' I don't think once this year. That attitude may have to change going into this game -- and maybe not. It's not that you're going to change your whole game plan or your whole way of thinking. You're going to still try to create ways to move the ball down field."

West Virginia rushed for 170 yards on 37 carries Thursday, with Quincy Wilson (20-99 yards) providing most of the damage. Quarterback Rasheed Marshall threw for 200 yards and a 33-yard touchdown strike against a Hurricanes unit that ranked first in the conference in pass defense.

UM also suffered a devastating injury in the secondary -- strong safety Maurice Sykes went down with a knee sprain.

If given the chance, however, the Seminoles would love nothing more than to establish their running game against the ‘Canes. And who better than to lead that charge than Jones, who enjoyed a big game against UM in the Orange Bowl.

"Greg's got the mindset that he wants the ball," FSU center David Castillo said.

"Greg's a great competitor and he's wanted the ball the whole season. He feels like he's ready to go and we have all the confidence in the world in him. If it comes to the point where they're going to sit there and try to stop our passing game, we're going to throw Greg at them, throw (Lorenzo) Booker at them, throw Leon (Washington) at them. We've got a lot of weapons and we're going to have to use them this year."


Nole Digest Top Stories