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Miami-Florida State Preview Capsule

Thursday - 10/31/2013, 1:09pm  ET

The Associated Press

No. 7 Miami (7-0, 3-0 ACC) at No. 3 Florida State (7-0, 5-0), 8 p.m. EDT (ABC)

Line: Florida State by 22.

Series record: Miami 31-26.

WHAT'S AT STAKE

Championship aspirations. The Seminoles have been dominant in 2013 and are No. 3 in the BCS rankings. The "Cardiac Canes" needed some late-game heroics to get past North Carolina and Wake Forest, but they remain one of eight undefeated teams in major college football. Oh, and there's a little pride on the line between the intra-state rivals with friends on both sides and recruits watching closely.

KEY MATCHUP

The Hurricanes have to establish the run to have a chance against the No. 4 scoring defense in the FBS. Boston College ran for 200 yards on 45 carries against Florida State. The Eagles have been the only team to establish the run against the Seminoles and the only team to stay within 14 points. RB Duke Johnson is the focal point of the Miami offense with 117.6 yards rushing per game and six touchdowns. The Florida State run defense ranks No. 29 in nation, allowing 135.7 yards per game. Miami would love to control the clock and keep the Florida State offense on the sideline.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Miami: QB Stephen Morris cannot turn over the ball against the No. 1 pass defense in the country (153.7 yards per game). The Hurricanes want to establish Johnson, but Morris has to hold his own. He has the fourth-most career passing yards (6,329) in school history, but a 10-to-8 touchdown-to-interception ratio in 2013.

Florida State: NG Timmy Jerningan won't fill the box score with numbers, but he's the key to controlling the line of scrimmage. The 6-foot-2, 296-pounder plugs gaps and demands a double-team that allows linebackers Terrance Smith and Telvin Smith to chase ball carriers.

FACTS & FIGURES

Miami's No. 7 ranking is its highest since 2005. ... The Hurricanes needed a touchdown inside the final minute of the last two games to secure victories. ... Miami leads the nation with a 29.6 kickoff return average. ... The Seminoles have scored touchdowns on 54.2 percent of their drives, second-best in the country. ... Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston has thrown 23 touchdowns and four interceptions.


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