Ball security will be key objective for FSU Football at Miami
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FSU determined to reverse turnover trend against ball-hawking UM defense

The bling gets much of the attention, but Florida State offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham says there is some substance behind the style of Miami's "Turnover Chain."

And if the Seminoles are going to pull off the upset this Saturday -- UM is an 11-point favorite for the 7:30 p.m. matchup on ABC -- they'll have to avoid some of the critical miscues that have hurt them in three straight losses to their in-state rivals.

"The teams that turn the ball over lose. The teams that own the ball win," said Dillingham, who is expected to be FSU's primary play-caller this weekend with head coach Mike Norvell self-isolating after testing positive for COVID-19.

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FSU running back La'Damian Webb tries to avoid a defender during the season opener against Georgia Tech.
FSU running back La'Damian Webb tries to avoid a defender during the season opener against Georgia Tech. (Courtesy of FSU Sports Information)

In losses to Miami during the 2017, '18 and '19 seasons, Florida State has coughed up six turnovers while gaining just three.

Those haven't been the only reasons the Seminoles have lost those games, but they haven't helped. The most significant impact came during FSU's last trip to South Florida, when the 'Noles held a 27-7 lead in the third quarter before essentially handing UM the opportunity to get back in the game.

First, former quarterback Deondre Francois was strip-sacked deep in FSU territory to set up one touchdown. Then Francois was intercepted on the second play of the next drive, setting the Hurricanes up for another easy score.

Within moments, a 20-point lead had nearly evaporated, and the Hurricanes would go on to record a 28-27 victory.

"They've been one of the best defenses in college football since Coach (Manny) Diaz has been there," Dillingham said. "They do a great job on the defensive side of the ball. They're attacking, but they don't let up the big play. I think that's something they've done a great job of over the years -- they create the big play, but they don't give up the big play."

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