Ground and Pound: FSU run game has been key to success vs. Miami
During its reign over rival Miami during the last decade, one of the consistent keys to Florida State's success has been its explosive rushing attack.
Since Jimbo Fisher arrived in Tallahassee as offensive coordinator in 2007, the Seminoles have averaged 187.8 yards per game on the ground against Miami. FSU has run for 150 yards or more in seven of the 10 matchups and averaged 4.9 yards per carry overall.
The Seminoles have scored 21 rushing touchdowns in those games, and they've won eight of 10, including all seven since Fisher took over as head coach.
With true freshman quarterback James Blackman still getting comfortable as the starter, the run game could be crucial for the Seminoles (1-2, 1-1 ACC) again on Saturday. No. 13 Miami (3-0, 1-0) ranks 17th in the country in scoring defense, allowing just 16.3 points per game and only 129.7 yards rushing per game.
Fisher said it’s one of the better Hurricane defenses he’s seen during his tenure at FSU.
“The way their front is playing, [Joe] Jackson and [Chad] Thomas and them outside, [Kendrick] Norton inside, all those guys, the three linebackers are doing a heck of a job,” Fisher said. “It's definitely one of them. They're a really good defense. They really are.”
The Seminoles' ground game was one of the few positives for the offense in Saturday's 26-19 win at Wake Forest. FSU finished with 143 yards rushing on 43 carries, and that was after sacks and other negative plays were deducted from the total.
Junior Jacques Patrick carried it 19 times for 120 yards and a 1-yard touchdown run. Freshman Cam Akers ran 14 times for 58 yards.
Patrick’s day was buoyed by a 69-yard run from the FSU 1-yard line. The junior averaged 6.3 yards per carry and was the physical presence the offense needed against a Wake Forest defense that traditionally has given the Seminoles’ run game fits.
“Jacques was outstanding in the game, I mean, catching the ball out of the backfield, blocking, picking up blitzes, running with authority, running physical,” Fisher said. “That goal-line run he made down there, I mean, pushing the pile. And I'm going to tell you, you didn't notice on those screens, being tackled about seven yards deep on a third-and-9 or -10 and taking his body and running through tackles and getting that extra (yard). I thought he was outstanding in the game.”
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