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    Thursday, October 02, 2008

    Head To Head Matchup: Quarterback

    Both FSU and Miami will have quarterbacks that are young and inexperienced for the game on Saturday. For the Canes, it will be 6-1/210 pound redshirt freshman Robert Marve. Marve redshirted as a true freshman in 2007 and played on the scout team and was named Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year. He was Florida's Mr. Football in 2006 and a member of the Parade All-America team. He set Florida state single-season records in 2006, breaking Tim Tebow's marks for passing yards (4,380) and touchdowns (48), and broke a 31-year year old state record for completions (280).

    Marve did not play in the first game of the season against Charleston Southern due to a suspension. Through three games, he has thrown for 416 yards and 5 TDs. His completion percentage is almost 66% and he has thrown 3 interceptions through three games. He is ranked #6 in the ACC in passing. Against North Carolina this past Saturday, he threw for 135 yards and 2 TDs and had 2 interceptions.

    Backing up Marve is true freshman Jacory Harris who was the QB in the win against Charleston Southern. Marve is from time to time replaced by Harris. Some have said that it disrupts the flow of the offense and takes Marve out of rhythm. However, on Wednesday's ACC teleconference call, Miami head coach Randy Shannon dismissed the notion and indicated that he actually feels Marve's time on the bench is beneficial.

    The one thing that Miami is doing well is distributing the ball in its passing game. Against North Carolina, 11 different players caught passes for the Hurricanes. WR Kayne Farquharson, TB Graig Cooper, WR Thearon Collier and TE Dedrick Epps had three receptions each.

    Defensive matchup: Marve will be facing a tough Nole defense that leads the ACC in sacks with 13 on the season. Everette Brown leads the Nole defense in sacks with 3 and is ranked at number 3 in the ACC. The Noles also lead the ACC in tackles for a loss. The Noles are ranked #3 in the ACC in pass defense allowing 156.3yards a game through the air. The secondary has one interception for the season. The Nole secondary needs to tighten up and not allow the Canes any easy passes due to blown coverages. In the secondary, Tony Carter, Patrick Robinson, and Myron Rolle need to bring their "A" game against the Canes this week. Also, the Noles are now at full strength with the return of Dekoda Watson last week and defensive tackle Paul Griifin coming back this week.

    For Christian Ponder, this is only his fifth game as a starter for the Noles. This will unquestionably be the biggest game so far of his young career. Afer all, this is the FSU-Miami game. The luster may be off since these are two teams that are struggling to get back to the top but the intensity is always there no matter what their records. Hopefully Jimbo Fisher will have Ponder prepared for the game and especially have him mentally prepared. He cannot make foolish mistakes or turnovers.

    For the season, Ponder has 547 passing yards and 6 TDs. He has also thrown 4 interceptions. His pass completion percentage is slightly over 50%. Ponder is ranked #7 in the ACC in passing. Against Colorado, Ponder passed for 119 yards and 0 TDs. He also had one freak interception in the game.

    Backing up Ponder is D'Vontrey Richardson who may be in the game early if Ponder cannot execute. The question is will Ponder and/or Richardson be able to exploit what some are calling a vulnerable Hurricane secondary. There is no question that Ponder and Richardson have receivers capable of making big plays but will they be able to make the reads to exploit the Cane secondary?

    Defensive matchup: Ponder will be facing a tough Cane defense. The Miami defense has 9 sacks and ranks #5 in the ACC in sacks. Miami defensive lineman Eric Mocur has 2 sacks along with linebacker Spencer Adkins. They also are #3 in the ACC with tackles for a loss. The one area that is a question mark is their pass defense. The Canes are ranked #10 in the ACC in pass defense allowing 218 yards a game and 8 TDs through the air. In order to try and improve those stats, head coach Randy Shannon has hinted that there could be some changes in the secondary this week.

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