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Notes: Matthews confident in 1-on-1 matchups vs. ‘Canes

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Florida State’s passing game is statistically one of the nation’s best as the Seminoles have thrown for 277 yards per game, ranking 29th in the FBS.

But peek behind just those numbers and there have been a number of moving parts in what have been some positive games as well as a few lackluster performances. Among those are the usage of two quarterbacks, who have been up and down, injuries along the offensive line and the loss of receivers Keyshawn Helton and Ontaria Wilson to season-ending injuries.

FSU receiver D.J. Matthews is confident that FSU will find success against Miami’s secondary even though the Hurricanes have allowed on average 194.9 passing yards per game (32nd in the FBS). When asked what’s challenging about Miami’s defensive backs, he responded “nothing.”

Matthews was then asked if it’s just a matter of winning one-on-one matchups.

“Yeah,” Matthews said. “They like to play man-to-man coverage. I ain’t really seen nothing too much on film. You know, it’s Miami. It’s what they’re going to do (play man coverage).”

The Hurricanes have five interceptions this season, including two by cornerback D.J. Ivey in a win at Pittsburgh last week.

Matthews has 25 catches for 229 yards and a touchdown and he’s a challenging one-on-one cover. He’s made some acrobatic catches, including one along the sideline against Syracuse where he got a foot down inbounds before hitting the ground.

He was asked on Tuesday if it was one of his better catches, and Matthews smiled.

“I think it was a better route,” Matthews said. “I don’t know where the other defender was. He might have been on the other hashes.”

Matthews, like a large portion of the FSU roster, has lost two straight games to the Hurricanes and doesn’t have a win against the rival. For a Jacksonville native, like Matthews, it’s vital to get a win on Saturday.

“It would mean a lot,” Matthews said. “Since I’ve been here, we haven’t won a state championship. You always play for state titles when you come to Florida State. It would be big for us, especially my class.”

McKitty, the receiver

Tight end Tre’ McKitty has been widely praised for his improved blocking in his junior season. It’s shown, especially in the run game.

But McKitty has had two good receiving games, too. He caught four passes for 40 yards in the win over Syracuse and five passes for 44 yards in the loss at Wake Forest the last two weeks.

“Sometimes I feel like I don’t get to show that. People don’t think I’m that athletic… But I am (laughs).”

Injury update

FSU linebacker Dontavious Jackson had his left hand heavily wrapped. Jackson missed FSU’s game against Syracuse.

Offensive tackle Abdul Bello also had his right had wrapped.

Inside the numbers

Akers has forced five missed tackles in seven of eight games this year, according to Pro Football Focus. Syracuse was credited with seven missed tackles against the junior tailback, PFF noted.

Some other good numbers from PFF: Syracuse threw toward receivers that Stanford Samuels III was covering 13 times but he allowed just four receptions for 25 yards. The complete PFF breakdown of the top ACC players can be found here.

Akers, Wilson named semifinalists for national awards

Akers is a semifinalist for the Maxwell Award, given to the Collegiate Player of the Year, while junior defensive tackle Marvin Wilson is a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award for the Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year. Both awards are presented by the Maxwell Football Club.

Akers, from Clinton, Miss., ranks in the Top 10 nationally with 917 rushing yards, 114.6 rush yards per game, 15 total touchdowns and 12 rushing touchdowns. He currently ranks in Florida State’s Top 10 in career rushing yards with 2,647 and 25 career rushing touchdowns.

Wilson, from Houston, leads ACC defensive linemen with 41 tackles, including 7.5 tackles for loss and 5.0 sacks. He has added three pass breakups, a fumble recovery and forced a fumble in 2019.

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