Both Michigan and Florida State had National Championship aspirations this season, and although they didn’t reach the ultimate goal, they will have a lot to play for in the Orange Bowl.
The Seminoles had an up and down season in which they were trounced early on by Louisville 63-20, and then suffered close losses to North Carolina and Clemson, finishing the regular season 9-3.
Despite Michigan having a better record, this is a fairly evenly matched affair, and should be a good game.
By The Numbers
Total Defense: FSU 29th - Michigan 2nd
Total Offense: FSU 23rd - Michigan 46th
Red Zone Defense: FSU 27th - Michigan 2nd
Rushing Offense: FSU 38th - Michigan 30th
Team Sacks: FSU 1st - Michigan 2nd
Players To Watch
RB Dalvin Cook:
How Cook performs will be a huge factor in the outcome of the game. The junior running back is the only ACC player ever to rush for 4,000 yards in just three seasons. With excellent speed, vision, and shiftiness, Cook is a force to be reckoned with. On the season, Cook rushed for 1,620 yards, had 19 total touchdowns, and two games with over 100 receiving yards.
WR Travis Rudolph:
The number one target in the passing game, Rudolph hauled in 53 receptions for 807 yards and seven touchdowns.
DE’s DeMarcus Walker and Brian Burns;
Walker leads the nation with 15 sacks, and Burns leads all freshman with 8.5 (and missed three games). Michigan will have to protect Wilton Speight from this onslaught.
CB Tarvarus McFadden
Another leader in a statistic nationally, McFadden leads with 8 interceptions.
Florida State has a good amount of weapons to use against Michigan, and that could make for a challenging game. When it comes to depth, Michigan has more on both sides of the ball. More ways to beat a teams defense, and more ways to stop a teams offense. The two most important aspects will be stopping Dalvin Cook. If he starts breaking off sizeable runs, that could really open up the FSU offense. Secondly, Michigan needs to run the ball effectively. Although their CB McFadden is a fine corner, their secondary is weak as a whole and can be exposed, the strength of FSU’s defense is up front. Michigan will have to win the battle in the trenches on both sides of the football to win.