NCAA Football: Louisville/Miami-Fla Preview

by Big Al Staff

The prime-time game on ABC TV on Saturday is an ACC clash between Miami and Louisville at 7:30 PM ET. The Hurricanes enter this clash ranked 17th in the nation while the Cardinals are just being them with their 18th national ranking.

Miami won their opening game of the season on September 10th in a 31-14 victory at home against UAB where they were 15.5-point favorites. This was the debut of quarterback D’Eriq King for the Hurricanes after he transferred from Houston in the offseason.

Second-year head coach Manny Diaz identified the Miami offense as the area that needed the most improvement after last year’s disappointing 6-7 campaign that ended in a 14-0 shutout loss to Louisiana Tech in the Independence Bowl. Upgrading the quarterback position was one step to address this problem. The second significant move that Diaz made was to hire Rhett Lashlee from SMU as the new offensive coordinator to install his up-tempo spread offense. Lashlee is a Gus Malzahn disciple who coached the high-scoring offense for the Mustangs in the last two seasons.

Miami looked more prolific on offense last week against the Blazers as they generated 492 yards of offense in the victory. King completed 15 of 23 passes for 141 yards while adding another 83 yards on the ground from 12 carries. The Hurricanes rushed for an eye-popping 337 yards against UAB last week.

The Miami faithful has to be encouraged how this new-look offense will gel with what appears to be another stout defensive unit. The boxscore reads that the Blazers managed only 295 yards. Going beyond the numbers, UAB had only drive that gained more than 34 yards.

Louisville looks to build on their 8-5 record last season in the first year of head coach Scott Satterfield. The former Appalachian State head coach was awarded the ACC Coach of the Year by overseeing a six-win improvement over the Cardinals’ record in 2018.

Louisville picked up where they left off last Saturday when they defeated Western Kentucky as a 13.5-point favorite in their opening game of the season. The Cardinals are also excited about the possibilities with their quarterback as Malik Cunningham completed 19 of 34 passes for 343 yards while leading an offense that gained 487 total yards. Louisville’s offense was explosive against the Hilltoppers with four plays that gained 40 or more yards.

The final score indicates that the Cardinals allowed three touchdowns but a closer look beyond the 248 yards that Western Kentucky gained tells a better story for the Louisville defense. The Hilltoppers had two touchdown drives of one and four yards after the Cardinals had one punt blocked while another punt attempt ended with the snap dropped by the punter.

Miami won the meeting between these two teams last year when they handed Louisville a 52-27 loss at Hard Rock Stadium on November 9th. The Hurricanes were 7-point favorites in that game with the total set at 50. BookMaker has the Cardinals installed as a 2.5-point favorite with an over/under of 64.5. 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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