Miami Hurricanes vs Syracuse Game Preview

MIAMI - NOVEMBER 15: Quarterback Brock Berlin
MIAMI - NOVEMBER 15: Quarterback Brock Berlin /

The Miami Hurricanes put their 5-0 record on the line as they host Syracuse on Saturday. The Orange come to Hard Rock Stadium off an upset victory over Clemson.

The Miami Hurricanes have been very fortunate to begin the season 5-0. Last second wins over Florida State and Georgia Tech showed the teams’ mettle the last two weeks.

The Hurricanes defeated the Seminoles on a last minute drive without their two best offensive players. Against the Yellow Jackets Miami was missing five starters.

Running back Travis Homer took over for former starter Mark Walton who is out for the season after ankle surgery. Homer ran for 170 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. He added 18 yards on two receptions.

The Hurricanes seem to be healthier than they were last week. The only other starter expected to miss the Syracuse game besides Walton is Senior cornerback Dee Delaney. Delaney injured his knee in the Florida State game.

Ahmmon Richards, Sheldrick Redwine and Navaughn Donaldson are all expected to return against Syracuse. Richards has missed three of five games this season with a hamstring injury suffered in training camp.

Syracuse is about as opposite offensively from Georgia Tech’s triple option as can be. Similar to Duke and Virgina Tech, the Orange run one of the nation’s highest-powered offenses in the country. They are second nationally averaging 87.8 plays per game.

Quarterback Eric Dungey is second in the ACC in passing. Wide receivers Steve Ismael and Ervin Phillips are first and third in the ACC in receiving. They top the ACC in receptions per game.

The Hurricanes are likely to have to take the approach of slowing the game down on Saturday. Miami is 80th out of 130 teams nationally in plays per game.

Despite almost 20 fewer plays per game, Miami is averaging more yards than Syracuse. The Hurricanes are second in the ACC averaging 472.8 yards per game. Syracuse is fifth at 463 yards per game.

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  • Both defenses have been middling this season. Syracuse is eighth in the conference allowing 351.9 yards per game. The Hurricanes are one spot behind allowing 363 yards per game.

    The Syracuse pass offense is going to be the biggest challenge of the season for a Miami secondary still trying to find itself. The Hurricanes allow 199 passing yards per game. That includes the game last week against Georgia Tech.

    The Yellow Jackets attempted only eight passes for 53 yards. Taking out the game against Georgia Tech, the Hurricanes allow an average of 235.5 yards per game. That would put Miami 12th in the ACC in pass defense.

    One of the biggest reasons for Syracuse’s improvement over 2016 is their defense.

    Linebacker Parris Bennett is undersized but ranks fourth in the ACC in tackles. He has also matched last season’s total with 6.5 tackles for loss. Defensive back Evan Foster is third on Syracuse in tackles, has a pick six and four passes defended.

    The Orange do not do a good job getting into an opponent’s backfield or protecting Dungey. Syracuse is 12th in the ACC with ten sacks in seven games. Florida State who has only played five games is one of the teams behind them with nine.

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    The game features one of the best defensive lines in the country against one of the most porous offensive lines. The Hurricanes are fourth nationally averaging 3.4 sacks per game. The Orange are 112th in the country in sacks allowed. Opposing defenses are averaging three sacks per game against the Orange.