Miami Hurricanes Need to Play Well on Special Teams and Key Downs

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - OCTOBER 21: Travis Homer /
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On the season the Miami Hurricanes defense has held opponents to 39.4 percent. That number drops to 33.9 percent when the first 18 attempts are taken out. That would boost Miami to a tie for 38th in the country.

Offensively Justin Fuente’s high powered offense has had their struggles on third down. The Hokies rank 55th nationally at 40.9 percent on third downs. Miami needs good penetration from its defensive front seven to create third and long situations for Virginia Tech.

The kicking and returns game will also be a key in the nationally televised game. Braxton Berrios has yet to break one to the house this season but has been one of the best punt returners in the nation.

He is averaging 16.3 yards on punt returns this season and is one of the surest-handed receivers on punts. As a team Miami in ninth in the country returning punts.

Berrios will face one of the nation’s best teams on punt coverage. Virginia Tech has allowed only four yards on four returns all season. Although Virginia Tech punter Oscar Bradburn averages only 40.3 yards per punt, he is among the ACC’s best in fair catches forced and punts inside the 20.