How does Miami Hurricanes defense matchup with Wisconsin Offense?

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - NOVEMBER 18: Ahmmon Richards
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - NOVEMBER 18: Ahmmon Richards /

There has been a lot of speculation on how the Miami Hurricanes front seven will matchup with Wisconsin’s big offensive line and powerful running game. These are the same questions we heard before the Miami Hurricanes played Notre Dame.

In their victory over Notre Dame, the Miami Hurricanes held the nation’s seventh-best rushing offense to just 109 yards on 36 carries. Notre Dame entered the November 11 game third in the nation on the ground.

Wisconsin enters the Orange Bowl 21st nationally in rushing offense. They average 229 yards per game and 5.09 yards per carry. Notre Dame averages 279 and 6.37 YPC. Take out the game against the Hurricanes and Notre Dame’s average goes up to 294 yards per game.

The Badgers running game had trouble against the two best teams that they played this season. Northwestern held Wisconsin to 109 yards on 37 carries for an average of 2.9 yards per carry. Ohio State stymied the Badgers running game even more. Wisconsin had 60 yards on 32 carries in the Big Ten Championship game.

Northwestern was able to come back against Wisconsin after trailing 33-10 but ultimately lost 33-24. Ohio State defeated the Badgers 27-21 in the Big Ten Championship game.

Miami’s run defense took a step back this season. After allowing 133.1 yards per game and 3.1 yards per carry in 2016, the Hurricanes have allowed 147.5 yards per game and 3.6 YPC this season.

The Miami run defense has improved significantly in the second half of the season. After allowing four or more yards per carry in the five of the first six games this season, the Miami Hurricanes have allowed less than four yards per carry in their last six games.

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  • Shutting down the Badgers running game is the biggest key to the defense’s success. Miami has to try and make Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook beat them.

    Hornibrook’s stat line against the Buckeyes reads like many of Malik Rosier’s this season. He was 19-40 for 288 yards no touchdowns, two interceptions and an 86.1 quarterback rating.

    Hornibrook was susceptible to the interception this season. He threw 21 touchdowns to 12 interceptions this season. Rosier has 25 and 11. Three of Hornibrook’s INTs were returned for touchdowns. Two of those were against Iowa’s Joshua Jackson.

    Running back Jonathan Taylor makes the Wisconsin running game go. He finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy voting this season. Taylor ran for 1,846 yards and 13 touchdowns. He averages 6.8 yards per carry. Hornibrook isn’t a threat to run. He finished with a negative rushing total this season. Bradrick Shaw and Garret Groshek back up Taylor.

    Next: How can the Miami Hurricanes offense exploit Wisconsin's defense

    Tighe end Troy Fumagalli led Wisconsin with 43 receptions for 516 yards. Quintez Cephus led the Badgers with six touchdown receptions. Cephus, Danny Davis and A.J. Taylor all average had over 20 receptions and averaged over 16 yards per catch.