The Miami Hurricanes are wasting a championship level defense

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 22: 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 22: 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

The Miami Hurricanes defense is playing at a level that the U has not seen since at least 2002 and maybe earlier. They have been dominant since the second half of the season-opening loss to LSU.

The Miami Herald’s beat writer for the Miami Hurricanes Susan Miller Degnan dug into the numbers for a defense that has put up numbers that should have the U in the race for the College football playoff as they were last season

Miami leads the nation in total defense is in the top five in several other categories and “They’re No. 1 in tackles for loss, No. 1 in third-down conversion defense, No. 2 in passing yards allowed, No. 3 in turnovers gained, No. 5 in team sacks, No. 5 in defensive touchdowns, No. 5 in interceptions and No. 11 in rushing defense.”

After a rough first half in which they allowed 20 points to LSU (the Tigers defense scored seven of their 27 first-half points), the most the Miami Hurricanes defense has allowed in a game is 24 against Toledo. Florida State scored 27 points but seven of those came on a punt return.

In the six and a half games since the first half against the Tigers, the Miami Hurricanes defense is allowing 14.3 points per game. In college football that should be good enough for an unbeaten season. In that same time span, the defense has scored three touchdowns and the special teams added one on a blocked punt.

In their six games against FBS teams, this season the offense is averaging 27.3 points per game. The numbers shrink even more to 21 points per game against Power Five teams. With the way the Miami defense is playing that should be enough.

The three touchdowns scored by the Miami defense against North Carolina make up 20 percent of the points Miami has scored in their four games against Power Five opponents this season.

The animosity that can develop in a locker room when one unit is doing its job and another isn’t can divide a team. Miller Degnan spoke some of the members of the Miami Hurricanes defense to see how they feel about the inconsistencies of the offense this season.

Senior Safety Jaquan Johnson is leading Miami in tackles for the second straight season despite missing 2.5 games with a hamstring injury. He spoke with Miller Degnan about the Hurricanes loss to Virginia.

"“Definitely, a tough one to sit on…probably a blessing… we don’t get to go right back into battle. I think the wait has awoken us even more. We haven’t lost since LSU. This is a reminder: Don’t ever forget that feeling…Losing is terrible. It’s a bad feeling…”"

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Junior linebacker Shaq Quarterman says they have to focus on what the defense can control. Quarterman reiterated Johnson’s points to the Herald.

"““I agree with Jaquan,’’ Quartertman said. “It definitely sucks to lose anymore. I think going into this bye week with it is going to stick with us. We have to walk on campus. We have to walk in Miami. We have to own it.”As a defense we control what we can control,…it doesn’t matter who’s at quarterback. The Miami defense is out there regardless. The points that we gave up were just honestly too much to begin with. They shouldn’t have scored. They shouldn’t have done any of that. So, it doesn’t matter…’’"

Many points can be made that Miami not only has the best defense in the country but at the very least one of the best in school history. That saying a lot from a program that has four players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and fifth, Ed Reed likely to be enshrined in 2019.

Gerald Willis is on pace for a record-setting season at defensive tackle. Two of those four Miami Hurricanes alums in PHoF are defensive tackles Corte Kennedy and Warren Sapp.

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Miami’s dream of contending for a College Football Playoff berth ended Saturday in Charlottesville. The rest of the goals set at the beginning of the season are still obtainable, albeit with some help. Miami needs Virginia to lose once to have a chance at repeating their title in the ACC Coastal Division.