Miami football third downs vastly improved in win over UAB

MIAMI, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 14: (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 14: (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

A complete turnaround on third down from last season by the Miami football team played a huge role in the season-opening victory over UAB.

The Miami football team finished 129th out of 130 FBS teams in third-down conversions on offense in 2019. Miami was vastly improved on both sides of the ball on third down in their season-opening 31-14 victory over UAB on Thursday night. Miami finished 7-17 on third downs on offense while holding UAB to 3-15.

The Miami football team converted 44 out of 162 third-down attempts in 2019 for 27.16 percent. Only Akron who was 0-12 in 2019 was worse. The Hurricanes converted 41.18 percent which is currently ninth out of the 15 FBS teams that have played in 2020.

Georgia and Nebraska tied for 50 last season converting 41.18 percent of their third-down conversions on offense. While there is definitely room for improvement, 41.18 percent is respectable. Miami plays Louisville next Saturday. The Hurricanes defeated the Cardinals 52-27 in 2019 and were 5-10 on third down.

While the Miami defense was not nearly as dismal on third down as the offense was in 2019, the Hurricanes performance on third down was elite against UAB. UAB had five drives that went three and out against Miami and three others with five plays that ending with a punt. The Blazers punted 11 times against Miami.

Miami finished 42nd nationally in 2019 holding opponents to 37.13 percent on third downs. The 20 percent success rate for UAB on third down on Thursday night would have led the country by over seven percent in 2019. Head coach Manny Diaz spoke about the defensive effort.

"“I thought our guys really looked relentless. There’s some things, again, we have to correct, but I thought those three-and-outs in the first half allowed our offense to get the ball back and those snaps just start wearing down on the opposition. You could just see that cumulative effect of the snaps and the tempo in this humidity.”"

Keeping up the intensity on third-downs on offense and defense will impact the entire team. Continuing a drive offensively converting third downs demoralize a defense and as Diaz said the three and outs the Miami defense constantly forced allowed the offense with their up-tempo to get back on the field.

The UAB defense was exhausted in the third quarter. Miami held the ball for 9:44. Time of possession is not going to be a concern for the Hurricanes in the new up-tempo, Rhett Lashlee led offense. Rushing for 337 yards against UAB the time of possession edge was a benefit.

Next. Miami 2020 game-by-game preview. dark

Miami had an edge of just less than two minutes in time of possession for the game. The uptempo style by the Miami offense should pay dividends later in games on third down. As teams get tired the offense should continue to be more effective in the second half. The running game for Miami should be a strength throughout 2020.