Miami football will face inefficient Virginia passing offense

Sep 26, 2020; Charlottesville, Virginia, USA; Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 26, 2020; Charlottesville, Virginia, USA; Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

After a 31-19 victory over Pittsburgh like weekend, the Miami football team faces an inefficient Virginia passing game on Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium.

Miami football hosts Virginia on Saturday with the Cavaliers potentially playing without starting quarterback Brennan Armstong. Even with Armstrong, Virginia has one of the most inefficient passing offenses in college football. Virginia is last in the ACC in passer rating and yards per attempt and 11th in completion percentage.

When solely looking at yards per game, Virginia ranks sixth in passing in the ACC 264.3 yards per game. Virginia leads the ACC by a wide margin and is second nationally averaging 49.75 passing attempts per game. The passing yards Virginia averages per game are deceiving in relation to their yards per attempt.

Virginia is 72nd out 77 teams in FBS with an average of 5.3 yards per attempt. The Cavaliers do not have the playmakers at wide receiver they have had recently. Running back Billy Kemp leads Virginia with 36 receptions and 316 receiving yards. Freshman wide receiver Lavel Davis is imposing at 6’7.

Davis has been a big-play receiver with nine receptions for 210 yards and three touchdowns. Most of that came in Virginia’s season-opening win against Duke. Davis had four receptions for 101 yards and a TD against the Blue Devils. With his size, expect the Miami cornerbacks to get help on Davis.

If Armstrong cannot play Saturday, junior Lindell Stone would likely be the starter and receive the majority of the snaps. Armstrong and Stone’s stats are nearly identical. Armstrong has completed 54 passes in 97 attempts for  596 Yds and five TDs. Stone is  55-97 for 426 Yds and three TDs

Freshman Ira Armstead and transfer Keytaon Thompson could also receive playing time against Miami but have participated minimally this season. Having to prepare for multiple QBs and the different skills they bring is a difficult task for the Miami defense. Head coach Manny Diaz discussed the challenge this week.

"“For another week we’re going to be facing an uncertainty in terms of who the starting quarterback is. Last week with Pitt it didn’t really change what they were going to do on offense. What Virginia has shown, they do really change who they are based on who their quarterback is.So, it’ll be a challenge for our defense to show their preparation and awareness during the game to see what were going to get because we really probably will not know until Saturday.”"

The Virginia QBs bring a different challenge than Bryce Perkins did last season when the Miami football team defeated Virginia 17-9. Perkins was 24-41 for 244 yards and ran 17 times for 27 yards. Armstrong is the most complete QB that Virginia has. As a dual-threat QB, Armstrong has 38 carries for 130 yards and three TDs.

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Stone has just six carries for 20 yards. Armstead and Thompson will test the Miami defense as a threat running but are not the passer that Armstrong or Stone are. Thompson has 10 carries for 71 yards this season and Armstead six for 46 and a TD. The Miami defense has to be ready for the unexpected from the Virginia offense.