Miami Hurricanes will be challenged by Virginia quarterback run

Oct 11, 2019; Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 11, 2019; Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami Hurricanes defense will be challenged on the ground by Virginia quarterbacks.

Virginia will likely be without starting quarterback Brennan Armstrong when they play the Miami Hurricanes at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday. The Cavaliers will likely use a QB by committee that has the potential to challenge the Miami defense running the football. Virginia QBs were successful running against Wake Forest.

The Cavaliers lost 40-23 to the Demon Deacons last week. Virginia QBs had 19 carries for 124 yards and a rushing touchdown in the loss. Armstrong is second on Virginia with 130 rushing yards and a TD. Lindell Stone, Ira Armstead and Keytaon Thompson all received snaps against Wake Forest.

Stone is the primary passer for Virginia with Armstrong out. Stone has played in all four Virginia games this season. The stats for Stone and Armstrong are nearly identical passing. Miami is not likely to have to be concerned with Armstong. Stone is 55-97 for a 56.7 completion percent for 426 and an anemic 4.4 yards per attempt.

Stone has three TD passes and three interceptions with six carries for 20 yards. Armstead and Thompson are far greater threats running than Stone. Armstead and Thompson were primarily used as wide receivers before the loss to Wake Forest. Virginia will switch between all three QBs on the same drive.

"“That was the intent, is we thought, what the intent is, and being a defensive coach matching up and adjusting to different tempos, different styles even within the same drive. It’s a challenge.And so I thought we did a very strong job of rotating the different players we had within drives and within the game, to use the skill sets that they have to help move the football and keep the opponent off balance. I love the run game results. I love the time of possession results.I love the different kinds of approaches that we used. And so, yes it was chaotic, but it was by design. And I actually endorse that because of being on the other side. Once it becomes rhythmical and once it becomes predictable, I think it’s actually easier to defend. So my answer is I liked it.”"

Virginia head coach Bronco Mendenhall seems committed to QB by committee as long as Armstrong is out. Thompson is a Mississippi State transfer who is far more adept as a runner than a passer. Thompson has only had four games in his career attempting more than four passes.

As the starting QB at Mississippi State in 2017 and 2018 Thompson had three straight 100 yard games. Thompson ran 10 times for 71 yards and a TD against Wake Forest. Armstead had six carries for 46 yards and a TD against the Demon Deacons and was 1-3 for nine yards. The Miami Hurricanes defense has to be ready.

Miami has only really been tested twice this season by QBs running. Jordan Travis had seven carries for 52 yards against Miami for Florida State. Travis also had an ill-advised interception after receiving the ball on a reverse when he was lined up at wide receiver. Clemson QBs combined for 12 carries for 54 yards versus Miami.

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The Miami defense has to be ready for the different looks that Virginia will show them offensively. Virginia’s formations will not be as simple as a pass with Stone at QB or a run with Thompson or Armstead. Armstead is the true dual-threat QB. Thompson can hurt a defense as a runner even if they know it’s coming.