Miami football: Big plays critical against Alabama

Dec 5, 2020; Durham, North Carolina, USA;. Mandatory Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 5, 2020; Durham, North Carolina, USA;. Mandatory Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports /

Creating and limiting big plays will be critical for the Miami football team in the season opener on September 4 against Alabama. The Crimson Tide led the country in 2020 with plays over 10 and 20 yards. Alabama had 268 plays of 10 yards or more in 2020. North Carolina who Miami travels to on October 16 was second with 255.

Miami was 20th with 175 plays of 10 or more yards in 2020 and tied for 21st with 60 plays of 20 or more yards. Alabama and North Carolina tied with Florida for first nationally with 68 plays of 20 more yards. The Crimson Tide was susceptible to big plays defensively in 2020. Alabama allowed 168 plays of 10 or more yards in 2020.

The Crimson Tide was 12th out of 14 teams in the SEC in plays allowed of 10 or more yards. Alabama finished in the bottom half of the SEC in big plays allowed by most measures. The Miami football team needs to improve defensively against Alabama limiting big plays than it had in marquee games last season.

The Hurricanes were in the bottom half of the ACC in big plays allowed in 2020 by the majority of measures beginning at 10 yards. That cannot happen against Alabama and the Miami offense needs to generate big plays. Clemson had four players with runs of 10 yards or more against Miami in 2020.

Five Tigers receivers had at least one reception of 14 yards or more. Quarterback D’Eriq King was the only Miami player with a run of 10 or more yards against Clemson. Only three Miami receivers had a reception of 10 or more yards. North Carolina shredded the Miami defense more than any opponent in recent memory.

Miami allowed a sieve-like 16 carries of 10 or more yards in the loss to North Carolina in 2020. Thankfully Tar Heel running backs Michael Carter and Javonte Williams have moved on to the NFL. Quarterback Sam Howell added eight completions of 10 yards or more. The loss to North Carolina was out of hand quickly.

Alabama has the potential to do that to the Miami football team with a far more talented roster than UNC. If Miami can create big plays on both sides early in the game they can gain momentum. Chunk yardage plays on offense and turnover chain appearances on defense will be critical for Miami to have success against Alabama.

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Long drives are not the typical formula for pulling upsets. The addition of wide receiver Charleston Rambo to the Miami offense and head coach Manny Diaz resuming defensive play-calling should lead to bigger plays for the Hurricanes in 2021. Big plays will especially need to happen against Alabama.