Miami football faces three top running backs next two weeks

Sep 4, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 4, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami football team faces three running backs ranked in the top 50 nationally in rushing yards per game in their next two games. Miami Northwestern alum Nate Noel is 21st nationally in rushing yards per game and Camerun Peoples is 48th for Appalachian State after their 33-19 victory over East Carolina in week one.

Noel ran 15 times for 126 yards and Peoples had 14 carries for 100 yards and two touchdowns in the Mountaineers victory over the Pirates. Kenneth Walker of Michigan State who the Miami football team hosts next week ran 23 times for 264 yards and two TDs in the Spartans victory over Northwestern in their season opener.

Behind Noel and Peoples, Appalachian State ranks 33rd nationally averaging 226 rushing yards per game. The Mountaineers are 17th averaging nationally averaging 6.28 yards per carry. Noel is 47th averaging 8.4 YPC and Peoples 70th at 7.14. Walker is 11th at 11.48 YPC after week one.

Led by Walker, Michigan State is ninth after running for 326 yards against Northwestern. The Miami run defense showed great improvement over 2020 allowing Alabama to run for 147 yards. The Crimson Tide needed 38 carries to reach that number. Alabama averaged just 3.87 yards per carry.

Miami would have finished

39th nationally

last season allowing 3.87 yards per carry. The Hurricanes finished 81st in 2020 allowing 4.55 yards per carry. That included the 544-yard debacle against North Carolina. Tar Heels’ RBs Michael Carter and Javonte Williams both topped 200 yards rushing.

The insertion of Corey Flagg and Keontra Smith at linebacker provides Miami with more speed in the middle of their defense this season. If Miami can hold Appalachian State to 3.87 YPC, they will put a lot more pressure on the Mountaineer offense than Alabama and quarterback Bryce Young faced.

Playing for Duke last season, Miami held Brice to 20-25 for just 94 yards passing. Limiting Noel and Peoples would be impressive by the Hurricanes defense. Brice helped keep the Appalachian State offense balanced against East Carolina. The Pirates allowed Brice to go 20-27 for 259 yards, two TDs and one interception.

Walker exploded for Michigan State against Northwestern after rushing for exactly 579 yards in each of the last two seasons for Wake Forest. The Miami football game against Wake Forest last season was canceled due to COVID. Walker was a three-star signee with the Demon Deacons in the Class of 2019.

Miami needs improvement in red zone and third down. dark. Next

The Miami run defense will be challenged the next two weeks. Manny Diaz and his defensive staff will have a good idea how much the Hurricanes have improved stopping the run with how well they perform against Appalachian State and Michigan State. Flagg and Smith will be critical against the Mountaineers and Spartans.