Miami football versus Appalachian State: Special teams could be key

Aug 24, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA;Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 24, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA;Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami football team might be able to take advantage of sloppy Appalachian State special teams when they meet on Saturday night at Hard Rock Stadium. Appalachian State had a dropped snap on a punt, a poor snap on an extra point and a muffed punt in its 33-19 victory over East Carolina last week.

The Mountaineers also had inconsistent punting from Xavier Subotsch who averaged 39.5 yards. Chandler Stanton was efficient for Appalachian State making field goals from 21 and 43 yards and connecting on all three of his extra points. Miami will have to contain Jalen Vigil who had three punt returns for 74 yards.

The Miami football team has one of the best kicking tandems in college football. Louis Hedley averaged 47.2 yards per punt against Alabama. Freshman kicker Andres Borregales made 28 and 37-yard field goals and both of his extra points. Borregales averaged 63.67 yards with two of his three kickoffs going for touchbacks.

Appalachian State was stout on returns. East Carolina kick returner Tyler Sneed had four kickoff returns for 75 yards and one punt return for three. Miami did not have a kick or punt return against Alabama. Crimson Tide punter James Burnip averaged only 31 yards on two punts. Eight of Alabama’s nine kickoffs were touchbacks.

Miami needs more production on kick returns than it had in 2020. Tyrique Stevenson is the Hurricanes’ first-team punt returner and backed up by Xavier RestrepoMike Harley and Restrepo are the first-team kick returners backed up by Keyshawn Smith and starting cornerback Te’Cory Couch.

Miami finished 59th nationally in 2020 averaging 20.55 yards per kickoff return. The Hurricanes were 123rd in punt returns last season averaging 2.2 yards per return. Manny Diaz frequently talks about flipping the field. Miami was able to do that last season setting an FBS record in net punting.

Next. Miami Appalachian State injury game and broadcast info. dark

The flip side of that is being able to flip the field by gaining extra yards in returns. Hidden yards on returns can often be the difference in winning a game. If Miami can force Appalachian State to commit more miscues on special teams the Hurricanes will make it difficult for the Mountaineers to have a chance to win.