Miami football creating tempo offensively key versus Michigan State

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 11. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 11. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

For as good as Michigan State has been in 2021, the Spartans are just 113th nationally allowing its opponents to run 158 plays in two games. The Miami football team has run 138 plays on offense to rank 109th nationally. One of those facts will give on Saturday. Miami has to be able to assert the tempo offensively.

Northwestern ran 81 plays in a 38-21 loss to Michigan State in the season opener. Youngstown State had 77 plays on offense in its 42-14 loss to Michigan State last weekend. Miami ran only 63 plays against Alabama in the season opener. The Hurricanes were better last week with 74 offensive plays against Appalachian State.

Michigan State had 66 plays on offense against Northwestern and 66 against Youngstown State. The Spartans offense has been extremely efficient. Michigan State is coming to Miami without having played in the conditions forecast for Miami Gardens at noon Saturday. Gametime weather is forecast for 88 degrees.

There is also a 50 percent chance of rain at kickoff. Michigan State is short once defensive lineman with two others returning after sitting out last week. The Miami offense setting the tempo on Saturday is critical. Miami has to get much closer to the 74 plays last week than the 63 in the season opener.

Miami averaged 72.7 offensive plays per game in 2020. The game against Alabama was likely an aberration. Miami has to continue running plays somewhere in the seventies. The tempo Miami set last season made a difference in winning games in the fourth quarter in 2020. Miami outscored opponents in the fourth quarter in 2021.

The Hurricanes averaged eight points per game in the fourth quarter while allowing 5.9. The idea behind the up-tempo spread offense is to run as many plays as possible and tire out opponents. If Miami can do that against Michigan State, the Hurricanes should have an advantage in the fourth quarter.

Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker tried to simulate the heat during practice this week in East Lansing. Until the Spartans play in the midday heat of South Florida it’s impossible to know how they will react. Miami has won six of its last seven games at home dating back to a win over Louisville in 2019.

Next. Big plays key for Miami against Michigan State. dark

Creating a home-field advantage is critical for the Miami football program. Asserting its will offensively with tempo and defensively by creating negative plays and turnovers will get the Hurricanes crowd into the game. If Miami is going to win against Michigan State, the tempo will be a critical path to victory.