Miami Hurricanes running game needs more consistency

Dec 29, 2020; Orlando, FL, USA; Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 29, 2020; Orlando, FL, USA; Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami Hurricanes lack of a consistent rushing offense has hindered them this season. Miami who was successful on the ground against Appalachian State and Central Connecticut State was obstructed running in losses to Alabama and Michigan State. The loss to Virginia on Thursday was a microcosm of the 2021 rushing offense.

The Miami Hurricanes began the season with 88 yards rushing on 31 carries against Alabama. Quarterback D’Eriq King had 12 carries for 37 yards to lead the Hurricanes against the Crimson Tide. A lot of the rushing yards King came on scrambles. Backup QB Tyler Van Dyke 18 yard run was the longest for Miami against Alabama.

A week later Miami ran successfully against Appalachian State with 43 carries for 175 yards against Appalachian State. King and running backs Cam’Ron Harris and Don Chaney Jr. all had success against the Mountaineers. King ran 19 times for 79 yards, Harris 18 for 91 and a touchdown and Chaney four for 21 and a TD.

The struggle running against Alabama was attributed to their tough defense. Miami running successfully against Appalachian State seemed like the Hurricanes were on the right track. The inconsistent rushing offense of 2020 would return in the Miami Hurricanes loss to Michigan State week two.

Miami ran 24 times for 52 yards against Michigan State. Harris led the Hurricanes against the Spartans with 11 carries for 44 yards. The reliance on King in the offense would lead to a shoulder injury that has he not recovered from yet. King finished the game against Michigan State but has not played since the loss to the Spartans.

Miami ran 45 times for 322 yards and five TDs in 1 69-0 week four victory over FCS Central Connecticut State. It is difficult to gain anything from how a Power Five team performs against an FCS opponent. Against Virginia, Miami had 17 carries for 31 yards in the first half. The Hurricanes ran better in the second half.

With the Virginia defense tiring in the second half, Miami had 23 carries for 138 yards in the second half. Harris had 14 carries for 111 yards and two TDs against Virginia. In the first half, Harris had five carries for 10 yards. Harris finished the second half with nine carries for 101 yards and a 57 yard TD run.

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If Miami is going to turn its season around they have to be able to establish the run early in games. Miami ranks 91st averaging 120.75 rushing yards per game against FBS opponents. The Hurricanes are 94th averaging 3.5 yards per carry. Miami needs more consistency running through the remainder of the 2021 season.