Miami football could catch break with Pittsburgh potentially without top RB and WR

Oct 26, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 26, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

The Pittsburgh Panthers could be without their leading rusher and receiver when the Miami football team plays at Heinz Field on Saturday. Leading rusher Israel Abanikanda and top receiver Jordan Addison are in the concussion protocol. Panthers head coach Pat Narduzzi told the media the decision will be up to the doctors.

Abanikanda had nine carries for 56 yards in Pittsburgh’s 27-17 victory against Clemson last weekend. Addison was the Panthers’ top receiver against the Tigers with five receptions for 84 yards and a touchdown. Abanikanda leads Pittsburgh in 2021 with 403 rushing yards and four TDs while adding 13 receptions for 108 yards.

Abanikanda replaced senior A.J. Davis who has since entered the transfer portal. Vincent Davis has 263 rushing yards, three TDs and 13 receptions for 89 yards in 2021. Addison leads Pittsburgh with 39 receptions, 670 yards and 10 TDs.  Addison is tied for the lead nationally in TD receptions and tied for 15th in receptions per game.

If Addison is healthy the game between Pittsburgh and Miami football teams will be a showcase for two of the ACC’s top receivers. Charleston Rambo of Miami is 25th nationally in receptions per game and 36th in receiving yards per game. Rambo has two 100 yards games this season and finished with 99 against Virginia.

Miami needs to continue to have big games from Rambo and running back Jaylan Knighton. Knighton has over 160 total yards in each of the last two games. Rambo had nine receptions for 127 yards and two TDs last week against North Carolina State. Both are playing at an elite level.

Pittsburgh has depth if Abanikanda and/or Addison cannot play on Saturday. Rodney Hammond Jr. has run for 258 yards on 6.1 yards per carry with three TDs. Taysir Mack and Jared Wayne are explosive for Pittsburgh at WR and tight end Lucas Krull is a threat in the redzone with five TDs this season.

Next. Miami needs strong pass rush, red zone defense vs. Pittsburgh. dark

Miami head coach Manny Diaz will have to prepare his defense for multiple players on the Pittsburgh offense. It is difficult for Miami not knowing if Addison or Abanikanda will play for Pittsburgh. The same goes for Panthers’ offensive coordinator Mark Whipple preparing the Pittsburgh offense.