Miami football should be successful running versus Southern Mississippi

Sep 3, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 3, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami football team faces a Southern Mississippi defense that is 119th nationally allowing 244 rushing yards per game entering week two. Southern Mississippi is 107th nationally allowing 5.08 yards per carry. Liberty was balanced in a 29-27 win over Southern Mississippi with four players rushing for over 45 yards.

Liberty quarterbacks ran for 111 of their 244 yards versus Southern Mississippi averaging 5.5 yards per carry. Tyler Van Dyke will not be as big of a threat to run as the Liberty QBs were. Miami offensive coordinator Josh Gattis could get creative and use the Hurricanes’ RBs in the Wildcat formation.

Third-year sophomore RB Jaylan Knighton is expected to return for Miami after being held out of the 70-13 win over Bethune-Cookman in the season-opening win as a precaution. Knighton is the Miami RB most suited to taking direct snaps. The Hurricanes should be able to line up and run the ball versus the Golden Eagles.

Southern Mississippi did a good job stopping the run versus Liberty in the first half last week. The Flames ran 23 times for 73 yards in the first half averaging 3.17 yards per carry without a touchdown. In the second half, Liberty ran 31 times for 179 yards, 5.77 YPC and two TDs. Liberty ran five times for 12 yards in overtime.

Miami should similarly be able to wear down Southern Mississippi in the second half. It is difficult to analyze the Miami success running last week versus FCS Bethune-Cookman. Miami ranks sixth nationally after rushing for 305 yards versus Bethune-Cookman. Miami ran for 322 yards versus FCS Central Connecticut State in 2021.

Miami was 112th nationally in 2021 averaging 110 rushing yards per game versus FBS opponents. The Hurricanes were 89th nationally in 2021 averaging 103.5 rushing yards per game versus Power Five opponents. The Miami football team has to improve its run offense with the game at Texas A&M looming next week.

Under Mario Cristobal, Gattis and new offensive line coach Alex Mirabal, the Miami football team is expected to be far more physical in 2022. Henry Parrish led Miami with 14 carries for 108 yards and three touchdowns versus Bethune-Cookman. Thad Franklin had nine carries for 78 yards and two TDs versus the Wildcats.

Southern Mississippi will be a step up for Miami in week two, but the leap to Texas A&M next week is far greater. The aggressive Southern Mississippi defense is also susceptible to allowing big plays. Southern Mississippi allowed four runs of 10 or more yards to rank 76th nationally entering week two.

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Liberty also had three runs of 20 plus yards. Miami is 15th nationally with 10 runs of over 10 yards entering week two. The Hurricanes are 30th with two runs of 20 plus yards. Miami did not have any runs of 30 or more yards versus Bethune-Cookman. The return of Knighton should help Miami be more explosive running.