Miami football faces Duke passing game adept at long plays

Nov 30, 2019; Durham, NC, USA; Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 30, 2019; Durham, NC, USA; Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami football secondary has been one of the worst in the country this season giving up long pass plays. On Saturday Miami hosts Duke who has been one of the best teams in the ACC converting long pass plays. Duke is fourth in the ACC with 11 completions of 30 yards or more and third with six of 40 or more yards.

After Miami allowed multiple touchdown passes of over 60 yards versus Middle Tennessee State and North Carolina, the Miami football team was able to limit long completions against Virginia Tech. Only two Virginia Tech receivers had a reception of 20 yards or more with the longest pass for 27 yards.

Virginia Tech averaged 5.4 yards per attempt and 8.52 yards per completion. The Miami football team is allowing opponents 9.3 yards per pass attempt which is 128th nationally and 15.4 yards per completion. Duke is sixth in the ACC averaging 7.9 yards per pass attempt. The Blue Devils average 11.85 yards per attempt.

Four Duke receivers with at least eight receptions are averaging at least 13 yards per reception in 2022. Eli Pancol is the Duke receiver to watch. Pancol had 18 receptions for 296 yards in 2022. The 16.44 yards per reception put Pancol seventh in the ACC. WR Jalon Calhoun is fourth in the ACC with seven receptions of 20 or more yards.

Duke has four of the top 18 players with receptions of 30 or more yards. Defending Duke will be difficult. Duke is second in the ACC in rushing led by quarterback Riley Leonard. Miami defensive coordinator Kevin Steele will face a difficult choice of focusing on the run, having a spy on Leonard and preventing the deep ball.

Duke is far greater offensively than Virginia Tech. The Miami defense was dominant in the second half versus North Carolina and the first three quarters against Virginia Tech, not allowing a TD in that span. Miami is expected to get cornerback Tyrique Stevenson back on Saturday after he was injured versus North Carolina.

Stevenson did not play versus Virginia Tech. At the time of his injury, Stevenson was the highest-rated Miami CB in coverage per Pro Football Focus. CB D.J. Ivey and safety James Williams finished in the top 10 Miami players versus Virginia Tech as graded by PFF via Inside the U. Miami needs to continue to generate a pass rush.

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Miami is seventh nationally averaging 3.5 sacks per game. The Hurricanes have recorded 10 of their 21 sacks this season in the last two games. Miami defensive lineman Akheem Mesidor had 3.5 sacks versus Virginia Tech and five this season. Miami needs to create pressure to make it difficult for Leonard.