Miami football cannot defeat itself versus Duke

Nov 27, 2021; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 27, 2021; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami football team has to play a much cleaner game to defeat Duke than it has often this season. Miami won 20-14 at Virginia Tech on Saturday despite committing 17 penalties for 159 yards and allowing both of the Hokies’ touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Duke rarely commits penalties and has only four turnovers in 2022.

The Blue Devils rank 11th nationally with a 1.14 plus average turnover margin per game. Duke ranks fifth nationally with only four turnovers lost in 2022. Duke has been prone to penalties averaging six for 60.3 yards per game which is 83rd nationally. Miami is 87th averaging 7.3 for 61.5 yards per game.

Miami is 33rd nationally with a 0.3-plus turnover margin. The Hurricanes rank 37th with eight lost turnovers in seven games. Many teams have played seven games this season. Avoiding turnovers and penalties will be critical for the Miami football team versus Duke. Turnovers were a big reason for the loss to Middle Tennessee State.

Miami committed three of its eight turnovers this season against Middle Tennessee State that included a pick-six in the first quarter. The loss to North Carolina was the only other game this season Miami that had multiple turnovers. Both of the Miami turnovers versus UNC came in the fourth quarter in Tar Heel territory.

Miami was in position to tie the game early in the fourth quarter versus North Carolina when Jaylan Knighton lost a fumble at the North Carolina 17-yard line. The second turnover came when Tyler Van Dyke threw an interception with the Miami football team having a chance to tie the game with a field goal on the final drive.

The penalties against Virginia Tech led to the margin being six when Miami had a 20-point lead after three quarters. Without the penalties, Miami would have been able to put the game away. Miami penalties stalled their own drives, extended Virginia Tech’s drives, or helped the Hokies on other drives.

Miami had its two best games of the season offensively in the last two weeks. The Hurricanes gained 538 yards in the loss to North Carolina and 458 in the win over Virginia Tech. Miami needs to get better in the red zone for the offense to be ultimately successful. Miami is 82nd nationally with a 59.38 red zone TD percentage.

Next. Miami receivers improved significantly recently. dark

Duke is 66th nationally with opponents scoring TDs on 60 percent of its trips in the red zone. Penalties, turnovers, third down conversions and the red zone are often what determine the outcome of a game. Miami has to minimize penalties and turnovers and convert the majority of its red zone opportunities into TDs.