The Miami football team is finishing the 2022 regular season against the top two running backs in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Miami limited Clemson RB Will Shipley to 17 carries for 61 yards and three receptions for 14 yards in a 40-10 loss to the Tigers last Saturday. Saturday Miami goes against Pittsburgh’s Israel Abanikanda.
Abanikanda leads the ACC in every rushing category except yards per game. Abanikanda has 1,320 rushing yards on 22.40 carries per game, is averaging 5.89 yards per carry and has scored 18 TDs. In 10 games this season Adanikanda has run for over 100 yards eight times, including the last five straight.
Abanikanda had a season-high 36 carries, 320 yards and six TDs against Virginia Tech on October 8. Pittsburgh has not used Abanikanda often as a receiver this year. Abanikanda has 10 receptions for 138 yards and one TD. Abanikanda had a season-high three receptions and 50 receiving yards versus Louisville on October 22.
Miami has been inconsistent against the run this season but ranks fifth in the ACC. The Miami football team is allowing 132.45 rushing yards per game and 3.73 yards per carry. Miami has four games this season allowing under 100 rushing yards, one allowing 161 and three over 200. Miami needs to be stout versus Pittsburgh.
Despite limiting Miami limiting Shipley, Clemson still ran 47 times for 201 yards and three TDs. Quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei led Clemson with 17 carries for 89 yards rushing and a TD against Miami. The Hurricanes have struggled in recent seasons against mobile QBs. That will not be a problem versus Pittsburgh.
Panthers QB Kedon Slovis has 25 carries for minus 68 yards this season. Abanikanda is responsible for 33.75 percent of the yards gained by Pittsburgh this season. If Miami can limit Abanikanda it will significiantly improve its chances of defeating the Panthers on Saturday. Adanikanda averages 145.8 total yards per game.
Trey Benson of Florida State had 15 carries for 128 rushing yards and two TDs as the only 100 yard rusher Miami has allowed in 2022. Abanikanda will be the best RB Miami has played this season. There are preceedents for stopping Abanikanda this season as he had 46 yards combined versus West Virginia and Georgia Tech.