Syracuse football opponent preview: What to know about No. 8 Miami

first_imgA week removed from one of the biggest upsets in college football this season, Syracuse will look for a second consecutive top-10 victory, this time against No. 8 Miami. The Hurricanes (5-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast) host the Orange (4-3, 2-1) at Hard Rock Stadium Saturday at 3:30 p.m. The game will air on ESPN. If Syracuse wins, it would mark the seventh time in the AP poll era that an unranked team had knocked off top-10 opponents in consecutive weeks and only the second time since 1972. Here’s what you need to know about the Hurricanes.All-time series: Miami leads, 15-7Last time they played: In November 2003, then-No. 14 Miami beat Syracuse, 17-10, in front of 48,130 fans at the Orange Bowl. SU junior running back Walter Reyes ran for the Orange’s only touchdown, surpassing the 1,000-yard rushing mark on the season. In 1992, Syracuse nearly beat No. 1 Miami in the Carrier Dome. In 1998, on senior day, Donovan McNabb helped SU cruise to a 66-13 win in front of 49,521 fans. The Orange has lost its last five meetings since. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Miami report: The five-time national champion Hurricanes are coming off a 24-20 victory over Florida State and a 25-24 win over Georgia Tech. Miami finished last year ranked No. 20 in the country and despite losing star running back Mark Walton to a season-ending injury are up to No. 8 in this week’s poll. The Hurricanes rank 21st in the country in total offense (472.8 yards per game). Miami ranks 20th in defense (only 18.6 points per game allowed) and seventh in red zone offense. UM runs a balanced run-pass attack, led by quarterback Malik Rosier, who can make plays with his legs.  Miami’s turnover total is tied with that of Alabama, North Carolina State and Wake Forest for lowest in the country. All three UM turnovers are interceptions by Rosier. But Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz’s side of the ball ranks 81st in takeaways. Where UM has historically thrived lies at the potent defensive line. The Hurricanes rank fifth in sacks per game (3.43) and third in tackles for loss (8.6). That could create a mismatch for Syracuse, which has allowed more sacks per game (three) and tackles for loss (6.86) than every ACC team except for FSU. Miami’s strength is speed and strength on defense. “Their speed, there’s so much speed on tape,” Syracuse head coach Dino Babers said. “You just can’t deny how fast that football team is, yet they are still physical.”How Syracuse beats Miami:  Diaz said this week that Syracuse runs “the fastest offense in the country.” Establishing the run will allow Syracuse to find gaps down field via the pass. Miami’s weakest link is its defense beyond its dangerous front four and Miami’s defensive backs are inexperienced. Diaz said the Hurricanes are five to six DBs shy of where they should be, per the Miami Herald’s Susan Degnan. Exploiting that, paired with another strong outing from the SU defense, could set up Syracuse for the upset. Additionally, Syracuse ranks third in third-down defense, while Miami’s offense is only 97th on third down and was a season-low 2-of-12 last week. A big reason SU upset Clemson was because of third-down stops. Player to watch: Travis Homer, running back, No. 24The sophomore back broke out in his first career start last week against Georgia Tech. He rushed for 170 yards and a 27-yard touchdown on 20 carries and added a 17-yard touchdown reception. He averages 8.4 yards per carry and is tough to bring down at 5-11, 195. Lately, Syracuse has given up a few big running plays, which Homer is more than capable of himself. Comments Published on October 20, 2017 at 3:17 pm Contact Matthew: [email protected] | @MatthewGut21 Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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