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Game Thread: Miami Football Looks to Squeeze Pitt at Heinz

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

As we wait to hear who will be the next Head Coach for the University of Miami football program, and we also sit back and see what bowl this team is going to, there is still a game to be played.

And the contest is against a Pitt team that has been surprisingly good, despite the loss of star RB James Conner, early in the season.

No this is not a test on the level of Clemson or UNC.

But it'll be a pretty good indicator of this team's progress and mentality since the last blow out loss to the Heels a few weeks back.


Game Notes (Courtesy UM):

CANES TRAVEL TO PITTSBURGH FOR 2015 SEASON FINALE

-Miami (7-4, 4-3 ACC) travels to Heinz Field for its regular season finale against Pittsburgh (8-3, 6-1 ACC) on Nov. 27. Kickoff for the game is set for noon on ESPN2.

-Miami leads the all-time series by a commanding 23-10-1 margin, including an 11-5 mark in Pittsburgh. The Hurricanes have won 16 of the last 18 overall matchups against the Panthers.

-The Canes fell to the Panthers 35-23 in last year’s matchup, but won 41-31 on the road in 2013.

-Interim head coach Larry Scott is 3-1 in his first four games at the helm of the Hurricanes.

WHAT A WIN WOULD DO...

-Move the Hurricanes record to 24-10-1 all-time against Pittsburgh.

-Hand Miami its fourth straight win at Pittsburgh. The Hurricanes have not lost at Pitt since 1997 and have won eight of the last nine meetings against the Panthers.

-Improve Miami’s record to 5-1 in the ACC Coastal Division.

-Give Miami its third road win of the season.

-Give the Hurricanes their fourth win in the last five games, marking Miami’s best finish to a regular season since 2009 when the Canes closed the regular season with a 4-1 mark.

-Hand the Hurricanes their third eight-win season since 2009.

YIPPEE KAAYA

-After passing for 300 yards last time out, QB Brad Kaaya moved into ninth place all-time at UM in both career passing yards (5,956). He is tied for ninth in career passing touchdowns (40).

-Kaaya remains near the top of the ACC in a number of individual categories, including passing yards (2,758, second), passing yards per game (275.8, first) and total offense (2,676 yards, fourth).

-Kaaya has thrown just six interceptions in his last 525 attempts. He has thrown for more than 200 yards in 17 of his 23 career games at Miami and has seven career 300-yard performances.

-Kaaya’s career home numbers (13 games) stand out: 3,305 passing yards, 27 TDs & just 7 INTs.

-Kaaya’s missed start at Duke on Oct. 31 snapped a streak of 20 straight starts dating to 2014.

-Kaaya set personal bests in completions (29), attempts (49) and pass yards (405) at Florida State (Oct. 10), tossing three touchdowns with no interceptions. His passer efficiency rating was 148.8.

-Kaaya’s 405 yards were the most by a Miami quarterback vs. Florida State in the modern era of Miami football (since 1980), and represent just the 11th 400-yard game in that same timespan.

-The California native was one of only 15 quarterbacks in the country to throw for more than 3,000 yards, 26-or-more touchdowns and 12-or-fewer interceptions in 2014; he was the only true freshman quarterback in the country to accomplish this feat.

-As a freshman in 2014, Kaaya was named the ACC Offensive and ACC Overall Rookie of the Year after a stellar first campaign with the Hurricanes.

-Kaaya ranked second in the ACC in passing yards (3,198), and led the ACC in passing touchdowns (26), passing efficiency (145.9) and passing yards per completion (14.5) during his freshman year.

ELITE COMPANY

-Miami signal caller Brad Kaaya is one of only three quarterbacks nationally to throw for 2,500 yards-or-more, record 14-or-more touchdown passes and toss just four-or-less interceptions.

-Paxton Lynch (Memphis) and Dak Prescott (Mississippi State) join Kaaya as the only other quarterbacks that have accomplished this feat. Kaaya is only sophomore nationally to accomplish this feat.

RETURN TO FORM

-Miami WR Stacy Coley had a dominant freshman season, earning 2013 Freshman All-America recognition and All-ACC honors after leading the team with 1,461 all-purpose yards.

-After a disappointing 2014, Coley has had a return to form this season. Despite missing two games with a hamstring injury, Coley ranks first on the team in catches (41) and receiving yards (600).

-Coley, who posted his second career 100-yard receiving game in a home start vs. Virginia, ranks second in the ACC with an average of 84.1 yards per conference game.

-Coley has caught at least five passes in five of the last seven games, and has 589 yards over that span. The junior recorded a TD in back-to-back games for the first time since November 2013 when he hauled in scores against both Duke (Oct. 31) and Virginia (Nov. 7).

TRIPLE THREAT

-Through 12 weeks of the regular season, Miami is the only team in the ACC and one of only 17 teams in FBS with three or more pass-catchers who have totaled over 525 receiving yards in 2015.

-WR Stacy Coley (600), WR Herb Waters (584) and WR Rashawn Scott (546 yards) rank among the top wide receivers nationally; all three players have set career-best receiving season totals in 2015.

-Miami is one of just nine teams from Power 5 conferences to have three receivers with 525+ each.

-One team has four pass-catchers with over 525 yards (Bowling Green), while 15 other teams have three: Arizona, Baylor, Cal, Georgia State, Idaho, Memphis, Michigan, MTSU, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Southern Miss, TCU, Texas A&M Washington State and Western Kentucky.

MAKING HIS MARK

-Through 11 games this season freshman running back Mark Walton has totaled nine touchdowns (eight rushing and one receiving). His nine touchdowns rank third by a UM freshman since 2000.

-With his receiving touchdown against Georgia Tech, Walton joined Travis Benjamin and Stacy Coley as the only Miami freshman to score a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown in an ACC game.

-Walton also is one of just eight freshman running backs nationally with eight-or-more rushing touchdowns this season.

BADG-O-MATIC

-Sophomore Michael Badgley is 20-of-25 this year in field goal attempts. His 20 made field goals are second-most in ACC, while his average of 2.00 field goals made per game is tied for tops in FBS.

-Badgley tied a UM record with a 57-yard field goal vs. Georgia Tech (Danny Smith, 1981 vs. FSU).

-Badgley is two made FGs shy of tying Jon Peattie’s UM season record of 22 set back in 2003.

-Badgley is second in the ACC and ranks 14th in NCAA in scoring, averaging 9.8 points per game.

-In a Sept. 19 win over Nebraska, Badgley drilled a career-high and tied a school record with five field goals made (41, 27, 23, 28 and 28).

MIAMI ANNOUNCES FOOTBALL COACH SEARCH COMMITTEE

-Director of Athletics Blake James announced on Nov. 16 the retention of a search firm and formation of a search advisory committee as the University seeks a new head football coach.

-Korn Ferry, one of the world’s most respected search firms with vast experience in coaching searches, has been retained and will assist the University in all aspects of the search process.

-The search advisor committee include Board of Trustees members Hilarie Bass, David Epstein and Steve Saiontz; Deputy AD Jennifer Strawley and former UM standouts Jon Vilma & Vinny Testaverde.

GETTING DEFENSIVE

-Miami’s +11 turnover margin is tied for the best mark in the ACC and tied for the fifth-best mark in all of FBS; Miami has 22 turnovers gained and 11 turnovers lost.

-UM is one of just 13 teams in FBS with a double-digit positive turnover margin (only 7 in Power 5).

-Miami’s defense has recorded 14 interceptions, tied for 15th-most in FBS and second-most in ACC.

-Miami’s defense recorded its first shutout since 2010 in its season opener vs. Bethune-Cookman.

-Miami ranked No. 14 nationally in total defense in 2014, allowing an average of just 329.6 yards per game - the fourth-best mark in the ACC.

THE SOUTH FLORIDA DUO

-South Florida products Joe Yearby (1,113) and Mark Walton (819) have combined for 1,932 all purpose yards and 17 touchdowns through the first 11 games of the season.

-Of their 1,932 all purpose yards, Yearby (840) and Walton (419) have combined for 1,259 of the team’s 1,318 rushing yards (95.5 percent).

Please feel free to join other Hurricanes fans and leave plenty of comments below.