An age-old axiom is that teams have to be able to run the ball to win games. For Miami, the majority of that burden falls on talented sophomore RB Joseph Yearby's shoulders.
Yearby, a 5'9" 200lb back from local Miami Central high school, has stepped into the starting role this year after being the backup to the Canes' All-Time Leading Rusher Duke Johnson in 2014.
As a freshman, Yearby was a good change of pace back and ran for more than 500 yards off the bench. However this year, as the feature back in the Canes' pro-style offense, Yearby has nearly doubled that production. Heading into the bowl game, Yearby has rushed 191 times for 939 yards and 6 TDs. With 61 yards against Washington State in the Hyundai Sun Bowl, Yearby will have his first 1,000 yard season, and just the 3rd such season by a Hurricanes' running back since 2010, joining Lamar Miller (2011) and Duke Johnson (2014).
Not only is Yearby a good and talented player running the ball, but he's also a valued asset in the passing game. Yearby has 23 catches for 273 yards and 2 TDs on the year. He's a mismatch nightmare for LBs because of his elite short area quickness. Yearby works angle routes and option routes well, and he could be used in that way against Washington State.
Interim Head Coach Larry Scott has said in pre-Bowl press conferences that the Hurricanes want to be as balanced as possible. I already spoke about how Brad Kaaya will use his talents to help guide the offense, and, for the Canes to be balanced, that means that Yearby will have to use his many talents to their full potential against a tough Washington State team.