Not sure if you knew this, but the Hurricanes take the field in less than 10 days people. The season opener is about as big as it gets, against a powerhouse like LSU, in Cowboys Stadium. Doesn’t get too much bigger.
Make no mistake, this is a MUST WIN game for the Canes. You can argue and say it isn’t, but losing to no. 25 LSU would crush a lot of people’s expectations for this talented Miami team.
LSU is a beatable team, yet so is Miami. Here are the keys to victory for the Canes over the Tigers in Jerry World.
- Score Early
Right out of the gate, Miami’s offense has to be somewhat clicking, and put points on the board, like in the first quarter. In 2017, during LSU’s four losses, they were outscored 44-7 in the first half by their opponents. So yeah, this matters.
Also, during Miami’s 10 wins last year, they outscored opponents 118-56 in the first half, but were outscored 55-21 in the first two quarters in their three losses.
Both defenses are extremely talented, and both teams offenses have concerns. Miami scores first, and continues to score often during the first 30 minutes, and the Canes will have a good chance winning this game.
2. Miami’s Defensive Line
In my last article, I picked the d-line to be one of the Canes weaknesses this season, but against LSU, this just cannot be the case.
Just like Miami, LSU’s offensive line is a question mark for 2018, and Joe Murrow, expected starter at quarterback for the Tigers is unexperienced. Pressure him, force him into making mistakes. Also clogging the running game, which surprisingly isn’t expected to be a strength for LSU this year.
3. Pound The Rock
The third key to victory for Miami is the Hurricanes running game. We’re going to need at least 100 yards, maybe even 120 from Travis Homer. A nice 75-yard contribution from Deejay Dallas and Malik Rosier wouldn’t hurt either.
Why this matters against LSU, is because since 2014, the Tigers are 0-10 when they allow over 200 yards rushing. In two of the four losses last season for LSU, they gave up over 200 yards on the ground. In those four games they gave up an average of 190.2 yards rushing.
Expect Homer and Dallas, and even Lorenzo Lingard and the younger guys to be very busy Sunday night.
4. Shut Down LSU Receivers (Particularly Jonathan Giles)
LSU’s offense isn’t anything too special. Joe Burrow is talented but very fresh, their running game is expected to have a down year, and we’ve already discussed their problems with the offense line.
The way that LSU could potentially win this game is their wide receivers. They’re not an overly experienced group of receivers, but very talented.
Miami will especially need to focus on Jonathan Giles, Texas Tech transfer and former Biletnikoff Award finalist. Giles shined at Tech but didn’t play in 2017. The key matchup of the day is Giles against Miami cornerback Michael Jackson.
5. DON’T TURN THE BALL OVER (and force turnovers)
You’re going to see this over and over again in these “preview” articles, only because it cannot be stressed enough.
LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda likes to run a package that features five defensive backs, so Rosier is going to HAVE to be accurate. Though the Tigers only picked off 12 passes in 2017, their secondary is now more experienced.
As for the Canes defense, they know what to do, and how to do it. Now, simply put, they just have to do it. Forcing turnovers against the Tigers is going to be hard to do though, as LSU threw just four interceptions all last season.
This is what will determine who wins this game, who can create turnovers. Miami did it in 2017, can they do it in 2018? Expect a close, low scoring affair in Dallas, and hopefully, a Canes victory.