The Miami Hurricanes are underdogs in their road matchup against the Toledo Rockets. Yes, that’s right, per Bill C’s S&P+ analytics system Miami is ranked 32nd while Toledo enters the September 15th matchup ranked 19th. Per the polls that are completely subjective- Miami is the favorite. Oddsshark has Miami as a 10-point favorite but expected to lose which I have never seen before. Regardless, that’s not good for Richt’s Hurricanes. I love MACtion as much as the next guy, and think Coach Candle is getting the next big Power 5 head coaching spot in the midwest (Michigan State?) but Miami should never, ever, ever, lose to Toledo.
Quarterback Mitchell Guadagni lit up VMI to the tune of 16.6 yards per passing attempt with three touchdowns. If guys like Kurt Benkert and Eric Dungey can light up the middle of the field against Miami I shudder to think of what four receivers that picked up 20+ yards per catch might get away with. Miami only managed two receivers over the 20+ yards per reception stat against Savannah State, a future D2 squad.
Bill C seemed equally as excited about the receiver crew in his team preview and it seems as if Toledo found that replacement at quarterback. On defense, Toledo struggled against the run. Even with three really good running backs in Travis Homer, Deejay Dallas, and Lorenzo Lingard- Miami struggled to run against LSU.
Defensive end Jamal Hines, a freshman, leads the team in tackles with seven and tackles for loss with 2.5.
Look at an inexperienced quarterback look off of his first read, come back across the field and find an open receiver. Remember my post about Rosier staring down his targets? This is how a quarterback keeps his eyes, shoulders, and feet moving to find the open man.
Here, Guadagni looks to one side, looks to the other, feels pressure and rolls enough to find the open man for another touchdown. The poise, confidence, pass blocking, and accuracy should make Jon and Mark Richt blush while watching.
In 2017, Miami took advantage of a confused and what must be a misaligned Toledo defense and ran the wide buck sweep for a touchdown. Miami hasn’t looked quite as dominant on offense in 2018, or running the football specifically, as they did a year ago.
In the GIF above, Toledo didn’t even bite on the play action but nice ball placement and a strong vertical leap by the wide receiver allowed for a touchdown in 2017. Hopefully Rosier stays accurate enough to drop in throws like this against the Rockets.
After seeing this blocked punt returned for a touchdown, does anyone else get concerned? Zach Feagles is a struggling punter who needs either a new position coach or a sports psychologist. It doesn’t help that the kicking game is by far one of Miami’s biggest negatives and a punt was almost blocked by LSU.
Am I worried about the Toledo Rockets? Yes, yes I am. I’m worried because Vegas is worried, the S&P+ doesn’t play favorites and Toledo is mathematically better and because Miami struggles against the pass. I’m worried because I saw an out of shape football team in Miami struggling to keep up in a climate controlled dome of all places. I’m worried because I don’t trust this football team. But Miami should and will win 17-14.
Prediction: Miami 17 - Toledo 14