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Miami Hurricanes Game Preview: Toledo

With a win finally under their belt for 2018, Miami travels to Toledo for the first time to meet the Rockets.

NCAA Football: Toledo at Miami Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Savannah State is in the books for the Hurricanes, and they’re now in the win column for 2018. Up next for Mark Richt and company, the Toledo Rockets.

The Canes are coming off a 77-0 victory over the Tigers last weekend in Miami, and Toledo has played one game this year and it was back in week one, a 66-3 trouncing of VMI.

These two teams met last year in Miami, following a three-week break because of Hurricane Irma. The Hurricanes outed the Rockets 52-30.

Saturday will be the first time in school history that Miami makes trip up to Toledo, Ohio.

Offensive Preview for Miami:

Though the Canes put up 77 points last week, nobody is expecting that kind of firepower this game against Toledo. Coach Richt announced earlier this week that Malik Rosier will again get the start for Miami this Saturday. Amidst the boos at Hard Rock Stadium, Rosier finished 8-for-12 against Savannah State, throwing for a touchdown and rushing for another.

Rosier comes into the game completing just 48.9% of his passes, and its likely he’ll be without star receiver Ahmmon Richards again this weekend, who’s still recovering from an injury suffered against LSU. 12 still has weapons though, including Jeff Thomas who caught one pass against Savannah State which resulted in a 67-yard touchdown.

Look for guys like freshmen tight-ends Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory to step up against the Rockets defense, as both Jordan and Mallory scored last week.

Miami is going to need something more from their running game this weekend. Though the Canes rushed for 239 yards last week against the Tigers, they were held to only 83 when they played LSU. Travis Homer and Deejay Dallas have both yet to find the end zone this season, and neither have rushed for more than 70 yards in a game.

The offensive line for Miami continues to be a concern for the Hurricanes, as the Tigers were able to record one sack and also five tackles for losses. Saturday will be HUGE for this unit for Miami, and it’ll need to establish dominance on the front if their running game and also passing game wants to improve.

Defensive Preview for Miami:

Defensively, the Canes defense isn’t something that most people are worried about. Shutting out Savannah State and also breaking out the Turnover Chain four times gave this D the confidence it needs.

Defensive-end Demetrius Jackson returned to practice this week and its expected to play on Saturday after missing last week. Miami recorded three sacks last week and five for the season, so the d-line is progressing rather nice.

The linebackers and defensive backs are starting to mold together and into their positions for 2018. Trajan Bandy, after being ejected against LSU looked comfortable at corner against Savannah State.

Though, this is Toledo offense that scored 66 points in their only game this seasons, and tallied up nearly 400 yards threw the air and over 200 yards rushing. Also, the Rockets didn't commit a single turnover as well.

Getting to know Toledo:

This isn’t a bad football team that Miami is going up to visit on Saturday. In fact, the Rockets went 11-3 last season, were MAC champions, and head coach Jason Candle is 21-7 in two seasons as top dog.

New starting quarterback Mitch Guadagni looked good his first game under center as starter, passing for 265 yards and three touchdowns while completing 68% of his passes.

In running back, the Rockets use Shakif Seymour. In their first game, Seymour had six carries, but still managed to find the end zone twice. The Rockets also pose a dangerous duo at the receiver position with Cody Thompson and Diontae Johnson, both scared last week. Johnson was a first-team All-MAC selection, and scored twice on Miami last season.

On defense, the Rockets were stout going up against VMI. Defensive lineman Nate Childress and inside linebacker Tyler Taafe will prove to be a struggle for Miami’s o-line. Toledo was also able to intercept two VMI passes.

Stats to Know:

  • In last years meeting, Rosier completed 75% of his passes, his highest of any game in 2017.
  • Toledo is seventh in the country in total offense, averaging 7.8 yards per play.
  • Miami’s offense is 93rd in the country in first downs, 77th in rushing and 70th in passing efficiency.

Players to Watch:

  • Demetrius Jackson-coming off an injury last week.
  • Jeff Thomas-most explosive player on Miami’s offense.
  • Travis Homer-needs to get his breakout game of 2018.

Keys To The Game:

  1. Getting the ball into Jeff Thomas’ hands. Last week he had one catch for a 67-yard touchdown, as well as a 48-yard punt return. Thomas is averaging 33.2 yards a catch.
  2. Get someone in the running game going. Doesn’t really matter if its Homer or Dallas, but one of these guys needs to step it up. Toledo allowed just 2.0 yards per carry against VMI.
  3. Defend against the pass. Toledo’s receivers are extremely talented. Last season, the Rockets passed for 342 yards and three touchdowns, and also no interceptions.

Final Words

Last week was a start if any, but this week its back to winning games against quality opponents. Remember, Toledo led Miami at halftime last season, this isn't Savannah State. Expect the Rockets to come out fired up and ready. Miami just needs to convert third-downs, don’t turn the ball over, and find the end zone. If we do that, which I think we will,

we’ll be 2-1 getting ready for FIU.