During their 49-24 victory over Toledo last Saturday, the Hurricanes running game had its “welcome back” game of 2018, and oh, how sweet it was.
The Canes rushed for a season-high 268 yards against the Rockets, and its contribution led to Miami’s most impressive win of the year thus far, and yes, its only their second dub of the season.
Now, before I start, let me clear something up. I fully realize that this post could’ve been written after the Savannah State win when Miami gained 239 yards rushing, but come on, can we stop taking stats from that game so seriously? The Toledo game was against an actual team, who won 11 games in 2017, and it was in their place.
It was a tale of two teams when you look at the production from the running game against LSU, then compared to Toledo. In week one, the Hurricanes totaled just 83 yards on 34 rushing attempts, which comes out to a frightening 2.4 yards a carry. Put simply, the Canes offensive line and running back were overpowered by the LSU defense.
So you can understand the jubilation and relief that us Miami fans feel when we see the ground-game make an impact.
Let me spit some statistical wisdom on you, just so you understand how much of an impact our rushing game has on Miami’s success.
In 2017, the Hurricanes were 54th in the country in rushing yards a game, which isn’t going to help you when you’re contending for an ACC title, especially when you see Clemson was 34th in the country.
In four games last year, the Hurricanes gained over 200 yards on the ground as a team. The average margin of victory in those games is 25.5 points. This season Miami has two games where they rush the ball for over 200 yards, and the average margin of victory in those two games is 51 points. So yes, this makes a difference.
So what was different about the Miami ground game this past Saturday?
The main component of the success against Toledo was obviously Deejay Dallas. The dude is an absolute beast so far in 2018, and he played his best on Saturday. Dallas had a career-high 110 yards, averaged over six yards a carry, and found the end zone for the first time this season.
Though Travis Homer is the other running back, the second biggest reason for Miami’s running success was Malik Rosier.
Give him all the criticism you want, but Saturday Rosier came up big, both on the ground and through the air. Rosier turned in his second best running day of his UM career, gaining 80 yards on the ground, averaging 10 yards a carry, and he also found the end zone three times.
Although we’re still waiting on Homer’s breakout game on 2018, he did enough against Toledo to pound away. Homer gave Miami 62 yards rushing, even though averaging just under four yards a carry.
Throw in a reverse to Jeff Thomas, and the occasional Lorenzo Lingard carry, and this ground game for Miami is an absolute difference maker. And I’ll be honest, I’m completely fine with Rosier going 13-for-23 in the passing game if our running game can do this every Saturday.
This Saturday, the Canes will try their running-luck against FIU, who is giving up under 200 yards a game rushing.