With the humiliating loss to LSU to open the season behind them, the Hurricanes now switch their focus and attention to their home opener against the Savannah State Tigers.
Dropping from no. 8 to 22nd in the country in the newest AP Poll, Miami’s season has restarted, and will need a convincing victory in order to jumpstart their 2018 campaign.
Savannah State is coming off a loss of their own, after falling to UAB this past weekend 52-0.
This will be the first time that the Hurricanes and Tigers have met since 2013, when Al Golden’s Canes took Savannah State to the cleaners, 77-7.
Bouncing Back (On Offense)
Its no surprise that Miami, and all of us fans, are still reeling from the devastating loss to LSU in Dallas. That being said, its a new week, with the same goal in mind, and that is to repeat as ACC Coastal Division champions.
Starting off offensively, Miami will look to improve their passing game, which we all know means Malik Rosier. Yes yes, Rosier has been named the starter for Saturday’s game, much to the distaste of Hurricanes fans. Rosier struggled immensely against the LSU defense, throwing two interceptions and completing just 42% of his passes.
With Miami expected to roll over Savannah State, Saturday will look to be a confidence boosting game for Rosier, who desperately needs it, and frankly, so do all of us. This is definitely the game for it happen as well, the UAB quarterbacks combined for a 92% completion percentage.
Look for Rosier to throw, and throw often and early. Still healing from an injury on Sunday, Ahmmon Richards is still uncertain if he’ll play, so we’ll be seeing lots more of Jeff Thomas and Lawrence Cager at the wideout position.
In the Miami running game, indeed a bounce back week for them is needed as well. Against LSU’s ferocious defense, Miami rushed for just 89 yards on 34 attempts, equaling out to a whopping 2.4 yards per rush.
Travis Homer, someone who was expected to have a breakout game against LSU, will get another chance to open his season and get back on the right track, as well as Deejay Dallas. UAB ran all over Savannah State on Saturday for 287 yards.
The Hurricanes offensive line struggled as well against LSU, and will need to come back in a huge way this weekend, after giving up four sacks.
Getting To Know Savannah State
The Tigers just like Miami are coming off a loss to begin their season, a game which they were 100% outplayed and out-coached. Coming off a rough 3-8 season in 2017, the Tigers didn’t get off to the best start against UAB.
On offense, the Tigers have several players that you’ll need to know, and who to look out for on Saturday. Quarterback wise, don’t expect too much from the Tigers gunslingers. D’Vonn Gibbons went 1-for-9 against UAB for just 23 yards and an interception.
The offensive line gave up a sack to the Blazers, but Savannah State totaled 155 yards rushing, which was more than Miami, awkward. However, don’t expect too much firepower from the Tigers offensive. This is a game that the Miami defense needs to see the Turnover Chain not just once, but several times, and get their confidence back.
On defense, the Tigers gave up over 550 yards of total offense and surrendered 52 points, so we’re not exactly talking about the LSU defense here. UAB’s quarterbacks completed 23-of-29 passes, converted on 8-of-12 third down conversions, two areas where Miami’s offense struggled.
Keys To The Game
Its pretty simple this week, as Miami is pressing the restart button on the 2018 season.
- Malik Rosier. Alright coach Richt, you kept with Rosier, now its all on you two to save our season, but it all starts with Saturday. Rosier must make some plays in his first few drives to gain some confidence back. Like I said before, expect Miami to throw it often and early. If Rosier struggles against this defense, it’s time to pull the plug on 12.
- Continue to play young talent. In a game against a lowly squad like Savannah State, its going to be important that the Hurricanes continue to build on the success that their freshman gave them on Sunday. Guys like Brian Hightower and Brevin Jordan will no doubt get touches against the Tigers, and look for Al Blades Jr. to get some quality time on defense. Also, look for redshirt freshman N’Kosi Perry to get some playing time if and when Miami builds a second half lead.
- Forget LSU. Miami can do one of two things, bounce back after Sunday’s loss and make the most of the rest of the season, or let it ruin this once promising year. Savannah State provides the Canes with the opportunity to do just that, and they just need to run the Tigers into the ground and get 2018 back on the right track.
The season is not over nor is it lost. Look for Mark Richt’s team to come out swinging early, and scoring points. Its not a win that’ll put Miami back into the top 10, but its a win, and thats all we’re focused on right now.