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Miami Hurricanes Matchup Preview: Florida International Golden Panthers

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Despite one sack, this Miami Hurricanes defensive lineman has been a bright spot Al Diaz/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Miami is coming off their last bye week of the season and takes on cross town rival FIU at Marlins Park on Saturday night at 7pm. This game brings back a lot of memories, both good and bad and should conjure plenty of emotion for the Canes to put together another solid effort as they look for their 4th win in a row. We all know what happened in 2005, as the “brawl” has been replayed numerous times throughout this week. The other factor is, the Canes will be playing at Marlins Park the former home of the Orange Bowl. This is very nostalgic for fans, but shouldn’t make too much of a difference when it comes to the actual play on the field. Miami is playing their best football of the season, and a game against FIU shouldn’t be a deterrent for the Canes getting to 7-4 on the year.

Can the Canes Continue the Arial Assault?

Louisville v Miami Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Miami has won 3 straight games, and suddenly the passing attack is looking like we all envisioned when the season got underway. In steps the FIU defense which is very stout against the pass, limiting opponents to just 180.3 YPG through the air. The Panthers have 8 interceptions on the year led by Rishard Dames who has 3 picks, as well as 3 passes defended on the year. The 5’11 165lbs Jr. will have his hands full with Dee Wiggins, K.J Osborn and Mike Harley, who have emerged as Jarren Williams’ main targets. Miami will also welcome back Mackey Award Semi-Finalist Brevin Jordan which should bolster the Miami air machine. FIU is not great at getting to the QB, only garnering 13 sacks total as a team, so Miami’s quickly improving O-Line should be able to give Jarren Williams time to sling it all over the yard.

Stop the Run

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 13 Miami at Virginia Photo by Lee Coleman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

FIU would love to ball control this weekend’s matchup with a powerful run game led by a 2 back approach. Anthony Jones is a 5’11” 215 lbs. Sr. out of Miami, who has 638 yards rushing and 7 TDs on the season. His running mate, Napoleon Maxwell, is a little more explosive averaging 5.4 YPC to go along with his 7 TDs on the ground. Louisville had nice yardage on the ground, so I’m sure tackling and fitting the right lane was a point of emphasis this week at Miami practice. Shaquille Quarterman is playing some of his best football ever in a Miami uniform, so look for number 55 to have double digit tackles on the weekend.

Don’t Get Caught Up in the Extra Curricular

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 22 FIU at Miami Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Miami is the better football team, by a good margin, so the only way FIU stays in this game is to junk it up. FIU will need to try some of the dirty tactics with a late hit, or try to get Miami into the trash talk game. The Canes just need to lineup and execute the way they have the past 3 games, and they will be on their way to a strong finish to 2019. If Miami gets caught up in the emotion of playing FIU, the game being where the Orange Bowl once was, or they overlook FIU, we could have a 4th quarter game.

I think Manny Diaz finally has this group focused, and with the way Jarren Williams has found his groove, Miami should roll. Look for DeeJay Dallas to go over 100 yards, and Jarren to thrown for north of 300, and the Canes to keep that Orange Bowl hope alive for 1 more week.

Go Canes