The Miami Hurricanes head to The Triangle to face the Duke Blue Devils on Saturday, November 27th. The 6-5 Hurricanes will face the 3-8 Blue Devils on ESPN3 at 12:30pm. This could be a battle of lasts as David Cutcliffe is rumored to be retiring while Diaz is reportedly going to be out in Coral Gables.
In the summer, I said the Canyonero keys to victory were: 1- Run the football, 2- stop the run, and 3- play your game.
1- Miami has to be able to establish a run game against a weak Duke defense. Duke might be the only team in the Power 5 (and possibly FBS football) that has worse run fit play than Miami.
2- On the flip side, Miami’s front six has to dominate Duke, no matter how good their backs are. Duke is struggling on offense and Miami needs to finally step up on defense against a bad opponent. Durant could be in for a huge game, however, if Miami continues to struggle to run fit and finish.
3- It’ll be cold in Durham, NC for Thanksgiving- Miami has already proven they’ll travel to the cold and win against Pitt, next up is a really bad Blue Devils team on Saturday.
Per Bill Connelly’s SP+ metrics, Miami is 28th overall, including 23rd on offense, 52nd on defense, and 40th in kicking. The Devils are 108th in FBS, including 91st on offense, 115th on defense, and 89th in kicking.
Miami has scored 32.9 points per game (34th of 130 FBS teams), and allowed 30.1 (91st in FBS) PPG on defense. The Devils are scoring 24.0 PPG (100th in FBS) and allowing 39.1 PPG (112th in FBS). Duke is 3-8 on the season but even worse, the Devils are 0-7 in the ACC.
David Cutcliffe’s ‘pro style’ offense requires a Daniel Jones type at quarterback and he’s failed to find success at the position since Jones left for the NFL Draft. Gunnar Holmberg was the latest experiment at QB and has completed 67.7% of his passes on 7.6 yards per attempt, but has only seven touchdowns with seven interceptions.
Mataeo Durant has been a star for Duke, even with how poorly they’ve performed otherwise. Durant has 1,165 rushing yards on five yards per carry and 11 TD’s from scrimmage. QB Jordan Moore has three rushing TD’s on 5.1 yards per carry.
Duke doesn’t have a deep threat that should make you worry, but with James Williams out and the way the cornerbacks are playing, plus Diaz’s middle of field always open approach... Duke could find someone on Saturday.
Duke’s most reliable receivers are Jake Bobo and Jalon Calhoun. Bobo has 71 catches but only one TD which seems like the lowest ratio in the history of the world. Calhoun has three TD’s and averages 13.2 yards per catch.
Above- As we can all attest from the Dan Enos regime, when you run long, drawn out play-actions it gives the defense time to bring pressure. The 1st read is running a 10+ yard out... that’s not a quick enough rhythm throw and VT gets to the QB with 5.
Above- When Duke does get time, this post route goes for an explosive play TD. Diaz’s middle of field open defense could get hurt if Duke can protect against pressure.
Above- Front side zone read option. Duke QB takes this 30+ for a TD. Mixing up the reads could be deadly against a sloppy Miami defense.
Above- I recommend you watch how damn hard Durant runs. Duke doesn’t do a great job of blocking for him but he’s bouncing off of, cutting away from, and running through defenders. If Miami’s back seven isn’t ready to tackle him, he could turn out a great game.
Duke linebacker Shaka Heyward has logged 87 tackles, 10 TFL’s and three sacks in ‘21. DeWayne Carter leads the Devils in sacks with 4.5, and R.J. Oben has four sacks on the season. Josh Blackwell leads the team in PBU’s with six, while two Dukies have five PBU’s. PBU data is on Diaz’s “havoc” stats list. Carter also has four forced fumbles this season.
Duke has had some success in kick returns averaging over 21 yards per return from Jaylen Stinson. Andres Borregales needs to kick touchbacks versus the Devils. Duke has struggled on punt returns, not that Lou Hedley gives people a chance at a return very often. The Devils kicker Charlie Ham has missed six field goals on the season.
Above- I was in the stands for this one and you could see it coming open from the jump, but Duke never felt Jahmyr Gibbs on the wheel. Get Jaylan Knighton out there and see the same result, a 77 yard TD. Mesh with a wheel is a great Air Raid play and Lashlee has dialed it up already.
Above- Just think of this as Van Dyke’s favorite smash concept. It’s essentially the same thing. GT runs it with two fin routes instead of the one zig-out but the goal is to get the #3 (most inside receiver) on a corner with plenty of space.
Above- this is a drive concept, which is like shallow cross but the Dig and the Cross are coming from the same side instead of opposite sides. The RB picks up the blitz and Knighton has to either improve on this, or Thad Franklin or Cody Brown need more burn in situations where the RB is needed in pass pro.
Above- The Hokies run split zone, bounce it outside, and take one to the house against Duke. Knighton will be looking to pop big outside runs and they should go vs. Duke.
There is no way the ‘Canes should lose to the Blue Devils. Miami s a 20+ point favorite per Las Vegas and per ESPN, Miami has a 90.3% chance of beating Duke on Saturday. Duke is bad at just about everything but running the football, which could be the way in to beating Miami’s bad run defense and constant missed tackles.
However, I expect Tyler Van Dyke and Rhett Lashlee to pull out the stops and score enough to offset the Duke running game and overcome Miami’s lack of run game. Explosive plays have been Miami’s thing and I can see them working for Diaz and Lashlee against a Duke team that just isn’t talented enough to keep up with Miami’s youth movement.
Prediction: Miami by 20.