The Miami Hurricanes wrap up their regular season on Senior Night at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday, November 26th. The game kicks off at 8:00pm on the ACC Network.
The Hurricanes are 5-6 (3-4 in the ACC) and coming off a 40-10 loss to the Clemson Tigers. The Panthers are 7-4 (4-3 in the ACC). Pitt some how lost to Georgia Tech, but managed to beat Duke and UVA- which The U couldn’t do.
DraftKings has Miami as a six point home underdog on Senior Night.
According to Bill Connelly’s SP+, the Hurricanes are 72nd overall, 82nd on offense, 65th on defense, and 3rd in kicking. The Panthers are 45th overall, 46th on offense, 61st on defense, and 48th in kicking.
Pitt has scored 29.3 points per game (59th of 131 in FBS), and are allowing 24.1 PPG (46th in FBS). Miami is scoring 24.3 PPG (92nd in FBS) and the ‘Canes are allowing 25.4 PPG (58th in FBS).
Miami is currently 114th in Points Per Play, while Pitt is 57th. That means the Panthers are much more explosive on offense- even without Kenny Pickett (NFL) and Jordan Addison (USC).
Miami is 103rd in penalties per game, while Pitt is 118th. This is going to be another sloppy mess of a game for Miami and the ACC Coastal.
QB Kedon Slovis and OC Frank Cignetti Jr. haven’t put up the Mark Whipple and Kenny Pickett numbers from ‘22. Slovis averages 7.4 yards per pass and has thrown only seven TD’s with eight INT’s. Miami doesn’t have to worry about a mobile QB as Pitt is running the same bad offense Miami wants to run, but doing it better.
RB Israel Abanikanda has rushed for over 1300 yards this season, 5.9 per carry and has scored 18 TD’s on the ground. Abanikanda has also caught a TD and averaged 13.8 yards per catch. Backup Vincent Davis has rushed for 5.5 yards per carry and Rodney Hammond Jr. has picked up 4.2 per carry.
WR Jared Wayne has only caught two TD’s, but averages 18.3 yards per catch. Wayne is the explosive play receiver Miami has been missing. TE Gavin Bartholomew is six-foot-four and has caught two TD’s on 14.5 yards per catch.
Above- Pitt scores on 1st and goal with split zone. The back plays off an aggressive ILB and cuts back under the kick-out by the TE / the overhang for Duke goes WAY TOO DEEP.
Above- Pitt has tall receivers and they’ll be against DJ Ivey who struggles on deep balls and Te’Cory Couch who is five-foot-eight. James Williams could cancel out a tight end but he’s regressed.
Above- Slovis to Waaaayne for a big 1st down. Looks like Shallow Cross with Wayne on the hunt-dig over the middle.
Above- Duke gets caught rolling their safety to the boundary and the #2 WR threat to the field runs up the seam while his #3 threat breaks off short to draw the LB down. Kinchens I can see sticking with this but Avantae and James Williams are another story.
Above- Slovis doing Slovisian things. He’s a turnover machine as the ACC Coastal went from offensive sparks to duds with Van Dyke, Brennan Armstrong, Jeff Sims, and Slovis all tanking. Drake Maye has been the lone star QB in the Coastal in ‘22.
The Panthers defensive line has been dominant since Pat Narduzzi hired Charlie Partridge. Calijah Yancey has logged 14 tackles for loss with seven sacks in ‘22 alone. The Miami O-Line has no chance in stopping Yancey. None.
Sirvocea Dennis has 88 tackles, 10.5 TFL’s and six sacks this season. Dennis is a dominate linebacker, not unlike Jeremiah Trotter Jr from Clemson. Dennis also has three PBU’s and two forced fumbles.
Pitt has only intercepted seven passes this season, Erick Hallett has three picks and nine PBU’s. AJ Woods has 13 PBU’s and an interception. Defensive lineman John Morgan is tied for the team lead in forced fumbles with two of his own. Morgan also has six TFL’s and three sacks.
Above- Whenever you throw a ton of bubbles and smokes the old “money” play is a banger. Shoulder shrug the screen and hit the “wheel” type route deep. The Pitt nickel couldn’t get his hips turned and re-accel fast enough.
Above- RPO fade ball for a big grab by Duke. This is a Tyler Van Dyke type of game if he’s healthy. If not, Jacurri Brown has to do more than be a single wing QB. He needs to figure out his follow through on deep balls and connect versus float them 5-yards too deep.
Above- Riley Leonard does all this work just for his receiver to drop the touchdown. He gets “Miami’d” with a big drop.
Above- Dudes running free from bunched up WR sets, Gattis has to be excited to see that on film.
Above- If only Josh Gattis’ “offense” threw to the running backs! A novel idea.
Above- Duke goes with the oopty-oop for the 2-point tie and it goes down in flames. Narduzzi’s defense shuts it down and Pitt escapes 28-26.
The Panthers kicking game is okay. Kicker Ben Sauls has made all 39 PAT attempts, and hit on 15-of-19 field goals. Their three punters are averaging around 40 yards per attempt. Marlin Devonshire has 9.9 yards per punt return but has taken one back for a TD.
Above- Like Clemson, Pitt is susceptible to a blocked punt. Miami hasn’t blocked a punt since Tremaine Mack was in orange and green (hyperbole, but man it’s been a while since a blocked punt that I can remember / in a game that mattered!)
Some issues with the shield punt is when the punt team goes bunched with only two back in the shield, it’s easy to get pressure without that 3rd member of The Shield.
Above- Another punt for Pitt, this one almost blocked, but the Duke punt returner hesitates. The ball hits him and Pitt recovers. This isn’t a TD as it’s marked dead where he recovered it but still a massive play for Pitt.
Above- You’d think a guy like Narduzzi, “old school” type, would have his kicking game locked down tighter.
The Canyonero keys to victory from the summer were:
1- Protect the QB. Pitt has 14 players with at least one sack on defense. Yancey leads the way with seven sacks and will dominate John Campbell in pass rush.
2- Must stop explosive plays. Jared Wayne and Israel Abanikanda will give Miami’s defense fits. Luckily for Miami, the struggling Slovis isn’t a run threat. Pitt will have to earn those 3rd and 4th down conversions instead of picking them up on easy scrambles.
3- Must make explosive plays. Pitt plays a safe defensive style that rushes five on most “and long” passing situations and plays a safe cover four / quarters behind it. The ‘Canes have a dead offense that doesn’t put together scoring drives, nor big plays.
The summer prediction was Miami by four. As you’d imagine, I’m taking that one back. Pitt by 6 is my final verdict. Miami is all but done this season and Pitt still has a chance at a solid bowl game. Pat Narduzzi is going to have the Jacurri Brown single wing offense game planned up and stopped in its tracks.
Prediction: Pitt by 6.