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Film Forecast ‘23: Louisville at Miami

The Louisville Cardinals head to Hard Rock to face the Miami Hurricanes on senior night. The ‘Canes can once again play spoiler to ACC Championship Game hopes.

Duke v Louisville Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The Miami Hurricanes (6-4, 2-3 in the ACC) are hosting the Louisville Cardinals (9-1, 6-1 in the ACC) on Saturday, November 18th at noon on ABC. It is senior night for the ‘Canes, and they can play the spoiler to The Cards ACC Championship hopes with an upset win.

The Hurricanes are going to have to decide between another game with Tyler Van Dyke at quarterback, or taking a shot with Jacurri Brown behind center. Emory Williams is out for the year and Miami has a ton of work to do to find a suitable QB for the 2024 season.

The Doppler

Per Bill Connelly’s SP+ analytics, Miami is the 26th best team in FBS while Louisville is the favorite at 21st overall. The Miami offense is 42nd and going up against an 18th ranked Cards defense. The Cards offense is 33rd going against the 31st ranked Miami defense. Miami has the kicking advantage at 3rd in the country, while Louisville’s kicking is 65th.

Miami is 47th in FBS in points per game scoring 29.0 on the season. Louisville is 42nd with 30.1 PPG. Miami is 38th in FBS in points allowed per game, giving up 22.2; while Louisville is 18th and allowing 19.0.

In points per play, Louisville is 32nd in FBS, while Miami is 44th. In yards per play Miami is 33rd while Louisville is 24th.

Virginia v Miami Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

The Cards are only slightly less penalized than Miami as Louisville is 78th in FBS with 6.1 penalties per game. UM is 104th in FBS with 6.8 penalties per game.

Turnover margin is where you’ll see the biggest difference. The Cardinals are 24th in the country with +0.6, while Miami is 106th in FBS with -0.6 turnover margin per game.

The Josh Gattis Time of Possession Award has a slight nod to Miami. The U is 23rd in FBS while Louisville is 33rd, but both are in the 31 minute range per game.

When it comes to kicking, Miami has the lead over U of L. Andres Borregales is 31-of-32 on PAT’s and 19-of-22 on field goals. Cards kicker Brock Travelstead is 37-of-38 on PAT’s but 13-of-20 on FG’s. The punters are fairly equal as are the kick returners when Jawhar Jordan and Brashard Smith are returning KO’s.

Louisville Offense

QB Jack Plummer had a solid day against the UVA defense. Plummer finished with 8.2 yards per attempt, two touchdowns and one INT.

Jawhar Jordan was the workhorse back averaging 5.6 yards per carry on 17 attempts. Isaac Guerrendo hit big with a 73-yard touchdown run.

The Cards are a big play offense, hitting on double-digit long receptions from nine different skill guys versus Virginia. Ahmari Huggins-Bruce caught a 52-yard TD to set the tone on big plays.

The Cards allowed two sacks, five TFL’s, one PBU, and one defensive touchdown on a pick six that kept UVA alive. That’s something to consider with the streaky Kam Kinchens at safety looking to make the big play.

Above- The Brohm brothers aren’t shy about wanting to get their run game going. Jordan and Guerendo are averaging 6.9 and 6.4 yards per carry, respectively. They also have 18 combined TD runs.

Above- Post snap RPO’s scare me. Plummer freezes the DE with the run action. Then boots and has the keep or dump post-snap read. He dumps for a TD. If a LB / Safety plays the Q it’s an easy dump, sit back in coverage and he can just run in for a score. That’s why having even remotely mobile QB’s makes life hard on DCs.

Above- Plummer doesn’t want to run. He holds the ball forever and takes some bad 3rd down sacks. FSU’s Jordan Travis did the same thing vs. Miami.

Above- As an OC I was a big fan of stick, glance, and pop passes as RPO’s. LB’s vacate and DB’s have a hard time cutting under those throws.

Above- What’s open vs. the Cards offense? A pick 6. Plummer isn’t Van Dyke levels of wild, but he takes a lot of chances. Here it’s a “Madden Ball” where the LB jumps a throw that seems impossible for him to get.

Above- A quick play-fake with a half-roll and a strike on the post that splits the 2-high safeties. The Brohm and Plummer combo sure isn’t gun shy. Throw a pick 6, come back with deep shots.

Above- And then it’s counter for an explosive TD. Guerendo busts a 70+ yarder by being patient. Kick out, wrap, follow, house call. Miami defended the counter better vs. FSU than they had in a while, but Trey Benson still go some open.

Louisville Defense

The Cards defense watched Anthony Colandrea look like a future Heisman Trophy winner against them on a Thursday night game. Colandrea completed 10.1 yards per pass attempt with a touchdown but also threw an interception. Colandrea rushed for 89 yards (6.4 per carry) even after accounting for allowing four sacks.

Outside of Colandrea, the Hoos couldn’t run against the Cards. Louisville held Kobe Pace, Mike Hollins and Perris Jones to 2.2, 3.2 and 2.3 yards per carry with zero touchdowns between them.

UVA got theirs in the passing game via explosive plays. Five different Cavaliers had receptions of 12+ yards, including 17.2 yards per catch from Malik Washington (with a TD), and 21.3ypc from Malachi Fields. UVA did lose one fumble on the day, too.

Louisville held UVA to 4-of-15 on 3rd down but surrendered 2-of-3 on 4th down. The Cards defense came away with four sacks, nine TFL’s and three PBU’s.

Above- Louisville’s D is aggressive and penetrates like Miami. Trick plays can work, but the Cards read, react, and tackle well. I would run them deeper rather than underneath.

Above- If Miami plays Brown, the QB run game may matter. But if they play Van Dyke, well, it won’t matter at all. But it’s open! Both designed ands scrambled.

Above- So What’s Open vs. L’ville’s D? Play-action deep shots. UVA’s run game never really got going outside of the QB, but Miami’s should get going better than the Hoos.

Above- Ah, this looks familiar. An INT in the red zone forced in between defenders.

Above- Creativity would be nice from Miami’s offense, especially in short yardage where they’ve struggled to pick up 1-2 yards in key 4th down spots.

Above- Keep Jacolby George going as the deep threat and go-to receiver. He was a weapon on deep throws, screens, in the red zone, and on short throws.

Above- What do you worry about with the Cards D? Ashton Gillotte. 33 games played, 28 TFL’s, 22 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 3 fumbles recovered and a PBU in three years.

Kicking Game

Miami and Louisville are the battle of the kicking game mishaps. Muffed punt returns, missed FG’s, but also superlative plays like Brashard Smith kick returns that get you hyped for a possible TD every time he touches the ball.

Above- The U of L fake field goal is a bust vs. UVA but does Miami have the attention to detail in the kicking game to stop this play?

Above- The one kicking mistake Miami hasn’t allowed is a blocked punt. But NC State sure got close a few times. L’ville is going to try, especially if Miami is this far backed up into the -10 yard line.

The Forecast

ESPN’s win percentage has Miami as a slight favorite- 53.7% to be exact, while Las Vegas gives the slight edge to the Cards as road favorites.

The Canyonero keys to victory from the summer were:

1- Pressure Jack Plummer. Miami has one of the best pass rushers in the game in freshman Rueben Bain Jr. Plummer isn’t mobile like Jordan Travis, and Miami got to him on key 3rd downs. Getting pressure on Plummer and forcing him into some bad choices will be the key to beating Louisville.

2- Establish the run. UVA was unable to run on the Cards, Notre Dame’s Audric Estime was held to two yards per carry, but Georgia Tech did average 4.6 yards per carry as a team (including sacks). Mario wants to win bully ball, well this is the time to prove it against Ashton Gillotte and the Cards.

3- Win the kicking game. Even the parts of the kicking game that have been strong at times have had issues in clutch situations. Borregales suffered a miss on a bad hold vs. FSU, there was a muffed kick return this season, enough punt return issues from the entire team, Keon Coleman’s punt return to set up the FSU win... if how you do kicking is how you do everything- it explains a lot about Miami football right now. But a blocked punt hasn’t happened, yet.

My summer prediction was Miami by 3, but I’m shifting that to Louisville by 3 with Williams out at QB. Brown and Van Dyke haven’t provided with with a ton of confidence in their ability to win close games.