The Miami Hurricanes are on a heater with back-to-back overtime victories. The 6-2 Hurricanes are now 2-2 in the ACC. The NC State Wolfpack are 5-3 (2-2 ACC) and are coming off a win over the Clemson Tigers.
Miami heads to Raleigh, NC on Saturday, November 4th for an 8pm kickoff on the ACC Network. This is Miami’s first road game since losing to UNC in Chapel Hill. The temperature for Saturday will be in the 50’s around kickoff.
According to Bill Connelly’s SP+ metrics, Miami is the 23rd best team in FBS while NC State is 52nd. The ‘Canes offense is 25th matched up against NCSU’s 33rd ranked defense. The Wolfpack’s offense is 79th lined up against Miami’s 28th ranked defense. The kicking games are both excellent- Miami is 1st in FBS while NCSU is 6th.
The Hurricanes are scoring 33.6 points per game, good for 23rd in FBS. NC State is scoring only 22.4 PPG, which is 91st in the country. Miami is allowing 21.9 PPG (35th in FBS) while NCSU is allowing 25 PPG (52nd in FBS).
Miami’s offense has been blatantly more potent than NC State’s however, the Wolfpack are trending up in scoring while Miami has been trending downward. Miami is 16th in Points Per Play and 15th in Yards Per Play, while the Pack are 86th in PPP and 115th in YPP.
Turnovers is an area where NC State has a clear advantage over Miami. Miami is 82nd in turnover margin per game with -0.3, while NCSU is 46th with +0.3.
The ‘Canes are just slightly more penalized than the Wolfpack. Miami is 102nd in penalties per game with 6.9, NCSU is 84th with 6.4.
If turnovers, penalties, explosive plays and kicking determine games- Miami has the edge in explosives and the teams are close to even in the kicking game. NC State kick returner Julian Gray is explosive with 28.6 yards per return and a touchdown- this isn’t the weekend to not kick touchbacks from Andres Borregales.
NCSU kicker Brayden Narveson is 9-of-11 on FG’s and a perfect 24-of-24 on PAT’s. Both teams have solid punting situations with little in the way of return yardage.
NCSU OC Robert Anae has bumped Brennan Armstrong out for MJ Morris. Both have struggled at QB for the Pack but Morris had the lightbulb come on a little more against Clemson. Morris finished averaging 6.9 yards per attempt with two touchdowns and no turnovers.
One benefit for Miami is that NCSU can’t run the football. Michael Allen rushed seven times for 19 yards, and WR Kevin Concepcion was the run game’s bright spot hitting on a 50-yarder.
Concepcion is going to be a problem for Miami’s defense. If they struggle to tackle in space again he’s going to light up the scoreboard. Concepcion averaged 16.6 yards per catch with two touchdowns in the passing game. He’ll be their Tez Walker.
Clemson’s defense sacked NC State three times and logged eight tackles for loss. The O-Line isn’t great and guys like Rueben Bain Jr. should feast on the Pack’s front five.
Above- NC State’s offense hasn’t had a whole lot outside of new found start Kevin Concepcion. He breaks a 50-yard run above, and is the only weapon in their arsenal.
Above- Motion, slide route, using Concepcion’s speed and quickness. Miami has been weak in communication in the back end and has been prone to allowing these flat routes to create issues.
Above- Clemson was able to get after Morris at times. I want to see LB Mauigoa and Bain Jr. get to him even more. Make this young fella have to try to win the game on his arm.
Above- Backed inside of their -15 yard line, NCSU goes with a long developing play-action. It’s not a ‘back turn’ situation, but Morris doesn’t see anyone open right away. The RB and TE can’t block the Tigers defender. Wesley Bissainthe’s speed hasn’t been taken advantage of enough by Guidry so far.
Above- If Miami can’t tackle in space again this Concepcion guy is going to make them pay. He’s more explosive than Washington from UVA. He’s another Tez Walker. The plus thing for Miami is that the Pack doesn’t have 2-3 guys almost as good as him, he’s on his own to make plays.
On the flip side, the Pack defense held Clemson in check in a 24-17 win. QB Cade Klubnik threw two interceptions with zero touchdowns on 5.3 yards per pass attempt.
Tigers RB Will Shipley went out injured and RB Phil Mafah averaged 5.3 yards per carry with two touchdowns. Miami has to get the run game going with Mark Fletcher Jr.
Clemson did hit on a few explosive plays in the passing game, so if Tyler Van Dyke can cut down his bad throws big plays are there to be had. Beau Collins, Jake Briningstool, and Sage Ennis had receptions for 19+.
NC State’s 3-3-5 defense sacked Klubnik two times, picking up nine TFL’s and five PBU’s with a defensive touchdown to boot- on a Payton Wilson pick 6.
Above- If Van Dyke starts this has to be a concern. NCSU has a ball hawk ability under DC Tony Gibson. He’s always created turnovers, TFL’s and allowed some explosive plays. Risk-Reward type of style as a 3-3-5 DC.
Above- Miami is going to have to run hard against the Pack. It’s good to see some hard running can work. Get Javion Cohen and Cam McCormick out there leading and kicking out for Fletcher to run behind.
Above- When a defense is as aggressive as NC State’s is, you can beat them with RPO’s. The pop RPO tag from the slot works because the LB’s vacate and the safety is 25 yards deep. Drop that thing in the hole for Xavier Restrepo.
Above- Another positive for Miami vs. State is inside the +5 yard line. NCSU is a 3-3 team and they don’t adjust well to 13 personnel type looks. If Miami can get McCoy, McCormick, and Elijah Arroyo (is he out again?) on the field together they can dominate inside vs. the Pack.
Above- The pick six from Payton Wilson has to be a fear for Miami OC Shannon Dawson. Van Dyke keeps missing these nickels and linebackers in zone coverage who jump his passes.
Above- Van Dyke is prone to PBU’s and Dawson likes boundary side (the above is field side) screens to even shorter distances to cover. Space creates time isn’t a theme for Dawson apparently.
Above- So what’s open vs. the NCSU defense? Guard wrap and counter plays with hard nosed running from Fletcher. Miami has to tag on RPO’s to keep the overhangs from jumping in and creating havoc in the inside.
ESPN has Miami as a 66% favorite to knock off the Wolfpack. The Canyonero keys to victory from this summer were:
1- Where are the turnovers? We know where they are on offense, at every damn corner peeking around waiting to ruin a drive (or game) when it matters the most. But on defense, all of these blue chip guys can’t create a turnover? Kam Kinchens got back at it but James Williams, Daryl Porter Jr., and the rest of Lance Guidry’s crew need to create turnovers.
2- Establish the run game. You know Cristobal wants to, but it’ll need to happen. The thing that kept Clemson in the game vs. NCSU, and Miami in the game vs. UVA, was the run game. Hopefully Ajay Allen’s hamstring is okay and Mark Fletcher can stay healthy with Don Chaney and Henry Parrish seemingly done.
3- Win the kicking game. This isn’t the week to shank a field goal or a punt. It’s not the week to fail to boom touchbacks like Borregales has boomed all season. NC State will take advantage of kicking mistakes to beat Miami. A huge return would be nice from Ray Ray Joseph or Brashard Smith.
Prediction: In the summer I predicted NCSU by 6. I think Miami pulls this one out by 3.