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3 Keys to Victory: Miami Vs Arkansas State

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Miami is a 17 point favorite this afternoon at Sun Life, but they still need to pay attention to detail against a better than average opponent.

Mike Ehrmann

The 'Canes return to action at 3:30 EST this afternoon (ESPNU) Vs the 3 time defending Sun Belt Champions.

The Red Wolves are also 1-1 and coming off a contest where they hung tough with the Tennessee Volunteers.  So they will not be intimidated.

What does Miami need to do to make sure they aren't the victims of a colossal upset?

Here are my three keys:

#1 - Beware of the running QB

State QB Freddi Knighten loves to call his own #.  He is averaging right at 85 yards a contest on the ground thus far this season. Over the years, dual threat QBs have given the Hurricanes fits.  Add to the mix that Head Coach Blake Anderson (a former UNC assistant) loves to run tempo, and the Red Wolves game plan will likely call for a lot of read option, QB draws, and scrambles off plays that are snapped early in the play clock.   The UM defense absolutely needs to be on its' toes all game.  They also need to maintain some semblance of containment on pass rushes as well. Thus far, the front 7 of Miami might the team's greatest strength, but that will be put to the test again today. The good news for UM however is that all-world LB Denzel Perryman is built for this kind of game.  Speedy 210 pound OLB Jermaine Grace has played well of late too, and Al Golden has promised his PT would increase. Knighten is listed at 5-11 189 pounds, so he might not stand up to the punishment of the 'Canes can land some big hits.  However if he has a big day on the ground, things could get sticky for the home team.

#2 - The O line needs to step up

When Anderson was asked earlier this week about the biggest difference between facing the Volunteers and the 'Canes, he pointed out that Tennessee was more prone to throw the ball often as opposed to the run heavy 'Canes, and thus his team matched up better with UT than Miami because of the lack of size and depth of his front 7.  The Hurricanes offensive line has been one of the biggest disappointments on the team so far this season though.  Time to step up! True freshman Kc McDermott is steadily increasing his PT at RT, where Taylor Gadbois has had some struggles. At RG, Alex Gall is pushing Danny Isidora.  Whomever plays up front needs to improve and cut down  the penalties, the failed pass protections, and the spotty run blocking. Duke Johnson can only break so many tackles on his own, and Brad Kaaya needs as many clean pockets as he can get.

#3 - Time for the Special Teams to be Special

Week 1 UM gave up a kick off return TD to Louisville.  Last week a bad long snap on a punt resulted in FAMU's only points.  If they continue this trend, it is eventually going to cost them a close game. Miami has too many good athletes to not own a distinct advantage on ST most weeks.  With Stacey Coley out this week with injury, watch out today for Braxton Berrios to break a long punt return in his place.

Enjoy the game folks!