Saturday we’ll get back to our regular Saturday afternoon schedule of ACC matches when we travel down to Hard Rock stadium to face the Miami Hurricanes. At present they are doing this (charts). Note how well they jumped up into the Top-10 in the first half of the season:
You can see their season has been one with two faces – they started off with four straight wins and then changed court sides and went 0-4 in their last four games. Beating the likes of Florida A&M, Florida Atlantic and Appalachian State is no great shakes… although Appalachian State did beat Michigan some years ago.
But let’s not sneeze at their work against better teams over the last month either – look at the scores and you’ll see that they had a one (!) point loss to Florida State, a three-point loss at ND, a seven point loss to North Carolina and a 11 point loss to VT.
It really looks to me like they are almost up on par with us as far as the season’s play so far – we have one more win than them but they have played the better teams on their schedule very well, as have we.
I do not think a five game losing streak is going to go over well with the Miami fans or Mark Richt, their head coach. The fact that we play them down there is even more nervous making.
But they really aren’t scoring all that many points when you look at their non-garbage games. In those they averaged 51 ppg… but against the better programs they drop to only 22 ppg. With any other Pitt team I’d say that was a great thing and would make the game a win for Pitt.
But that isn’t the case this year as we are the stage where teams and QBs have career best or season high games. “We make the mediocre look strong!” is our new catchphrase and we are damn good at it.
Here is some info about how are past opponent QBs have done against us as put up against the other games they played. Read it and weep…
Note what is happening in our losses – we give up an average of 466 yards per game in the air. In our four wins against quality opponents (I dropped Villanova from this list) we have given up 240 ypg.
A point here is that we can win even with giving up more passing yards then that school usually gets, that is thanks to a solid and good offense we have. But if we falter, and at that point means giving up more than 333 yards in the air, we are most likely in trouble.
Miami’s QB Brad Kayaa ( 147/238 for 1,984 yards; 13 TDs & 6 INTs for a 144.7 QB rating) is capable of that against our bargain basement pass defense which seems to be actually getting worse rather than better. Sure GT had less than 200 yards in the air but they are a run first team and that wasn’t too surprising.
But other than that we can point to only one half of play, the second against VA, where our pass defense players looked like they actually belonged in a FBS program.
If we lose this game the reason will be that QB Kayaa plays above his norm and plays well against our pass defense in getting his team inside our 20. For there is where this game is won or lost – our pass defense doesn’t give up a ton of passing TDs but we falter at run defense in-close (see below). That has been the approach other teams have used in our three losses… get passing gains all over the field and then running the ball in for the TD.
It is Miami’s running game that will probably fail them on Saturday. The are currently ranked 95th in the nation with 1,191 yards on 261 carries for an average of 4.56 and a ypg average of 149.8.
While he isn’t the hurricane’s leading rusher their TB Joe Yearby has quietly racked up a 6.25 ypc average and that is with 80 carries so not based on one or two big runs. He’s scored six TDs and quick and strong combined.
It will be tough for them to match up against our stingy rushing defense which is giving up only 103 ypg. But here is something disappointing with that rushing defense – we are also giving up 16 TDs on the ground (18 all of last season) and that is the reason our defense is dead last in Red Zone defense with the opponent scoring 0.968.
Folks – that is a very important stat especially when our opponents are able to pass their way into our 20 yard line rather easily.It is disappointing that our defense can stop the run very well all over the field save for deep in our own territory.
On the other hand Miami is pretty terrible at Red Zone Offense in scoring only 78% of the time so that will be interesting to watch. Remember that stat factors in field goals (3 points) vs touchdowns (6 points).
Here is the rest of what Miami has done over the course of this year. Not super impressive but coming off a four game losing streak and playing this game on their home turf might fire them up and work against us… or not.
All the numbers tend to point to Pitt but I can’t get last year’s loss to Miami out of my mind. They were weren’t that great last season and then beat us up pretty badly. We were 8-3 (6-1 ACC) going into that game with a shot at the ACC Coastal until Miami ruined it.
|Miami Team Stats – Through games 11/02/2016|
|Team Passing Efficiency||37||143.72|
|Passing Yards Allowed||30||203.1|
|Team Passing Efficiency Defense||44||123.36|
|3rd Down Conversion Pct||102||0.353|
|4th Down Conversion Pct||T-89||0.444|
|3rd Down Conversion Pct Defense||50||0.369|
|4th Down Conversion Pct Defense||T-11||0.308|
|Red Zone Offense||T-99||0.788|
|Red Zone Defense||T-85||0.870|
|First Downs Offense||103||151|
|First Downs Defense||42||158|
|Fewest Penalties Per Game||94||7.25|
|Fewest Penalty Yards Per Game||117||69.63|
|Time of Possession||115||26:23|
Prediction Tread tomorrow – Let’s Go Pitt!