Know the Enemy: Miami Rain Showers

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…

passing-nowNote 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
Stat Rank Value
Total Offense 71 400.9
Rushing Offense 95 148.9
Passing Offense 49 252.0
Team Passing Efficiency 37 143.72
Scoring Offense 44 32.9
Total Defense T-27 354.1
Rushing Defense 50 151.0
Passing Yards Allowed 30 203.1
Team Passing Efficiency Defense 44 123.36
Scoring Defense T-16 18.9
Turnover Margin T-43 0.25
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
Net Punting 24 40.53
Punt Returns 12 13.67
Kickoff Returns 108 18.40
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!


30 thoughts on “Know the Enemy: Miami Rain Showers

  1. Look at that Poll jump. Th(e)(ug) U goes from #25 to #14 based on beating who ?? Florida Atlantic, Florida A & M ( a D2 team ) and App. State (just moved to D1). You got to be kidding me. They were ranked 14th by beating these 3 teams. lmao

    then they move up to #10 by beating Georgia Tech (who had beat nobody of note)

    This is a classic example of protecting other teams, they were moving Miami up to protect FSU and then provided FSU won, which they did, they got bumped up from #23, back up to #14. And then that protects Clemson in the then upcoming Clem/FSU game. By that time FSU was back up to #12 and that then protects both teams.


  2. Easier to try and remember what QB hasn’t tore Pitt to pieces. I’m thinking the 2 stiffs from Akron who haven’t played at QB since, one was maybe Travon whatshisname, that Paulie recruited. About the only one he did.


  3. Ike.. was there and remembering NP having his 1st pass picked… 2years earlier I think L Pitts fumbled the
    Opening kickoff giving Miami a short field


  4. ~ BigB
    if nothing else we now have definitive proof from the thousands of email dumps that is most certainly true.

    Rigged as can be.


  5. Let’s see. we won in Miami in 2014, and before that it was like almost a lifetime ago. The 1963 season I think.

    And of course the 2014 team had two little caveats. does Wisky hire a coach coming off a 5-7 season and the much littler of caveats was Pitt becoming toilet bowl eligible.


  6. Fade pass right
    Fade pass left.
    If I was the thugs from Miami, the offensive game plan would only include a run to give the wideouts time to catch their breath.


  7. Lets keep the politics out please… I use this as an escape from real life as do others. There are other places for that.

    Last years game:

    “Miami (8-4, 5-3 ACC) improved to 4-1 under Scott after racing to a 20-point halftime lead then holding on. Brad Kaaya threw for 261 yards and a touchdown and ran for another, Michael Badgley tied a school record with five field goals and Joseph Yearby ran for 99 yards as the Hurricanes survived when Pitt’s last-gasp lateral was fumbled out of bounds as time expired.”


  8. Notre Dame defense equally horrid as ours this year, Miami looked totally disinterested despite NBC hyping the game. Once that PAT vs Free Shoes Univ. was missed they mailed in the season. Conner should have a repeat of 2014.


  9. Gasman got it absolutely right, fade pass right then fade pass left all day long. If Pitt doesn’t bat down some of those jump balls we will be chalking up another loss. However, if the opposite is the case and we win a good percentag of those fade pass plays we have got an excellent chance in this game.


  10. I haven’t seen the required ACC injury report from Miami & Pitt from yesterday. Is Maddox still listed as “out” or “doubtful”?


  11. The initial football polls are futile. If Pitt had the schedule that WVU had, we would still be ranked .. with the same record they do. Note they lost at Ok St just like we did … only by 10 points more. Miami followed the same formula, play a bunch of patsies for the non-con. It usually all come out in the wash.


  12. Dr Tom, Corrected Pitt injury report:

    QUESTIONABLE: Rori Blair, Bam Bradley, Avonte Maddox.

    OUT: Z. Challingsworth, Phillipie Motley, Elijah Zeise


  13. maybe our defense is cursed .. note that all of the above are defensive players except backup WR Challingsworth. And of course, the above doesn’t include starting DE Hendrix who is out for the year


  14. Miami has shown the historical tendency to mail in the season towards the end when the Hurricanes aren’t in the national discussion as one of the nation’s top 25 teams. With their new coach, it is kind of tuff to figure out whether they will be able to buck this four game slide and stay in the hunt to become bowl eligible.

    Likewise, the Panthers themselves need to refocus “The Pursuit” on attainable goals since the ACC Coastal crown seems to be out of reach now with the VT loss.

    This Pitt team however seems to be a resilient bunch. They have so many things clicking. Conner is getting stronger, week upon week. Henderson is proving to be a new offensive weapon in the Pitt arsenal. Pitt’s O line just doing a great job of keeping Peterman off his back. Then O’Neill doing his TD thing is amazing. Price is a sack monster while Soto has developed well as an interior lineman while Jarrett has become an unmovable fixture clogging up the middle too. If we could just solve the secondary’s huge issues this team could be a contender!

    Well, here is a game that is very winnable, if we can just play a complete game. This is all about coaching. Keeping this squad motivated is job one. Fixing the secondary’s issues is a close 2nd. I’m happy to see Hamlin now on the field. Hopefully he has a successful coming out party with a “start” in this game. I’d play this kid hard from here on out.

    I see this one depending on who comes out ready to punch the other guy in the mouth, right off the bat. We need to have a start like we did against PSU not the one we had last week against VT. We get going fast and I see Miami losing interest. Hammer the Hurricanes!


  15. Right you are Dr Tom, the last 2 times Miami came to Heinz, they seemed pretty focused and the Hurricanes blew us out of the stadium in the first 20 minutes. In both games, we made a futile 4th quarter attempt to get back. But the last time we played there, we started fast … and they didn’t respond at all


  16. Hi all. First time poster. Have really enjoyed lurking the blog. It features good discussion without all of the trolling activity. Anyway, it’s interesting when you look at the Sagarin ratings. There is a cluster of teams ranked in the 20s:

    25 / Oklahoma State
    26 / Penn State
    27 / Miami
    28 / North Carolina

    Four Pitt opponents in consecutive order (Pitt is 36th). Prior results suggest yet another close game.

    I’d like to think that Pitt is owed some good luck in close games, but if I’m honest with myself, PSU, GT, and Marshall can’t be swept under the rug.


  17. Provo, I assume this is some type of power rating. As you probably know, PSU, UNC and Ok St are all ranked in the FB polls .. PSU is 12th in the initial selection committee poll


  18. That’s right wwb. The rankings that I posted are from Jeff Sagarin’s computer model.

    I thought that it was interesting that he rates Miami as even with those other teams, while the human polls rate them far lower, probably because 6-2 just looks a lot better than 4-4.

    As has been the case lately, Vegas pegs this as another <7 point margin game. Keep the antacid handy.


  19. As bad as Pitt’s secondary has been this year, it is going to become a strength of this team in years to come. Think about Whitehead, Hamlin, Parris Ford and maybe Lamont Wade all starting in the near future.


  20. Never understand why Miami didn’t hire the interim brother coach – to hire the most under-achieving head coach since Foge.

    The red zone defense is a definite concern. Makes one think Soto/Jarrett and the LB’s are just mediocre college players… looking at the defensive stats… it all makes sense. DB’s 3 out of top 5 tacklers. 3rd leading tackler is a walk-on. Galambos stats are just pathetic. 1.5 TFL. From your starting MLB. This guy won’t be missed at all next year.


  21. I don’t feel good about this one. Miami has really good athletic receivers. Coley has abused us before. They have speed. All it takes is one big play to get momentum going for them. And I just can’t see them losing 5 in a row. I actually would have liked our chances better if Miami would have beat ND last week.
    I hope I’m wrong.


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