The Miami Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Panthers have had a bitter history in the past few years.
From Pitt spoiling a potential Hurricane playoff run to Miami winning off of a passing touchdown with under a minute left, If you’re a Hurricanes supporter, you’d realize that there’s plenty at stake this game for the remainder of the season. A Miami loss can show this is just another underperforming season, and negatively affect the rest of the year.
A UM win, however, can prove that this team is back on their feet with a very motivated mindset.
Miami’s loss to Clemson was atrocious, but what else would you expect going up against a national powerhouse, which has been at the top of college football for half a decade. Plus, the Hurricanes have a brand new offensive system, a new quarterback and a solid defense that’s still not equipped to withstand an opposing offense with multiple generational talents.
Who needs to step up for the Hurricanes?
With quarterback Kenny Pickket (ankle) out for the Panthers, it’s an opportunity for the Hurricanes to take advantage of inexperienced signal-caller Joey Yellen, a redshirt freshman.
Al Blades Jr. – and Co. will have a lot of pressure put on them throughout the game, as the secondary gets a lighter opponent in comparison to last week’s Heisman frontrunner in Trevor Lawrence.
Bubba Bolden – Bolden, last week’s ACC Defensive Player of the Week, has been on a rampage lately, undoubtedly the most impressive in UM’s defensive group. While he won’t likely block two field goals again, he’ll surely bring it all he’s got on every possession, exactly what Miami desires.
Zach McCloud – McCloud is another name to keep your eye on. The redshirt senior looked solid in the first three games of the season, but really struggled against Clemson. He only had a total of one tackle and looked very poor overall. He struggled to get off blockers or get through them and make tackles, which will be something he will need to change.
D’Eriq King – King and pretty much any of his receivers will need to improve from last week. Offensive Coordinator Rhett Lashlee should look to get as many targets involved as possible. Last week, Miami saw eight different players with receptions, disappointing in comparison to 11 versus Florida State just a few weeks back.
Pitt saw some inconsistency last week versus Boston College in the secondary, allowing 358 yards in the air and three passing touchdowns. King and Lashlee must expose that defensive unit of the Panthers and tear them apart.
Will Mallory – With tight end Brevin Jordan, Miami’s most efficient target, out with a right shoulder injury, expect Mallory to be loose from the jump. King has shown his willingness to target his tight ends specifically in the first quarter and on third-down conversions. We could be in store for a great outing from the junior.
Questions to ask:
What every viewer will need to focus on will be if this Miami team is demoralized after the Clemson loss, or hungrier for a win. How will the Hurricanes bounce back? Will King improve off a loss? Will Miami’s defense prove themselves worthy of national attention?
These questions should be answered by roughly 3:00 p.m. ET.