It’s gameday. The No. 17 Miami Hurricanes will face the 18th ranked Louisville Cardinals Saturday night in search for their second win of the season.
305Sports’ UM writers gave their score prediction and analysis entering Week 2.
Anthony Yero, Lead Hurricanes Writer
38-30 Miami: Points, points and more points. Just like last year, I expect the Hurricanes to light up the scoreboard against the Cardinals as they look to open up the playbook following a pretty vanilla offensive scheme in Week 1.
Receivers Mike Harley and Dee Wiggins both racked up two touchdowns against UL last season, thanks to the deep ball. Expect D’Eriq King, who missed both of his deep throws last week, to let some of his passes fly against a defense that allowed 250.2 passing yards per game in 2019.
Louisville gave up an 212.2 rushing yards per game in 2019, which is music to the ears of the Hurricanes, who notched 337 rushing yards last week and averaged 6.2 yards per carry against UL last season.
What’s my concern? Cornerbacks.
Tutu Atwell, the best receiver in college football, recorded 142 receiving yards and a touchdown against UM last season. And while he was relatively quite last week, it’s hard to pinpoint a Hurricanes cornerback that’ll be able to maintain him. Dez Fitzpatrick is also a deep ball target for UL and will likely to damage.
We’re aware that both teams can score, but in late game situations in tightly contested matches, the fate of the game could very well come down to the special teams unit.
Miami has adjusted their special teams woes from last season, and aside from a muffed punt from Mark Pope, their outing was perfect in Week 1. Punter Lou Hedley downed two of his six punts inside the UAB 20-yard line last week and averaged 47.5 yards per punt with a long of 55 yards.
Kicker Jose Borregales hit his only field-goal attempt and went four-for-four in PAT’s in Week 1. And all six of his kickoffs went back for a touchback.
On the other hand, Louisville’s punter dropped a punt in the first quarter last week and had another blocked in the second half. Both mistakes resulted in Western Kentucky touchdowns. The Cardinals are also breaking in a kicker who didn’t attempt a field goal last week.
If it comes down to the wire, I expect Miami to come out victorious.
Michael Yero, Lead Hurricanes Writer
38-35 Miami: Considering each teams’ Week 1 performance, it seems as if Saturday’s primetime contest will be determined by the outings of their quarterbacks.
For UM, D’Eriq King’s playmaking and ability to escape the pocket and gain yards are traits that make him one of the better signal callers the program has seen in past seasons. Still, against a talented Louisville squad, we’ll have to see more on one specific area of his game.
King seemed a bit sluggish when throwing the ball, overthrowing receivers Mike Harley and Jeremiah Payton on two plays that could’ve led to scores for the Hurricanes. Some of those inaccurate throws ultimately cost Miami in the first half, a legitimate factor to why the score was so tight.
The redshirt senior should look to eye Brevin Jordan, who caught the ball just 3 times against UAB, totaling 51 yards and a touchdown. Being one of Miami’s better players on the offensive end, King has to target Jordan on those key third down situations to prevent costly possessions.
As for the opposing team, Louisville’s Malik Cunningham caught my eye last week against Western Kentucky. Whether it be at the 1-yard-line or a hefty third down conversion, Cunningham makes big-time plays, a factor that could play dividends late into the game. In my eyes, Cunningham excelled on the passing and run game in Week 1, proving his case as an early contender for the Heisman Trophy.
Mind you, they played a Conference USA team, so it won’t likely be the same against Miami. We’ll just have to wait and see.
It’ll surely be a shootout, but I have the Canes making it out victorious.
Jose Zarraluqui, Hurricanes Writer
37-34 Miami: Miami’s matchup against Louisville is very intriguing. Both teams have very explosive quarterbacks, high tempo offenses and talented receivers. To even have a shot at winning this game, D’Eriq King needs to play well all-around. Last week against UAB, King looked great on the ground, but never seemed to get it clicking in the air, something he can’t let slip tonight.
Tight end Brevin Jordan also needs to step up, considering that the nationally televised game serves as an opportunity to improve his draft stock. Will Malory should get involved in the passing game as well, helping UM feature a 1-2 punch at the tight end spot. Miami’s receivers, such as Dee Wiggins and Mike Harley need to perform how they did in last years game versus the Cardinals, in which they combined for 201 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns.
Considering that Louisville’s defense has shown inconsistency in past contests, it’s a positive note for the Canes. Still, that doesn’t open the door for costly turnovers for Miami, as it’s almost certain that the Cardinals will make them pay.
The defense is what the Canes need to worry about.
Louisville has a very high powered offense, which can expose your secondary with no problem. Malik Cunningham is a very talented quarterback who can take advantage of a very rusty looking secondary. Al Blades needs to step up and lockdown Tutu Atwell, who’s the Cardinals top receiver. Now, DJ Ivey cannot let any receiver get behind him, which was clearly an issue vs. UAB. Ivey is a vulnerable spot in our secondary which Louisville will definitely try and take advantage of.
If Miami wants to win, Ivey and Blades need to show up. Miami’s front seven looked pretty solid against the Blazers. and is the most reliable unit on defense. Still, they’ll have to face a completely different play style tonight. Cunningham is way more elusive and provides much more of a spark to an offense than Tyler Johnson of UAB. Miami’s secondary is my main concern for tonight’s game, and if they want to capture a victory, the defensive backs need to play spot on.
Art Moreno, Hurricanes Writer
40-21 Miami: The Hurricanes averaged 6 yards a carry against the Cardinals last year. Miami also ran the ball well last week against a top 25 run defense.
I predict more of the same against Louisville. Size definitely matters here. Miami wins up front on offense and defense and controls the game with a faster tempo than last week.