In a highly anticipated matchup to open the season, Miami took a hard defeat on the national stage. Ed Orgeron‘s Tigers beat the Hurricanes soundly by a final score of 33-17. The game looked to be a defensive clash early but things began to unravel for the Canes. Nick Brossette ripped off a 50 yard run for a touchdown and the Tigers never looked back.
Although that is major disappointment from the Hurricanes, there is still a full season left to play. With that being said, in order for Miami to move into the “Battle of Relevancy“, changes MUST occur. It’s certainly not time to panic as all hope is not lost for the Miami Hurricanes.
Punts, Penalties, and Picks
Against stiff competition like the Hurricanes faced, these three factors must be addressed. The final score isn’t indicative of the stat sheet which showed the Hurricanes outgaining the Tigers. LSU won the field position battle and that allowed them to be in scoring range for most of the game.
On the very first punt of the season, the Hurricanes almost had the punt blocked. That pressure was enough to rattle the head of Zach Feagles. For the majority of the night, his punts were met with loud groans from the Hurricanes’ fans. He recovered by the end of the game with two punts that went over 50 yards but must be better early. His 36-yard punting average made a difference, as the Tigers average starting field position was their own 43-yard line.
Comparatively, LSU did not have a problem kicking or punting, Zach Von Rosenburg averaged 46 yards per punt. Meanwhile, Cole Tracy was also perfect kicking four field goals and three extra points.
Another key part of the field position battle was penalties. The Hurricanes did not have a good showing in the penalties category. Miami finished with 11 penalties for 85 yards. The number of penalties hurt but the timing of the penalties was even worse. A perfect example is on a fourth and one play where Tito Odenigbo jumped into the neutral zone. Additionally, the penalty signified a lack of awareness and urgency.
Miami’s defense lost one of it’s best players early after Trajan Bandy was ejected on a targeting penalty. The Hurricanes on consecutive plays, after having LSU pinned near their goal line, had flags thrown. The penalties were highly questionable but nonetheless gave LSU a new set of downs.
The interceptions from Malik Rosier contributed to ten of LSU’s points. Of course, interceptions are bad. But, another thing that should be added is percentages. As in the completion percentage for Rosier, he finished the game completing 42 percent of his throws. That directly correlates with the low third down conversion rate. Plain and simple, Miami will never be elite with those percentages.
Hope Still Here
The final score looks horrible but the play was not entirely that bad. Even in defeat progress was shown. The great thing about this game is that Miami used LSU as a measuring stick. Some of the players Miami faced may be the best they see all season. There was also some of the players that showed that they are very much SEC-caliber
For as bad as Rosier was at quarterback, and he was very bad, Thomas still managed to shine. LSU is known for their elite defensive backs, none of them could cover Jeff Thomas. The bad passes that were being thrown, allowed Thomas to show the degree of difficulty with every catch. Literally, every catch from Thomas could have been shown on SportsCenter. He finished the game with five catches and 132 yards against one of the best secondaries in the nation.
A big question coming into the season was who would step up on the defensive line. Now, we have that answer. Gerald Willis took last season off for personal reasons and was a terror on the scout team for Miami’s offense. In his first game back against LSU, he had eight tackles and a sack. Half of those tackles were for a loss and he was also named ACC defensive player of the week. He also forced LSU to just flat out hold him on some plays.
Very next play – Gerald Willis with another club-swim, but gets tackled immediately as he's getting into the backfield. His hands are very quick. pic.twitter.com/AUfqev0dy2
— Ty Wurth (@lostyhighway) September 4, 2018
Now, not too far behind Willis on the tackles was Jonathan Garvin. The sophomore finished with eight tackles and a sack as well. Coincidentally, he was constantly in the backfield with three tackles for loss. That just one short of Willis’ mark. The Hurricanes finished with eight tackles for loss and seven of them were by the duo.
The Hurricanes will face Savannah State this weekend and much of the roster will play. That game will allow fans to see N’Kosi Perry for the first time. He was suspended last week and redshirted the season before. But, with Rosier looking less like the option a breath of fresh air might be what the Hurricanes need.