Miami football progress report vs. Louisville

miami football

What a great weekend for football. As predicted, Miami football stormed into Kentucky to conquer the Louisville Cardinals with a very exciting 47-34 win. This was definitely a different Miami team that we saw in Week 1. I’m really impressed with how the Hurricanes handled the heat of being in a primetime game on the road against another ranked, in-conference opponent.

If this group keeps it up, it will soon find its identity as a football team. The Hurricanes are going to have to do it early because the schedule only gets tougher with a Sept. 26 game against in-state rivals Florida State. Then, they go into Death Valley to face the reigning ACC champion Clemson Tigers. Now that the dust has cleared, let’s grade each aspect of this week’s game from offense to special teams.

Offense: B

This offense put up an impressive 47 points. With more production from the wide receivers and less miscues from the offensive, line this would’ve been an easy A+ for the Canes. I was overall impressed with the offensive play and how offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee runs a foot-on-their necks for four quarters type of offense, but I there is work to be done.

Quarterback D’Eriq King had another impressive game throwing for 325 yards and three touchdowns. I said before the game I wanted to see the tight ends more incorporated, and they were. The Canes opened up the game with a 18-yard pass play to Brevin Jordan that was called back due to an illegal formation. In their next drive, King found his other tight end Will Mallory for a touchdown. Jordan led Miami in receiving with seven receptions for 120 yards.

I also liked the running attack by this offense. Running back Cam Harris had another 100-yard game with a blazing 75-yard touchdown run. Wide receiver and offensive line production is going to be essential for Miami if it wants to beat Clemson in a few weeks and become contenders for the ACC championship. On the brighter side of things, this offensive line helped King in third-and-long situations getting the ball downfield so it’ll be exciting to see the growth in weeks to come.

Looking ahead

This offense is going to clean up a few spots and create more opportunities for the speedsters outside and really be dominant in offensive play these next few weeks.

Defense: C

Man, I can’t stress enough on how important this defense will be this season. Miami had a pretty consistent first half of the ballgame, holding Louisville to two field goals but gave up 28 points in the second half. Louisville running back Javian Hawkins gashed the canes with 164 yards and a touchdown, averaging 6.1 yards a carry.

The defense will have to clean it up, and that’s going to have to happen sooner than later. I was really impressed with defensive lineman Quincy Roche and Jalen Phillips as well as the hustle from the rest of the defensive line. Two other guys who played well were safety Bubba Bolden and veteran linebacker Zach McCloud. Bolden had a team-high 11 tackles and one tackle for loss, and McCloud showed how instinctive he is and his knowledge for the game play by play. He’s going to have to really coach these young guys like Sam Brooks as well as Bradley Jennings if they are going to make any impact in the run game later in the season. We did get a chance to see the turnover chain last night with an interception by cornerback Al Blades, his first of the season

Looking ahead

I don’t think this Miami defense has been tested yet. Florida State will give the Canes a bit challenge since it’s a rival and this is where I want to see the dominance of the defense because a high-powered Clemson football team is next and it doesn’t get easier with the sneaky Pitt Panthers coming later, in addition to the season ender against North Carolina. The Canes could be in a lot of trouble especially if they give up 34 points to those teams.

Special Teams: A+

The talk of the night was Miami has a kicker. Head coach Manny Diaz said kicker Jose Borregales “adds confidence to our football team.” The Canes were 12 of 20 on field goal attempts in the 2019 season, and Borregales was 4-for-4 on field goal attempts against the Cardinals, one of which he hit late in the second quarter for 57 yards that was the longest of his career so far. That tied a Miami record shared with Michael Badgley and Danny Miller.

Looking ahead

Kicker Jose Borregales gives this team sort of a security blanket. The coaching staff believes now every time Hurricanes cross the 50-yard line, they’re in field goal range. Diaz will continue to test Borregales, and he’ll continue to gain trust from his teammates and even win them a few ballgames.