On the heels of a hard-fought yet heartbreaking loss to the Florida State Seminoles, the Miami Hurricanes will take on the team likely to face off with FSU in the ACC title game. Apart from a baffling loss to Pittsburgh, the Louisville Cardinals have exceeded expectations this season as the tenth-best team in the nation.
A balanced offensive attack, spearheaded by junior running back Jawhar Jordan and complemented by the steady play of quarterback Jack Plummer, has led a resurgent Louisville team back to the top ten for the first time since former NFL MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson was under center for the Cardinals.
Louisville has a clear path to the ACC championship game against Florida State, but the ‘Canes would love nothing more than to play spoiler for their conference foe and gain momentum going into next season.
Miami lost quarterback Emory Williams in the closing minutes of its loss to the Seminoles, so that Tyler Van Dyke will be back as the starter. Van Dyke has struggled mightily since returning from his injury in late October, as he has zero touchdowns to six interceptions throughout three games.
Van Dyke will need to get at least somewhat back to the player he was at the start of the season for Miami to challenge a tough Cardinals team. Louisville allows only 17.1 points per game to its opponents, so it could be challenging for the ‘Canes to put points on the board.
However, considering how consistent Miami’s defense has been for most of the season, the Hurricanes need to control time of possession and limit turnovers to have a shot at an upset.
The Hurricanes’ defense has been almost as tough on opposing teams as Louisville’s, as the ‘Canes only give up 20.7 points per game. Freshman standout Reuben Bain Jr. has been a massive part of the defense’s success, as he has totaled 6.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in an impressive freshman campaign.
Suppose Miami’s front seven can limit the effectiveness of Louisville’s stout running game, and the secondary can force a handful of errors on the Cardinals. In that case, the Hurricanes certainly have a chance to pull off a shocker.
While the season has disappointed many Canes fans, an upset over the tenth-ranked team in the country could give the program the boost it needs heading into the end of the season and next season.
Kickoff for Saturday’s game at Hard Rock Stadium will start at noon, and the game will air on ABC.