When the clock hit 0:00 in Houston, reality set in. Despite a 38-13 Hurricanes victory, Brock Berlin had passed for just 99 yards against a Houston team that lost to Rice.
Berlin’s 13-for-23, 99-yard effort was far from impressive. The Hurricanes did win, but the offense was rather pathetic for the third straight game. Berlin admittedly struggled; in fact, even Head Coach Larry Coker noticed. After the game, Coker said he was very disappointed in the passing game and that the Hurricanes did not get much at all from it. He said they needed to work on it.
The question becomes: Is it possible for the passing game to improve? Berlin’s struggles are combined with wide receivers that cannot get open and when they do, can’t catch the ball. The combination of a struggling quarterback and perhaps a worse wide receiver corps makes the passing offense’s future look very bleak.
This was Houston the Hurricanes were playing, not FSU or Virginia Tech. To struggle offensively against FSU can be explained by citing a high level of competition. To struggle offensively against a Houston team that couldn’t beat Rice cannot be explained.
This 38-13 win was a lot closer than it looked. In fact, it was alarmingly close. The Hurricanes’ defense and special teams scored twice, once on a blocked punt and the other on a fumble return for a touchdown. If you take away those 14 points, this is a 24-13 game. Also, Houston was in the Hurricanes’ red zone five times and came away with just 13 points in those five trips. The Houston offense had more total yards than Miami (287 to 279). In other words, Houston’s offense did better against Miami’s defense than Miami’s offense did against Houston’s defense.
This was a game that the Hurricanes should have won 48-0. Houston is another Louisiana Tech type of team, a team that Miami should have no trouble with. But UM struggled mightily on offense and even the stellar defense looked vulnerable.
I know Miami won the game and maybe I am being overly critical. However, did Miami look like a team that can win the national title? I don’t think so. The offense has been unimpressive in all three games. It hardly ever has a real drive, and the only time it scored was when the defense got them the ball in good field position. Look at their scoring summary in the Houston game: The first touchdown was scored on a blocked punt. The second was a Frank Gore touchdown run, but the drive lasted eight plays gaining 31 yards. The third scoring drive was eight plays for 54 yards, with a Tyrone Moss touchdown run. After another defensive score, the final scoring drive was four-plays for 33-yards, capped off by a Moss touchdown run.
So basically, its longest scoring drive was 54 yards, and the others were all less than 35 yards. While you can’t blame the offense for getting good field position, anytime it gets the ball with the length of the field to drive, it comes up short. This offense has not shown an ability to win a game. Therefore, the Hurricanes are going to try to win the national title riding the coattails of their defense and hoping the offense just doesn’t make mistakes.
Darren Grossman can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.