Sports

MIAMI vs. HOUSTON Matchup

OFFENSE: With Heisman candidate Kevin Kolb at quarterback who averages over 300 yards through the air, this Houston team cannot be taken lightly, especially after a win against Oklahoma State last week. Miami needs to cover blitzes or any kind of pass rush. Believe it or not, Miami is the best offense Houston’s defense has had to face so far.

Advantage: EVEN

O-LINE: Houston’s center, Sterling Doty, is on the Rimington Award watch list for the country’s best center. Regardless, the Cougars have allowed a sack in every game of their starting quarterback’s career except against Grambling State this year. Houston’s 3-4 formation could be a blessing or nightmare for Miami’s O-Line.

Advantage: EVEN

QUARTERBACK: Kolb has been at the helm since his freshman year but like Miami, has protection issues. Kyle Wright needs time to throw the ball. When he had time in the first quarter against Louisville, it showed.

Advantage: HOUSTON

RUNNING BACK: Miami needs to run the ball successfully from here on out to be a threat. Tyrone Moss didn’t have much success against Louisville, and Charlie Jones was doing fine until the fumble. Besides running the ball, the backs have to block as well. Houston running back Jackie Battle might as well be an extra lineman. The senior ran for 108 yards against Oklahoma State.

Advantage: EVEN

RECEIVERS: Vincent Marshall has had at least one catch in 40 straight games. Donnie Avery also can be a huge go to man, especially when Marshall is double teamed by defenders.

Miami’s receivers will need to carry this offense. Lance Leggett, Darnell Jenkins and even Sam Shields have shown they can catch, but gaining yards after a catch and big plays are needed.

Advantage: EVEN

DEFENSE: The Cougars are allowing, on average, over 100 yards per game. Miami’s rushing defense still holds teams to under 60 yards on average, but needs some better play out of their D-Line and secondary. What the ‘Canes really have to do is start taking possession on turnovers.

Advantage: MIAMI

D-LINE: With Houston’s O-Line giving up at least one sack per game, Miami should be licking their chops. The ‘Canes need a physical game to overpower the Houston O-Line and wreak havoc on their quarterback. Baraka Atkins returned a fumble 52 yards the last time these two faced off in 2004. Two sophomores and a senior make up Houston’s front 3, all somewhat undersized.

Advantage: MIAMI

LINEBACKERS: Experienced groups are on both sides in this category. Wade Koehl will be the player to watch from Houston. The senior from Midland, Texas has 30 career starts and plays the role of the run stopper. Miami’s Jon Beason continues to lead the team in tackles, averaging six a game.

Advantage: MIAMI

SECONDARY: Safeties Brandon Meriweather and Kenny Phillips have been delivering the big hits; they just need to inspire the rest.

Advantage: MIAMI

SPECIAL TEAMS: The ‘Canes need this unit to be “special” again. They have to find a return man and start blocking kicks. Miami needs to get points out of every red zone opportunity, even making field goals.

Houston had a punt blocked in the end zone for a touchdown in their last meeting against Miami in 2004, they may be weary of that heading to the Orange Bowl. The Cougars do have a return threat in Anthony Alridge, who returned the opening kickoff against Rice for 76 yards.

Advantage: HOUSTON

Rodolfo Tomarchio may be contacted at r.tomarchio@umiami.edu.

September 29, 2006

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The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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