The Miami Hurricanes hurdled a major obstacle last week in their come-from-behind victory over Florida State. This week, the ‘Canes will look to avoid a letdown against the undefeated Louisiana Tech Bulldogs.
The key to beating the Bulldogs will be to contain Ryan Moats, the nation’s leading rusher. Moats has 67 carries for 514 yards and four touchdowns in only two games this season.
“They have the leading rusher in the nation, but we will play our defensive scheme and just hope to tackle well,” Head Coach Larry Coker said.
Louisiana Tech’s two victories came against Nevada and La.-Lafayette. If the Hurricanes take the Bulldogs lightly, the latter could sneak up on them.
“We are looking at them as if they are the No. 1 team in the nation so they are going to play us hard, just like everyone else,” safety Brandon Meriweather said.
One of the changes for this game is that Sinorice Moss will get an opportunity to play with the first team. Wide receiver Ryan Moore, who struggled mightily against Florida State, will see time in the Hurricanes rotation but at least for now, seems to have been unseated as the starter.
“We are going to give Sinorice an opportunity to work with the first team,” Coker said. “Sinorice played better on Friday, and he deserves a chance. If you don’t do that, why play better?”
The defense was stingy against Florida State, allowing just 165 yards of total offense. However, Miami struggled offensively, putting zero points on the board until its late fourth quarter rally.
“We knew they would pull through, we practice against them everyday,” Meriweather said. “It was just a matter of time before they delivered.”
Part of the offensive struggles against the Seminoles was inconsistency from the receivers. While Coker hopes Moss will continue his superb play, he wants the offense to tighten up and make more plays.
“We have to be more consistent. That means we can’t drop passes and when we have opportunities to make plays, we have to make them,” Coker said.
Brock Berlin was scrutinized against Florida State for his early struggles, but Coker was quick to point out that all the responsibility on offense does not fall solely on Berlin.
” If Brock throws a perfect pass and the guy drops it, it goes against Brock’s statistics but it’s not his fault,” Coker said. “Guys have to catch passes when they are thrown to them.”
If Miami can avoid a letdown, it should beat the Bulldogs. While the Bulldogs are 2-0, they have beaten two weak opponents and play in the Western Athletic Conference. This game will be the first real test for Tech QB Donald Allen.
“We are going to play our game, it is not about La. Tech, it is about UM,” Meriweather said. “No one can beat us but us.”
Although many think the road is now clear to the national title, the Hurricanes are not looking at it that way. They want to play one game at a time.
“The road to the national title is not clear. We still got La. Tech to play,” Meriweather said. “Right now, that’s the best team in the nation.”
Darren Grossman can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.