Louisville at Miami (FL)
Time: 2:30 PM CST
Spread: MIA -6.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Louisville Cardinals has been one of the pleasant surprise teams of 2019, and it scored a big win over conference rival Virginia last week. It has won three of its last four, and it travels to face the Miami Hurricanes Saturday at 2:30 PM (CST) Saturday as 6.5-point underdogs to the Hurricanes. The betting total is set at 51.5 total points according to NCAA football oddsmakers, and the game will air live for viewers on ESPN2.
Among the reasons for Louisville’s surprise success has been its rushing game. The Cardinals boast a No. 22 ranked rush offense that generates over 218 yards per game. The passing has been mediocre to supplement it, but this is a team whose over/under on season wins was a mere two. The Cardinals have a fairly weak defense that has prevented further success, as it surrenders 31.9 points per game while scoring just over that (32.8) itself.
Louisville’s rushing production comes mostly from its top running back and having a dual-threat quarterback. While Micale Cunningham has been accurate as a passer (62.1 percent, eight touchdowns, two picks), his rushing has been nearly as vital. Cunningham averages over five yards-per-carry on his 61 attempts, ranking No. 3 on the team in rushing yards at 313 this season.
The No. 1 running back is freshman Javian Hawkins, a Cocoa High product, who has rushed 165 times for 887 yards this season, quite unanticipated as it was. He averages 5.4 yards-per-rush and has six of the team’s 16 rushing touchdowns. The receiving game has been the product mostly of Louisville’s top two receivers, Tutu Atwell and Dez Fitzpatrick. Atwell leads the team in catches (41), yardage (668), and touchdowns (seven). Fitzpatrick has five TD catches.
The Miami Hurricanes are 5-4 overall and it is 3-3 in ACC play this season. It has won its last two, including last week’s triumph over the Florida State Seminoles that led to the firing of FSU head coach Willie Taggart. It was something of a statement win for the Hurricanes, which found itself, 3-point underdogs, heading into the game against a Seminoles team that has been in disarray the entire Taggart era.
Miami ranks No. 35 in the nation in passing yardage at 269.3 per game, and it scores 26.8 points per game. The defense has been tremendous, though, and it was expected to be. Miami holds teams to just 18.3 points per game and it limited the Seminoles to just 10 points in last week’s win. Even in the victory two weeks ago over Pitt, Miami won due to its defense, holding the Panthers to just 12 points which enabled the 16-12 victory.
The Hurricanes have used two quarterbacks this season, and both have had a fair bit of success. Jarren Williams has 1,449 yards this season with a stellar 66.9 percent completion ratio, 8.4 yards-per-catch, 10 touchdowns, and just three interceptions. Troubling are Williams’ 22 sacks incurred, but his 153.3 passer rating is strong. N’Kosi Perry is the other QB, but he has struggled a little more. Perry has just a 55 percent ratio, though it is somewhat offset by his 8:2 TD/INT ratio.
DeeJay Dallas has been very good as the lead rusher. he has 91 attempts this season for 547 yards and seven touchdowns. Miami as a team, though, averages just 3.6 yards-per-carry, and Perry has been particularly bad considering he has all of five yards this season on 30 carries. Top wide receiver Brevin Jordan leads the team in receiving yardage from the tight end position. KJ Osborn leads the team in catches (36) and touchdowns (5). Miami has scored 18 TDs via the pass and the other 13 all came on rushing attempts.
The Hurricanes have had a good and balanced offense, but to be sure the key to its success has been its stringent and effective attacking defensive unit.