University of Miami

Miami Hurricanes Face LSU Sunday In Primetime Showdown

Alex Donno
August 30, 2018 - 10:17 am

On Sunday, the 8th ranked Miami Hurricanes face Number 25 LSU from Dallas, Texas. 

We've waited over eight long months to watch the Canes take the field again. Ranked in the preseason top 10 for the first time since 2005, Miami will hit the national stage this weekend in front of critical eyes and renewed expectations. 

Is The U 'back?'

“We’re not elite until we win enough games to say we’re elite," said head coach Mark Richt. "If people want to say we’re pretty good, top 10…Who knows? We’ll find out once we play ball.”

One person who isn't convinced Miami belongs inside the top 10, yet, is ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit. He told the Miami Herald's Barry Jackson that the Canes belong more in the top 10-12 range, not Number 8. 

“I think top 10 to top 12 would probably be about right. I don’t think you can necessarily look at the way the season ended and say let’s put them down to 15 to 18 because they lost their last three," Herbstreit said. "We know Mark Richt, based on what we’ve seen the first couple years, is he’s building this program back up and he’s getting the local talent to stay around."

A strong performance against a respected program like LSU would go a long way in showing Herbstreit, and the world, that Miami is a national contender. 

On Wednesday, the Canes had their final padded practice before facing the Tigers. “It has been great," said Richt, of his team's preparations. "I can’t hardly think of a day that I was like, ‘these guys didn’t show up to work.’ That’s all you can ask for and it’s a tribute to our seniors and our leaders. I’m proud of them.”

Miami and LSU are both stacked on defense. I'm expecting a low-scoring game that could be decided by a couple factors: 1- A crucial takeaway by either defense and 2- Which quarterback can hit a big play in the fourth quarter? 

Say what you want to about Malik Rosier, but he made his share of clutch throws a season ago...

Meanwhile, LSU officially named their starting quarterback on Monday. Joe Burrow, a graduate transfer from Ohio State, gets the nod. Burrow backed up JT Barrett at OSU, but has never started a collegiate game. Hopefully, Canes defensive coordinator Manny Diaz can exploit his inexperience with constant pressure and exotic blitzes. Knowing Diaz the way we do, we can 100-percent expect this to be the game plan. 

On Wednesday, Diaz spoke in-depth on LSU's Burrow and what he brings to the table. 

“He’s a coach’s kid, so you know he’s smart. You know he has been raised by the game. Defensive coach’s kid, so I’ll leave that to interpretation. But what you saw on the limited film that we have on him, he’s a guy that will go through the reads. He’ll stand in the pocket. To me, he can make the throws. He can anticipate the throws, which, I think, comes back to being raised in the game – where he doesn’t have to see a guy get open, he can feel a guy get open before he gets open. We have a lot of respect for who he is. But ultimately, whoever plays quarterback, as a defense, your job is still to make his job as hard as possible, which is to take away his best friend – the run game. Anytime, no matter who is quarterbacking LSU, you still have a great challenge of stopping their physical rushing attack. And that, still, no matter who the quarterback is, will be first and foremost on our minds.”

The responsibility of stuffing that run game will primarily fall to Miami's defensive tackles. Miami lost their top two from 2017 to the draft, so this area is a question mark. Senior Gerald Willis III is expected to have a big year. He'll start alongside Pat Bethel. There is some depth at this unit, albeit unproven depth. Jonathan Ford, Tito Odenigbo, and Nesta Silvera will back them up. Silvera, a true freshman out of American Heritage, should have a very bright future. 

Kickoff for Miami-LSU is set for 7:30 PM this Sunday, September 2nd from Dallas, Texas. You can listen to the game on 560 WQAM, with pregame coverage starting at 3:30. 

Go Canes!