Time: 7:45 p.m.
Where: Miami, Fl.
Stadium: Orange Bowl
Last Week: Idle
Returning Starters: 12
Last Week: Idle
Returning Starters: 15
Last Meeting: 2002
Common Opponents to Date: Miami 38- ECU 3, WVU 48- ECU 7
WVU - Tim Brown (Achilles) Out, Jahmile Addae (Shoulder) Out.
Miami - Baraka Atkins (Leg) Doubtful, Devin Hester (Ankle) Questionable, Jon Peattie (Hip) Questionable.
WVU 0-0, 1-3
Miami 1-0, 4-0
Sat 10/2 7:30 p.m.
Series: Miami 15-3-0
Sagarin: WVU-57 Miami-1
Line: WVU + 24
Stats & Trends
Last year WVU was able to find running room against the Canes but this is a different year, so look for a different result. Given the recent woes of the Mountaineer offensive line and Miami's performance to date, Quincy Wilson and company will have a had time finding daylight on Thursday.
Miami's run stoppers on the defensive line include the massive Vince Wilfork (346 lbs), Orien Harris and Barak Atkins. The trio has combined for 7 sacks and 58 tackles this season. If WVU's rushing attack is fortunate enough to make it through the first line of defenders it doesn't get any easier against the Cane linebackers, one of the best groups in the nation. Jonathan Vilma and D.J. Williams have combined for 50 tackles, 6.5 of which have come behind the line of scrimmage.
Having a hard time running against the Canes? Want to pass the ball? Good luck. The Canes have, arguably, the best secondary in the country. The cover well and are very fast. Junior Sean Taylor has been the top performer with 23 tackles, 3 interceptions and 4 pass break-ups.
By the numbers:
WVU ranks 94th in total offense (313.5 yds/game), 25th in rushing offense (190.25 yds/game) and 113th in passing offense (123.25 yds/game).
Miami ranks 18th in total defense (287.25 yds/game), 33rd in rushing defense (116 yds/game) and 14th in passing efficiency defense (97.2 rating).
WVU defense vs. Hurricanes offense
To have a chance for the upset the Mountaineer defense must continue their solid play. When fresh, this defense has the ability to keep WVU in games. However, if the offense cannot sustain long drives the Canes offense will wear the Blue and Gold defense down by the end of the 3rd quarter.
The Hurricane offense is lead by much heralded Florida transfer, Brock Berlin. Berlin has had his moments of poor play but overall he has performed well. The Hurricane signal caller is 73-123 through the air, with 5 touchdowns offset by 5 interceptions.
Handling the bulk of the running for Miami has been Frank Gore. Gore, as you may know, was the starter last year before suffering a knee injury that allowed Willis McGahee to take over and leap into the national spotlight. Gore has shown few lingering effects from his injury of a year ago. He is averaging 113.2 yards a game, gaining a total of 453 yards to go along with 4 touchdowns.
On the receiving end of Berlin's passes will be a strong group of receivers. While no receiver averages more than 50 yards per game, seven receivers average more than 20 yards per contest. Leading the way is Kevin Beard with 197 yards along with one score. Ryan Moore and Roscoe Parrish are also weapons, combining to total 313 yards and three touchdowns. The last, and possibly best, receiving threat for the Canes is All-American candidate Kellen Winslow Jr. Winslow has averaged 9.2 yards per catch and but has only reached paydirt once.
By the numbers:
WVU ranks 87th in total defense (393.75 yds/game), 96th in rushing defense (187.5 yds/game) and 45th in passing efficiency defense (112.13).
Miami ranks 32nd in total offense (417.5 yds/game), 46th in rushing offense (166.25 yds/game) and 38th in passing (251.25 yds/game).
WVU special teams vs. Hurricanes special teams
The only weakness to Miami's special teams could be the inexperience of the kickers. Both the placekicker, Jon Peattie, and punter, Brian Monroe, are freshmen. Miami's strength on special teams are the kick and punt returners. Expect a long punt return during the game, maybe even a touchdown. Both Roscoe Parrish (20.1 yards/ return) and Antrel Rolle (35.5 yards/ return) have returned punts for touchdowns this season, and are threats to go the distance on just about any return.
By the numbers:
WVU ranks 83rd in net punting (34.48 yds/punt), 25th in kick returns (23.94 yds/return) and 106th in punt returns (5.33 yds/return).
Miami ranks 104th in net punting (32.15 yds/punt), 3rd in kick returns (32.36 yds/return) and 1st in punt returns (22.0 yds/return)
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|Miami Official Site|
On Offense: Anyone...Please!
On Defense: Brian King
Other games this week in the Big East:
Temple at Middle Tenn. St; Virginia Tech at Rutgers.
The Big East remained the sixth best conference in the country after last week's play. Miami (1) and Virginia Tech (15) are the only teams in the Top 30.
* 64 players on the Miami roster hail from the Sunshine State.
* Miami's starting long snapper, Chris Harvey is from Accoville, West Virginia.
* Currently there are 38 Hurricanes on NFL rosters.
* WVU is 10-4-2 all-time in games played on October 2nd.
Be sure to check out our Stats & Trends section for lots more match-up information!
I don't think that the outcome of ESPN's Thursday night match-up is in doubt, only the final score. If the Mountaineers can make a solid showing against the mighty Hurricanes, WVU will go into the second half of the season with renewed confidence and could possibly improve their fading bowl chances.
WVU - 10 Miami - 38