Bits and Bytes - Miami

A final look at the WVU - Miami game from our hotel overlooking South Beach. Game Scorecard
Series: 15-2 Miami
Date: 10-2-03
Time: 7:45 p.m.
Where: Miami, Fl.
Stadium: Orange Bowl
Record: 1-2
Rank: 57
Last Week: Idle
Returning Starters: 12
Defense: 8
Offense: 4
Click for Miami, Florida Forecast
Record: 1-2
Rank: 1
Last Week: Idle
Returning Starters: 15
Defense: 8
Offense: 7
Rosters/ Bios
Press Release
Season Stats
2003 Schedule
First Meeting: 1942
Last Meeting: 2002
Press Release
Season Stats
2003 Schedule


Virginia Tech is known for its kick blocking prowess, but the Hurricanes might have an even more impressive statistic that deosn't get narealy as much play. Since 1999, Miami leads the nation by a wide margin in returns for touchdowns. Including kickoffs, punts, fumble and interception returns, the Canes have recorded an eye-popping 40 touchdowns on runbacks. That's an average of eight scores per year, and the Hurricanes aren't even halfway through the 2003 season yet.

Miami has already tallied seven scoring returns this year, which is more than half of their record total of 13 during the 2000 season.


West Virginia does hold one bit of good news against Miami's almost overwhelming on-field dominance. WVU is one of only two teams since 1985 to record a win over the Canes when the Floridians have the lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter. The Mountaineers turned the trick in 1997 on the strength of Amos Zereoue's 200+ yard rushing day.


Since, WVU has only started two seasons with a 1-4 mark. During the 1994 season, WVU rebounded from that mark to make a bowl appearance. However, in 1999, they did not.

The bigger concern for the Mountaineers this year is to avoid the drop in morale that can build from successive lossses. Of course, the game with the Hurricanse has yet to be played, but barring a major upset, WVU will be staring at a long climb to get out of the September hole they dug for themselves.


Although many players downplay the problems associated with near-constant shuffling of personnel, there seems to be little doubt that the musical chairs game on the right side of the offensive line is having a negative effect on the West Virginia attack.

During preseason, one of the constant mantras of the offensive line is to "get everybody on the same page", or work together as a unit. That type of synchronicity is only achieved by constant repetitions, which builds a familiarity among players as they work side by side.

This doesn't reflect on the talent level of individual players - it simply illustrates that teammates take time to learn each other's moves and get into the same groove. Just like a quarterback and a wide reveir who work together until their timing is flawless, offensive linemen need the same sort of work together in order to function effectively. Absent that, a line will struggle, as West Virginia's has more often than not this year.


Last year, Rasheed Marshall ran for 93 yards against Miami. This year, Rasheed has rushed for 58 yards. Total. In four games.

Forgetting where the fault may line for the moment, the naked truth is that Rasheed must be a threat to run the ball if the Mountaineer offense is to be successful. And 14.5 yards per game, with an average of 2.2 yards per carry, just isn't going to get the job done.

If WVU is going to stay in this game, Rasheed will have to tally at least 75 yards.

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