Game Preview: Week 2 vs. Savannah State

Game Preview: Week 2 vs. Savannah State

Paul Austria
This week was not a fun week for Canes fans. After an abysmal performance against LSU that saw them leave Arlington with a disappointing 33-17 loss, Miami looks to bounce back and hopefully address some issues that plagued them in the opening game. The Canes dropped from 8th to 22nd in the AP Poll.

The strange thing about Miami’s opening loss was that if you were to compare the team statistics, the numbers were pretty even. The advantage in total offense belonged to the Canes, and even on 3rd down conversions where they were one of the worst teams in the country last season, they were 6-16. But watching the game, it seemed that despite Mark Richt’s praise about Malik Rosier’s improved leadership and work ethic over the offseason, Rosier’s struggles from the last three games of last season carried over into this season. Rosier finished 15-35 with 259 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. But it was his continued inaccuracy that left many critics perplexed, as he had a handful of overthrows.

Coach Richt reiterated his trust in Rosier in the post game press conference but he did give extra first-team reps to N’Kosi Perry (who was suspended for the LSU game and did not make the trip) and Cade Weldon, so it will be interesting to see how he manages playing time with all three of them.

There were two positives that the Canes left with. WR Jeff Thomas, Miami’s starting slot receiver, had himself a breakout game. The sophomore caught 4 passes of 150 yards, including two incredible Odell Beckham Jr.-like catches. He was virtually unstoppable as his top-end speed was a huge problem for the LSU secondary, often beating corners off the line of scrimmage and getting behind safeties with ease.

DT Gerald Willis, who missed last season due to personal reasons, played with a chip on his shoulder in his first career start. He finished with 8 tackles, 4 of them for loss, with a sack and, as a result, he came away with the ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week award.

It’s important to note that WR Ahmmon Richards was a little quiet, as he only caught one pass for nine yards in the 2nd quarter, but not a peep from him since. In fact, he was seen on the sidelines in the 2nd half wearing a protective covering over his knee and he will sit out this game for precautionary reasons. Miami is expecting a big year from Richards, considering that he was hampered by injuries for the majority of last season and so far, it hasn’t been a good start. Demetrius Jackson, one of the backup DE’s for the Canes, will also miss this game with a knee injury.

Led by third-year coach Erik Raeburn, Savannah State is coming off a 52-0 loss at the hands of UAB last Thursday. The passing game for the Tigers was close to non-existent, as they only completed one pass all game out of 17 attempts, with two interceptions between D’Vonn Gibbons and TJ Bell. They did, however, manage to rush for 155 yards, so it’ll keep Miami’s run defense in check. If you exclude Nick Brosette’s 50 yard touchdown run (which was basically the turning point in that game), the Canes only allowed a little over 100 yards on 40 carries.

The Tigers are actually trying to make the most of their current “farewell” tour, as the team is moving back down to Division II following the conclusion of this season.

The last time these teams faced off, it was a complete blowout as Miami destroyed the Tigers 77-7 back in 2013 when Al Golden was head coach. But nevertheless, don’t expect the Canes to take them lightly.

“We have something to prove,” UM OL Tyler Gauthier exclaimed to Fox Sports. “Especially after last week, we want to go out there and prove to the world we’re still the team we’re supposed to be, cause we are. I mean, it doesn’t matter what team we’re playing. We’re going to prepare for them the same.”

Expect to see a lot of different elements and experimentation by Miami this Saturday. The quarterback situation is one thing, but Travis Homer and Deejay Dallas combined for only 15 carries in the opener, so they will look to get the engine going with the running game. Don’t be surprised to see the tight ends being utilized a lot more this game, as both Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory have yet to catch a pass.

All in all, the Canes should roll through Savannah State with little worries, but it will be interesting to see how coach Mark Richt approaches this game with any changes in play calling and personnel. Lots of players lower than 2nd-string will get valuable playing time and experience, especially a lot of the freshman running backs and defensive backs.

Time: 6:00 PM at Hard Rock Stadium
Channel: ACC Network

Comments (17)

This game will show us nothing. A good high school team could beat them. All.the me stats in this game will be worthless
Will we even punt this game?
I’m hyped, idgaf how bad they are. First chance to watch young qbs play, get to watch pope for first time. Will feel better about feagles and bubba. Start to gain confidence and turn szn around
Exactly so we’ll have more punting adventures

Not necessarily. We should be running all over these guys. Baxa should get plenty of reps. though.
Not necessarily. We should be running all over these guys. Baxa should get plenty of reps. though.

Hahaha I’m fairly confident rosier will have at least one 3 and out

Which I laugh to hide the pain of the frustration