When and where: October 26, 2019, Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA, 12:00 PM ET
After earning their fourth straight win over Syracuse, the Pittsburgh Panthers hope to continue rolling on Saturday when hosting the visiting Miami Hurricanes. The celebration from the Hurricanes’ upset win over Virginia didn’t last long, as they were quickly upended at home in an overtime loss last week to Georgia Tech. They’ll face an uphill battle when attempting to earn their second conference win of the season in a road trip to Heinz Field.
Miami takes a stunning lossThe Hurricanes’ loss to Georgia Tech last week played out like a movie, albeit they were on the wrong side of the happy ending. After having a chip shot field goal that would have iced the game blocked in the fourth quarter, the Hurricanes defense gave up the game-winning touchdown in overtime to sink them to a 3-4 losing record.
It was a game where they struggled to convert on third down, finishing 5-of-13 on the day in a 28-21 loss. That could be a problem for their offense in Saturday’s game against a battle-tested Pittsburgh defense. The Hurricanes are the worst team in the conference in converting third downs, making it incredibly difficult for them to sustain drives against good defenses. Miami quarterback N’Kosi Perry could be forced into throwing more than he wants with Pittsburgh boasting the best run defense in the conference. Teams are only averaging 90.4 rushing yards per game against them.
So starting tailback Deejay Dallas, assuming he plays, will be running into a brick wall in this match-up. Dallas traveled with the team, but he is still listed as questionable with a knee injury. Perry reportedly played through a separated shoulder against Georgia Tech, leaving his availability up in the air for Saturday.
Miami is no slouch in the defensive department, either, setting the stage for a potentially low-scoring affair. They have the No. 3 ranked ACC defense with only a 298.0 average yard allowance. They also have a knack for getting after the quarterback, which could mean trouble for Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett.
Along with Perry, Miami quarterback Jarren Williams is also questionable for the game with an arm injury. If both players are downgraded by the weekend, it would leave the Panthers vulnerable at the most important position on the field.
Panthers eke past SyracuseThe Panthers took their foot off the gas in the second half of last week’s game against Syracuse. After scoring 24 points in the first half, they were held by Syracuse’s defense to only a field goal over the next two quarters of game regulation. So much has been said about the talent on defense for the Panthers, but they’ll be facing a Hurricanes unit that can match up on that side of the ball as well.
It also doesn’t help matters that the Panthers have struggled finishing drives. They are the second-worst team in the conference behind Georgia Tech in average points per game (22.3). Their defense has been able to hold up for the most part, but there is always the concern they’ll have an off night and the offense will fail to respond.
A big problem has been their inability to move the ball on the ground consistently, which often leaves more than desired on Pickett’s plate. Miami is barely allowing over 200 yards passing per game, and their run defense has been stout all season.
- Hurricanes are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 road games.
- Hurricanes are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games after allowing less than 170 yards passing in their previous game.
- Hurricanes are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games after allowing more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Hurricanes are 2-12 ATS in their last 14 games in October.
- Panthers are 9-1-1 ATS in their last 11 games in October.
- Panthers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
- Panthers are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games following an ATS win.
- Panthers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games on grass.