A pair of teams from the Coastal Division of the ACC meet down in South Beach. The Virginia Cavaliers are on the road as they battle the #7 Miami (FL) Hurricanes Saturday afternoon. Virginia lost for the third time in four games as they fell 38-21 on the road at Louisville last Saturday. Miami (FL) remained unbeaten as they demolished #3 Notre Dame 41-8 at home last Saturday. The Hurricanes hold an 8-6 edge in the all-time regular season series and took the last two, including a 34-14 road win in the last matchup on November 12, 2016.
Virginia Cavaliers Look for Upset Win
Virginia has dropped three of four after falling in Louisville and now has to go on the road to face the mighty Hurricanes. The Cavaliers dropped to 3-3 in the Coastal Division of the ACC with the loss. Virginia trailed just 17-14 at the half but was outscored 14-0 in the third quarter to put the game out of reach. The Cavaliers were beaten 493-277 in total offense, lost the first down battle 27-16 and held a slim 30:01 to 29:59 edge in time of possession. Both teams turned the ball over twice in the contest but Virginia couldn’t contain Lamar Jackson.
The Cavaliers have been a pass-oriented offense so far this season: they are 47th in the FBS in passing offense (251.8 yards per game) and just 117th in rushing offense (112.6 yards per game) this season. Virginia is 85th in scoring offense with 25.8 points a contest and stand 67th in scoring defense as they allow 26.6 points per game. Kurt Benkert has completed 237 of 402 passes for 2,492 yards with 21 touchdowns and seven interceptions. The run game is led by Jordan Ellis, who has 183 carries for 766 yards plus six scores. The passing game’s top target is running back Olamide Zaccheaus, who has hauled in 70 passes for 727 yards plus four scores while adding 22 carries for 153 yards plus a score. Doni Dowling adds 39 receptions for 544 yards and five touchdowns while Joe Reed (18 catches, 128 yards, TD) and Evan Butts (25 receptions, 226 yards, 2 TD) along with Andre Levrone (27 grabs, 566 yards, six TD) are solid targets. A.J. Mejia has hit all 32 extra points and eight of 10 field goal attempts with a long of 38 yards.
Miami (FL) Hurricanes Set Sights on CFP Berth
Miami (FL) picked up the statement win they’ve been looking for all season as they dominated Notre Dame at home. The Hurricanes also punched their ticket to the ACC Championship Game for the first time after Virginia lost. Miami (FL) jumped to a 27-0 lead at the half and kept Notre Dame off the scoreboard until just 12 seconds remained in the third quarter with the game well in hand. The Hurricanes held a 374-261 edge in total offense, an 18-13 advantage in first downs and controlled time of possession by a 33:59 to 26:01 margin. In addition, Miami (FL) forced four turnovers while not committing one.
The Hurricanes are 35th in the FBS in passing offense with 271.4 yards per game and 51st in rushing offense with 180.4 yards per game. Miami (FL) stands 40th in the nation in scoring offense with 32.6 points per contest and 10th in scoring defense as they allow just 16.6 points per game. Malik Rosier has completed 169 of 298 passes for 2,410 yards with 20 touchdowns and seven interceptions while adding 339 yards and four scores on the ground. Travis Homer is the team’s leading rusher with 113 carries for 758 yards plus six scores. Mark Walton adds 56 carries for 428 yards plus three scores. In the passing game, Braxton Berrios (team high 38 grabs, team high 484 yards, eight TD) and Christopher Herndon IV (36 receptions, 422 yards, for TD) are the team’s top two receivers. Michael Badgley has booted all 35 extra points and 14 of 17 field goal attempts with a long of 50.
- Cavaliers are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games in November
- Cavaliers are 1-7-1 ATS in their last 9 games after allowing more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game
- Cavaliers are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games after accumulating less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game
- Hurricanes are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game
- Hurricanes are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games after accumulating more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game
- Hurricanes are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 home games vs. a team with a winning road record
Virginia has a shot at earning a bowl berth but they handed the Coastal Division title to Miami (FL) with their loss last week. The Hurricanes are full of momentum and jumped to #2 in the AP poll with their demolition of Notre Dame. Miami (FL) knows they will face Clemson in the ACC title game but they’re not focused on that at this point. The Hurricanes take care of business as they roll past the Cavaliers to remain unbeaten.
Pick: Miami (FL) Hurricanes -18
Virginia was playing well until late October but three losses in four games sunk the Cavaliers. While they have six wins, the Cavaliers were in the race for the Coastal Division crown but now have to settle for playing spoiler against the Hurricanes. Miami (FL) has put together back to back wins over ranked opponents as they took down Virginia Tech and Notre Dame in consecutive weeks. The Hurricanes have a date with Clemson in the ACC title game but they have higher goals, like a berth in the College Football Playoff.
The under is 4-1 in the Cavaliers’ last 5 games after accumulating less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game. Miami (FL) has seen the under go 7-0 in their last seven overall, 4-0 in their last four after allowing less than 20 points in their last game, 4-0 in their last four at home, 7-0 in their last seven on grass and 5-0 in their last five against teams with a winning record. Given the Hurricanes’ tough defense, this one stays under the total.