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Same Issues Still Plague Miami Hurricanes

By Dave Holcomb
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It’s often said that a program’s “momentum” can carry over from one college football season to the next. If that’s true, then ineffectiveness can cross into the next calendar year too.

It’s often said that a program’s “momentum” can carry over from one college football season to the next. If that’s true, then ineffectiveness can cross into the next calendar year too.

That seemed to be the case for Miami on Sunday night against LSU. After starting the 2017 season 10-0, the Hurricanes have lost their last four games, and many of those defeats have been in blowout fashion. On Sunday, they lost, 33-17, to the Tigers.

And it wasn’t even that close. LSU led by 30 heading into the fourth quarter.

One game never defines a season, but alarming trends have developed in Miami’s four-game losing streak.

The most obvious one is the quarterback play. Again, senior Malik Rosier had trouble with his accuracy. He padded his stats with some long completions against the LSU backups, and even still, he only completed 42.9 percent of his passes in Week 1. Rosier also threw two interceptions and had a pair of other passes that very easily could have been picks.

Slow starts were a weekly occurrence for the Miami offense last season. Rosier actually started Sunday 5-of-7 for 77 yards, but then he completed just four of his next 14 attempts.

That kind of inconsistency behind center can still defeat a majority of the ACC Coastal teams, but it’s not good enough to beat the top programs in college football. Perhaps LSU will prove to be that once again in 2018.

It’s hardly fair, though, to only blame Rosier for Miami’s offensive blues. The offensive line allowed four sacks, and the constant pressure in the pocket created some of Rosier’s accuracy problems. The line also failed to generate any type of push up front in the running game, and the Miami running backs didn’t do much to help the issue. Miami averaged 2.4 yards per carry.

The Hurricanes defense didn’t help much either. Giving up 33 points is one thing, but the real problem was Miami didn’t force any turnovers. They had 31 takeaways last season, which was third-most in the FBS.

Those takeaways took enormous pressure off Rosier and the offense because it created better field position. That didn’t happen on Sunday, and actually, it hasn’t in awhile.

Miami broke out the “Turnover Chain” just twice against Clemson and Wisconsin in the ACC Championship and Orange Bowl combined. In each of those contests, the Hurricanes recorded a minus turnover differential, which is something they didn’t do at all during the 2017 regular season.
With the takeaways dry at the moment, it’s very difficult to make a forecast for the 2018 Miami season. While great defenders are always going to cause more takeaways, turnovers have a way of balancing themselves out. On Sunday, two Hurricane defenders had a fumble at their feet on the second drive of the game and failed to recover the ball. Miami also dropped an interception deep in LSU territory.

In summary, the Hurricanes didn’t have their usual turnover luck. Not many teams do against LSU, who tied an FBS record for the fewest giveaways in a season last year with only eight.

But when the Miami “Turnover Chain” returns on a consistent basis is anybody’s best guess. At the very least, it’s hard to imagine the Hurricanes repeating their 31-takeaway performance from 2017.

And if they don’t even come close to that mark in 2018, the season opener showed Miami’s offense still isn’t good enough to carry them against a ranked opponent.