MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – When the Miami Hurricanes take the field at Sun Life Stadium Thursday night, they are hoping to avoid last year’s debacle against the Virginia Cavaliers.
The game will feature two teams going in the opposite direction. Miami is starting to rebound from some tough early losses and is putting together a good season in head coach Al Golden’s inaugural campaign.
Virginia beat Idaho two weeks ago by one point in overtime and has lost games to North Carolina, Southern Miss, and North Carolina State.
The Thursday night game is the ninth meeting between Miami and Virginia, including the 1996 Carquest Bowl. In ACC play, Miami holds a slight edge in the series 4-3.
Statistically speaking, Virginia’s scoring offense isn’t one to be that concerned with. The Cavaliers are averaging just 24.9 points per game, ranking them 80th in the nation in scoring offense, according to cfbstats.com.
Miami scores 29.4 points per game, which ranks them 54th in the country in scoring offense, according to cfbstats.com.
Virginia does the majority of its damage on the ground. The Cavaliers average 40 carries a game and rush for 183.1 yards per game. The Cavs have also run in 13 touchdowns on the season.
The Virginia running attack will square off against a Hurricanes defense that is not built to stop the run. The Canes are giving up just fewer than 180 yards per game on the ground.
The one part of the Canes run defense that has been helpful is that the team has only allowed seven rushing TD’s on the season.
Luckily for the Canes, their pass defense allows just 199 yards through the air per game. The Canes have also intercepted four passes on the season.
Virginia counters with an offense that averages just 224 yards per game through the air and has more interceptions than touchdown passes on the season.
Miami’s passing offense doesn’t put up a lot of yardage per game, but it has been very efficient.
Canes quarterback Jacory Harris has finally started to fulfill some of the high expectations people had for him when he came to The U four years ago.
Harris is completing better than 60 percent of his passes and has three times as many touchdown passes (12) as he does interceptions (4).
Harris is ranked in the top 15 in passer rating in 2011, putting up a QB rating of 155.92 on the season.
Plus, he’s doing his damage without having to throw the ball 30-40 times a game. Harris only averages 21 throws per game, which has helped his yards per attempt remain high at 8.6.
For Harris it will be a chance to exorcise the demons of last year’s game when he suffered a concussion and was subsequently benched for the next four games.
Thursday night’s game can be seen on ESPN with a kickoff of 8 p.m. The weather forecast calls for a chance of showers.