Miami Hurricanes Week 12 Preview: Louisville Cardinals

Photo by Edwin Garcia


Miami, Florida – With Emory Williams out until spring, the Miami Hurricanes named Tyler Van Dyke the starter for Week 12 in the home finale versus Louisville. Coming off a spirited effort in the 27-20 loss to Florida State, the Canes sit at 6-4 (2-4, ACC) with two games remaining in the season. Already bowl-eligible, Miami hopes to end the season strong starting with a potentially big victory over the 11th-ranked Cardinals. Checking in at 9-1 (6-1, ACC) this could be coach Mario Cristobal’s first signature win of his tenure at Coral Gables.

Louisville rolls into town on a three-game winning streak barely escaping the Virginia Cavaliers last weekend squeaking by 31-24. UM won the last meeting back in 2020. Transfer quarterback D’Eriq King threw for 325 yards and three touchdowns in a 47-34 shootout at Cardinal Stadium. The Hurricanes own the overall series 11-3 (with a tie in 1950) nabbing the dub in the last two get-togethers. Because of their very effective defense, productive running game, and close defeat to FSU, the Canes are one-point favorites. They’ll have to contend with an opposing team’s defense that’s just as stingy as them. Where Miami only allows 20.7 points a game, the Cardinals allow roughly 17 points a game. Throw in an offense that’s among the best in the conference and you see why in some ways these two teams are evenly matched so long as you don’t compare quarterbacks.

Louisville

Jack Plummer

Ranked fourth among quarterbacks in passing yards within the ACC Jack Plummer has racked up 16 TDs. Although he’s thrown nine picks (music to the Canes’ ears) Plummer is capable of going deep. Against the Cavaliers, he slung it to a wide-open Ahmari Huggins-Bruce for the 52-yard strike tying the game late in the fourth quarter. Louisville is fourth in passing among the conference (251.1 YDS/G) a smidge behind the Hurricanes (255.6 YDS/G). Plummer has thrown 2,402 yards for 2023.

Jawhar Jordan

This running back is on the verge of hitting the 1,000-yard mark. Jawhar Jordan has rushed for 976 thus far seeing the endzone 11 times (with one TD in the air) averaging 6.9 yards per game. Recording 17 carries for 95 yards Jordan did not score versus UVA. He’ll certainly try at the Hardrock versus a Canes squad that’s well-versed against the rush. The Cardinals average 187.9 yards per game on the ground.

Devin Neal

Considering how prone to interceptions Van Dyke has become, Devin Neal is really bad news. Compiling four picks this season including one last week, Neal is going for a feast down here in Miami. Tallying 51 tackles, 33 of them solo, Neal has the third most on the team in addition to six pass break ups making him a top menace to TVD’s efforts Saturday afternoon. Additionally, the Louisville defense has 11 interceptions showing how capable they are of making those takeaways, a key stat to winning.

Miami

Tyler Van Dyke/Jacurri Brown

And we’re right back to TVD. Coach Mario Cristobal left no suspense when he announced that Tyler Van Dyke was starting versus Louisville earlier in the week. In what’s likely his final home game in a Canes uniform, Van Dyke has a chance to proverbially ride off into the sunset beating a highly-ranked team and redeeming a portion of the struggles he’s experienced this season. With 12 picks for 2023, he should be wary of the Cardinals’ defense. They already know who his go-to guy is. Presuming Van Dyke is on a short leash, there could be a Jacurri Brown sighting.

Xavier Restrepo

For the first time this season, X didn’t record a catch. Inconsequential at Florida State, it was strange not seeing Xavier Restrepo be a factor in a contest. That’s going to change this weekend. As TVD’s safety valve, Restrepo will get plenty of looks. Assuming the two are able to link up and remain in sync the fans could see at least an explosive play or two. Now if Van Dyke regains his confidence and Shannon Dawson goes full air raid, the junior could hit the centennial mark in style. To date, Restrepo has 60 catches for 683 yards including four touchdowns.

Mark Fletcher, Jr.

Mark Fletcher and the rest of the running back corps will have their hands full. Playing against a unit that allows 91.9 yards per game, the second-best in the ACC behind Miami itself, might prove a daunting task. However, folks can look back to the Clemson game where the Hurricanes rushed for over 200 yards. The trouble is if the Canes fall behind, the rush might see a minimized role. Also If Jacurri Brown comes in we don’t know what sort of packaged plays he’s been assigned.

Prediction

In spite of everything, UM is still on track to finish 8-4. It certainly doesn’t feel that way. There are four keys to victory on Saturday. First, Miami has to be far more successful on third down. Next, there needs to be takeaways, forcing those turnovers is crucial. Halting Jordan will go a long way in turning the red birds into a one-trick pony. And perhaps most important of all, Van Dyke has to put up a decent outing. Defense alone isn’t going to cut it and I don’t expect a stellar day for the running game. What I do expect is a win for The U by a score of 24-20.

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