Louisville vs. Miami Preview

Louisville (-135) is favored by 2.5 points over Miami (+115) with the over/under set at 62.0 total points

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Quick-Hitters

  • The Miami Hurricanes passed their first test of the season last week, beating a tricky UAB team 31-14.

  • The Louisville Cardinals also played a quality Conference USA opponent to open their schedule, taking care of rival Western Kentucky 35-21.

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Miami's Solid Start

The Miami Hurricanes passed their first test of the season last week, beating a tricky UAB team 31-14. The game remained close late into the third quarter, although Miami pulled away at the end, ultimately out-gaining the Blazers by more than 200 yards. Of course, this week’s game against Louisville Cardinals begins a stretch of 10-straight conference games, including five games against teams that are currently ranked.

It wasn’t quite the debut that D’Eriq King had in mind. He only threw for 144 yards on 24 pass attempts. The Miami wide receivers struggled to establish themselves as downfield threats against a stout UAB defense. On the bright side, the Miami rushing attack was out in full force, racking up more than 300 yards against the Blazers. King rushed for 83 yards and a touchdown, showing his versatility. However, it was a much better sign for Cam’Ron Harris to gain 134 yards on the ground, averaging close to eight yards per carry.

Meanwhile, the Miami defense had a strong season-opener, although the jury remains out. The Blazers aren't expected to be a high-powered offensive team this season, so Miami holding them to just 14 points was expected. That being said, the Blazers have competed at the top of Conference USA on the back of their rushing attack in recent years. The Miami defense held UAB to 80 rushing yards, which bodes well against Louisville.

Louisville's Encouraging Opener

The Cardinals also played a quality Conference USA opponent to open their schedule, taking care of rival Western Kentucky 35-21. After falling behind early, Louisville scored four unanswered touchdowns before halftime to lead 28-7 at the break, ultimately cruising to a comfortable win in the second-half and covering the 13.0-point spread.

Quarterback Micale Cunningham was the star of the game. He threw for 343 yards and three touchdowns, averaging better than 10 yards per pass attempt. He wasn't shy about taking shots downfield, connecting a few times with Dez Fitzpatrick and Braden Smith. Star receiver Tutu Atwell didn’t have a catch longer than 17 yards against WKU. Of course, that’s not a trend that’s likely to continue if Cunningham keeps looking down the field.

Defensively, the Cardinals were a little better than expected, but still leave much to prove. WKU quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome didn’t challenge the Louisville secondary the way they’ll be challenged against Miami. The Cardinals were solid against the run, especially since Pigrome is a mobile quarterback who led the Hilltoppers in rushing. Nevertheless, it wasn’t an ideal tune-up for the Miami offense.

Game Line

Despite comfortable wins in their season-openers, both Louisville and Miami have something to prove this week. A Louisville defense that was thrashed repeatedly last season will face one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the country. The Hurricanes also proved last week that they can run the ball effectively without King using his legs. Of course, Cunningham and the Louisville offense can be explosive at times, potentially creating problems for a Miami defense that looks solid, but wasn’t challenged in the opener.

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