After a disappointing loss to Virginia Tech last week, Pitt hopes to rebound this coming weekend with a game against the Miami Hurricanes.
Things won't be easy, obviously. After a 4-0 start, Miami has floundered, dropping four in a row. The competition, however, has been more than respectable during that stretch with games against North Carolina, Florida State, Virginia Tech, and Notre Dame. The Irish aren't a great team this year, but that is still one heck of a month. A lot is being made of the Miami losing streak but once you look at the opponents they've faced, it doesn't look nearly as bad as it sounds.
Pitt also has to face off against a very good quarterback in Brad Kaaya and plays the game on the road. In other words, you can find plenty to dislike about this matchup from the Pitt perspective.
On offense, the Hurricanes have been decent this year. They rank only 64th in the nation in yardage, but their 33.7 points per game are good for 42nd. With Kaaya, as you might expect, it's the passing game that has done a bit more than the ground attack. Miami ranks 50th with nearly 250 passing yards per game and is 24th in terms of passing efficiency.
Where Miami has made their mark this year has been on defense. The Hurricanes are 13th in the nation in scoring defense averaging only 17.3 points per game. The 246 yards per contest is also good for 24th in the country.
Frankly, I don't have much concern about Pitt's ability score points. They just faced Virginia Tech, who was 11th in total defense and the Panthers' offense did just fine, scoring 36 in that game. The problem will be, as it has been, trying to slow down a team with a good passing attack. Pitt just gave up over 400 yards to Virginia Tech through the air and Kaaya is capable of doing something similar.
One good thing for Pitt is that Miami has been terrible on third down this year. The Hurricanes are 104th in the country, converting under 35% of the time. If Pitt can keep Miami to minimal yardage on their first two attempts in drives, it should bode well for them.
This is not an unwinnable game. Pitt fared better against Virginia Tech than Miami, losing by only three as opposed to the Hurricanes' 21-point loss. Ditto against North Carolina. Still, playing a solid passing team with a great defense on the road doesn't exactly bode well for the team, either.