Don’t look now, but the Miami Hurricanes have been playing like one of the best teams in the country, and they’ll head into their first ACC conference game with a 4-0 record. The Canes will play host to a Georgia Tech team that is coming off an upset loss to Bowling Green that dropped them to 2-3 on the year.
Tyler Van Dyke went from a projected first-round pick to a forgotten name after his performance last season. The Canes gunslinger certainly put his name back on the map this season, though, as he has thrown for 1,042 yards with 11 touchdowns and one interception, which has the Miami offense ranked 1st in offensive EPA and 6th in average points per game.
Prior to their bye week last weekend, Miami went on the road to beat Temple 41-7 in a game that saw running back Henry Parrish Jr. rush for 139 yards and two touchdowns on 14 attempts. Between Van Dyke and Parrish Jr., the Canes' offense is in a great spot, but their defense deserves some credit as well, as they enter this weekend ranked 15th in defensive success rate.
In their first ACC game of the year, the well-balanced Hurricanes are set to play a Georgia Tech team that fell 38-27 to Bowling Green last weekend. The Yellow Jackets offense has operated at a high level under transfer quarterback Haynes King, who has them ranked 23rd in offensive EPA behind his 15 passing touchdowns. Georgia Tech has shown a nice ability to move the ball downfield, averaging 8.6 yards per pass, but their biggest problem has been keeping pace with their defense.
After allowing 38 points last weekend, the Yellow Jackets defense is allowing an average of 35.3 points and 462 yards per game. Finding success on the ground has come easy to the Yellow Jackets’ opponents, as their average of 231.3 rushing yards allowed per game is ranked 128th in the country. That’s led to a 51.4% defensive success rate on run plays, which is good for 128th.
The 17th-ranked Hurricanes open up conference play as (-19.5) point favorites, and I’ll be backing them for my play. Tyler Van Dyke and the Canes offense are primed to beat up on the Georgia Tech defense both through the air and on the ground. Miami has the 7th best offensive success rate in the country, and now they’re lining up at home against a Georgia Tech defense that is 123rd in defensive success rate and 98th in EPA per pass play.
Miami ranking inside the top 20 in offensive success rate for both passing and rushing plays means they can run a full, well-balanced attack on Saturday that the Yellow Jackets likely won’t be able to stop. Georgia Tech is already in the bottom third of college football in terms of average yards allowed per rush, and that could lead to a career day for Henry Parrish Jr. since he is averaging 7.9 yards per carry.
Defensively, the Hurricanes will be the toughest test that Georgia Tech will have faced this season. The pass-heavy Yellow Jackets are tasked with consistently beating a Miami secondary that is 22nd in EPA per pass play, and if they decide to establish the run, they have to deal with a Miami run defense holding opponents to 2.3 yards per carry.
Miami Hurricanes (-19.5)