The Miami vs. Pittsburgh preview is heavy with storylines. Pittsburgh has played a big part in Miami’s program although Miami has won the last four games against Pitt. Pitt is 7-4 and has won three games in a row. Miami is 5-6 and is facing an internal battle for the soul of the program versus complacent players and parents. Pittsburgh beat Duke last week and they beat Syracuse when they were ranked. The Panthers don’t have Kenny Pickett anymore but Coach Pat Narduzzi is still the coach. Not one Miami fan will forget the last time Pitt beat Miami. The glory year of 2017 when Miami was 10-0 and ranked #2 in the nation. The Hurricanes won the Coastal division and were heading towards their first ACC title game.
Miami vs. Pittsburgh 2017
It was a season where every Miami fan truly thought the cliche phrase was true, “The Hurricanes are back.” The team beat West Virginia in the 2016 bowl game and began the next season winning 10 games in a row. They destroyed Notre Dame on a mystical night in Miami Gardens that brought back echoes of the 80’s. The game against Pittsburgh looked to be a manageable bump in the road. Any fan thought, the team would take care of Pitt in a “business-like manner” and take the momentum to Charlotte. But no. Pitt dominated Miami. They exposed Malik Rosier. Kenny Pickett showed everyone that he would be a future starting NFL quarterback. He commanded the offense to scores and put the game away with a 22 yard sprint on 4th down to ice the game. Read the New York Times article here. After that game, as a fan, I remember feeling exposed. Like a fraud. Then came the debacle at Charlotte where the team was overmatched by Clemson. The program took a sharp decline from there.
Miami vs. Pittsburgh 2022
The Hurricanes have beaten Pitt in Miami Gardens and in Pitt over the last four years. The team whooped Pitt 24-3 in 2018. It feels as if four wins in a row, isn’t enough to fill the hole Pitt carved out of every Miami fan’s psyche. This Saturday, Pittsburgh comes in playing strong. They have a 1,300 yard running back in Israel Abanikanda. He leads the ACC in rushing. The Pittsburgh defense only allows 97.5 rushing yards per game but their pass defense is middle of the road in the ACC. They are 2-2 on the road and 4-3 in the ACC. In the home game against Georgia Tech, the Yellowjackets took advantage of three Pitt turnovers and scored 13 points off of them. In their two away losses, they lost to Louisville on a sack fumble of quarterback Kedon Slovis that was returned for a TD. North Carolina pulled away from them in the fourth quarter scoring 21 points but Carolina has done that to everyone this year.
Miami vs. Miami
Miami isn’t just playing Pittsburgh on Saturday, they are playing themselves. In a post from Caneswarning.com, Randall Hill has come to the defense of Coach Mario Cristobal. Hill defended Cristobal’s statement telling complaining parents that they could pick up their kids at any time to leave the program. The post also speculated that former disgruntled Miami players are actively recruiting against the Hurricanes. Coach Cristobal has “poked the bear” of the complacent culture in the Hurricanes football program. It is a good thing to have a former player like Randall Hill come to the Coach’s defense. DJ Ivey, DJ Scaife and Will Mallory have said in media availability that Coach Cristobal’s culture change is notable and has made a huge difference. In the third quarter of last week’s game vs. Clemson, the defense caused three turnovers. It was a spark of life against a well-coached team. Miami has a NFL Draft prospects rated by DraftScout ready to leave. Read the article here. Can Mallory, Scaife and Ivey lead the team to a win against Pitt?
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