Miami vs. LSU – What To Watch

#8 Miami and #25 LSU Meet at AT&T Stadium in a Showdown in the Advocare Classic

PHOTO: MIAMI HURRICANES

Arlington, TX — The Miami Hurricanes will start a new era in how they go about there non-conference scheduling. Sunday, they’ll play the LSU Tigers, next season they’ll play Florida, Michigan State in 2020, and Alabama in 2021.

The last time these two powerhouses played, LSU throttled Miami 40-3 in the 2005 Peach Bowl. Miami’s players are too young to exact revenge, but the SEC-ACC rivalry will be on full display Sunday night.

“We’re getting ready to play LSU,” Miami head coach Mark Richt said. “Great football team. Historically great. I think ‘great’ is the way to describe them now, when you watch their film – very physical, fast team. They recruit as good or better than anybody in the country. They have more NFL players on rosters right now than anybody in America, that’s about three or four years running …”

Richt enters his third season at his alma mater; improving each year as Richt guided the Canes to their first ten-win season since 2003. Miami has a legitimate chance at reaching the College Football Playoff as the Canes are favored in all of their games in 2018. It starts week one vs. LSU in Arlington.

Must-Win Game

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A crazy notion for a week one matchup, but both Miami, and LSU are in must-win scenarios.

LSU head coach Ed Orgeron has the hottest seat in college football. After week one’s matchup with Miami the Tigers will face four more ranked teams including #1 Alabama and #3 Georgia. Also, tough road trips to Florida and Texas A&M. LSU cannot afford a loss to Miami Sunday night as their schedule does them no favors.

Miami is in a must-win scenario due to their finish last season. Miami soared to the #2 team in the country before three-straight losses with two coming at the hands of top-ten teams (Clemson, Wisconsin). With expectations of reaching the CFP, the Hurricanes cannot afford a loss to start the season making it four-straight losses, three to ranked opponents.

Matchups To Watch

LSU’s Joe Burrow vs. Miami’s Defense: No one knows a whole lot about transfer QB Burrow, except he was recruited by Ohio St. and LSU, so he has potential. After winning the job in fall camp Burrow cannot ease into the season as most teams do. Miami’s defense is one of the top groups in the country. How Burrow’s responds to the speed of Miami’s defense will determine LSU’s success. Look for Miami to break out the Turnover Chain often.
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Ahmmon Richards vs. Greedy Williams: This could be one of the best individual matchups over the entire weekend. Both players will play on Sundays, potential first-round picks. LSU is known for its physical play on the outside; Richards has big-play ability averaging 18.8 yards per reception. Also, Miami’s ability to run the ball will affect this matchup.

Miami’s O-Line vs. LSU’s D-Line: Coach O’s specialty is the defensive line, and LSU thrives at harassing opposing offensive lines. Miami’s biggest question mark heading into 2018 is its offensive line. As the game plays out, watch how Miami handles the depth of LSU’s D-Line. The Hurricanes main objective is to keep QB Malik Rosier upright so he can get the ball out to Miami’s playmakers.

Special Teams: Going back to the Les Miles days, LSU has always excelled in special teams, Blocking kicks/punts, and kick/punt returns make the Tigers formidable. Miami has enjoyed the services of kicker Michael Badgley over the past several years. However, the Canes turn to true freshman Bubba Baxa who has struggled in camp.

X-FACTOR: Sunday’s matchup will be a defensive struggle at times, the team who does not turn the ball over will win. Miami took the ball away 31 times in 2017; LSU had 18 takeaways.

Prediction: Miami’s defense will be too much for the first-year starter, Burrow. LSU will struggle to move the ball leaving their defense on the field longer. Due to a tired defense, the Canes offensive weapons will take over in the fourth quarter.

Miami 24 – LSU 10

More on the Miami Hurricanes:

Miami Season Preview

Training Camp Questions

Miami’s 2018 Recruiting Class