Miami offense bracing for Notre Dame test
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Miami offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch was raving about what he saw on film. Makes sense, given that his Hurricanes have gained more yards than any team in the country over the last two weeks.
Thing is, he wasn't talking about Miami.
Fisch was talking about No. 9 Notre Dame.
"No one scores. No one scores against them," Fisch said.
He's exaggerating, but only slightly. There's no denying that Saturday night's matchup between the Hurricanes (4-1) and the Fighting Irish (4-0) at Soldier Field in Chicago will be a clash of styles, with Miami's high-octane offense — which has scored at least 38 points in each of its four victories — going up against a defense that has yielded a total of 36 points all season.
"Something is going to give," Miami coach Al Golden said.
If Miami is going to upset the Irish, a lot of things will have to give.
The Hurricanes have rushed for 10 touchdowns this season; Notre Dame has not allowed any opponents to score on the ground. Miami has thrown for 10 more touchdowns this season, five of those by Stephen Morris last week in a 44-37 win over North Carolina State; Notre Dame has yielded three passing TDs in 2012, none of them longer than 25 yards.
Just look at the numbers: Notre Dame is allowing one touchdown every 87.7 plays this season, Miami's offense is scoring one every 18.3 plays.
"We're not going to be facing a one-dimensional team," Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. "Obviously, they're going to want to stretch the field. They're looking for one-on-one matchups. They're trying to stretch the football down the field. Look, a good defensive team has got to be able to play both the run and the pass. So this will be a challenge for us. ... It's just another really good challenge for our defense as we move forward."
Morris is coming off a career week, a 566-yard, school- and Atlantic Coast Conference-record effort in the wild victory over N.C. State. The Hurricanes racked up 651 yards in that game, a week after finishing with 609 in a topsy-turvy win over Georgia Tech in which Miami wasted a 19-point lead and then rallied from a 17-point deficit.
The 1,260 yards in the last two weeks is tops in the country, the 86 points in that span is 15th-best in the nation. Clearly, an offense — and a quarterback — that struggled in the first big test of the season at Kansas State, getting blown out 52-13, is hitting its stride.