UVa At Miami Scouting Report: Miami Defense

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The Miami Hurricanes were anxious to return to action last week against North Carolina State. They were coming off a bye week and they had completed one of the most exciting come-from-behind victories in school history against FSU the week prior. But that renewed confidence and the talk of being back in the Coastal Division hunt fell by the wayside with a 19-16 overtime loss to the surging Wolfpack.

All signs point to this being another close, low-scoring affair for both clubs. Neither team has been able to establish any consistency on offense while the defenses have carried their respective teams.

Head coach Randy Shannon’s defense finished the 2006 season ranked seventh in the NCAA in total defense, fourth in rushing defense, 13th in scoring defense, and 40th in pass defense. Those rankings would be the envy of almost any defensive coordinator, but they are similar to how Shannon’s defenses ranked in his six seasons as the defensive coordinator. His defenses led the country in scoring or passing defense in four of his six years as the DC. Shannon’s defenses have ranked among the NCAA’s top 10 in five of the last six seasons.

Over the last five games, however, the generally stout UM defense has been anything but, giving up 352.8 yards per game. The biggest culprit has been a pass defense that has allowed 198 yards per outing. Miami has lost three of those five contests.


    The Hurricanes forced five turnovers against Florida State (two interceptions and three fumbles) and have now forced 20 turnovers in nine games, one short of their 13-game total last season. Miami has 10 interceptions in 2007 after intercepting only 12 passes all of last season. The Hurricanes have already recovered 10 fumbles.
  • Miami has allowed the fewest defensive touchdowns in college football over the last nine seasons, 182 in 109 games. That averages out to fewer than two touchdowns per game (1.67). In 2006, the Hurricanes defense allowed only 22 touchdowns in 13 games.
  • Last year, Virginia netted 132 yards rushing against UM, ending its 10-game streak of holding opponents to fewer than 100 yards rushing. Although the Hurricanes have a strong defensive reputation, this year’s run defense