NCAA FB

Miami offense bracing for Notre Dame test

Share This Story

   
 

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP)

(Eds: Updates. With AP Photos.)By TIM REYNOLDSAP Sports Writer

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.

Question is, can that stride continue on Saturday night?

''I know that we have a great challenge ahead of us in Notre Dame,'' Morris said. ''I'm excited for this challenge. I'm excited to see how my guys are going to respond and how this team is going to respond. That deserves all my attention right now. ... My focus right now is solely on Notre Dame and getting my team ready.''

When he says his focus is on Notre Dame, that means it's probably largely on Irish linebacker Manti Te'o, who might just be the best defensive player in the country.

Or, maybe, the best player in the country, period.

''I don't think there's any question, I think that's fair to say,'' Golden said. ''If he's on a defense right now that's giving up 3.3 yards per carry and less than 10 points and less than 300 yards per game and playing the way he's playing, I think that's a very fair argument.''

To beat the Irish, Miami's offense will absolutely have to find some way to keep Te'o from dominating the game.

''We expect him to make plays. ... He's one of a kind,'' Morris said.

For as much as the Hurricanes say they respect what Te'o brings, the Irish star responds in similar fashion. Miami has two running backs that feature different styles: dynamic speedy freshman Duke Johnson and hard-yardage senior runner Mike James. Both have four-touchdown games this season.

Te'o saved his best praise for Morris, who's thrown for 1,002 yards in the past two weeks alone.

''He has really improved his game and has done a real good job in leading his team,'' Te'o said. ''He has a lot of weapons around him, and he knows how to throw the ball around. He's seen some success so far, and I'm sure he'll continue to see success throughout his season.''

Te'o would just rather not see more of it coming on Saturday night.

And given that Notre Dame just held Michigan and Michigan State to a combined nine points - no touchdowns - the Hurricanes know a challenge that might even be as daunting as the one at Kansas State last month awaits.

''Schematically, they're very, very sound,'' Fisch said. ''They don't make a lot of mistakes at all. I'm not sure I've seen a mistake.''

---

Follow Tim Reynolds on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ByTimReynolds

Tagged: Miami (FL), Notre Dame, Manti Te'o, Stephen Morris

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by

College Football Pick'em on FOX


NCAA FB Videos

AJ Pasquale's journey back to UCLA Posted: Jun 17, 2014
UCLA football ops intern AJ Pasquale describes his own personal journey after th...

Winston issued adult civil citation Posted: Apr 30, 2014
Get the latest news surrounding Jameis Winston's recent shoplifting fiasco.

Mark Emmert against unionization Posted: Apr 06, 2014
NCAA president Mark Emmert comments on unionization for student-athletes.

Get Inside the Locker Room with Scout.com

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/759777/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_759000/ff_759777_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Michigan_State_Spartans/browse/featuredproduct/760171/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_760000/ff_760171_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White
    Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_USC_Trojans/browse/featuredproduct/761373/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_761000/ff_761373_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/829709/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829709_xl.jpg&w=100 64.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimso..
    Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_LSU_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/829740/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829740_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple
    Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_Sooners/browse/featuredproduct/830935/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_830000/ff_830935_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/861243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861243_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue
    adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Nebraska_Cornhuskers/browse/featuredproduct/861247/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861247_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapback Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1087345/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1087000/ff_1087345_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapba..
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1093431/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1093000/ff_1093431_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash