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Contrast in Styles: Canes-Pack Contest Pits Explosive Offense Against Solid Defense

Coming off 3 consecutive stout defensive efforts against lesser programs, can N. C. State's defense stay strong against Duke Johnson and the high-powered Hurricanes?

David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

The words Miami Hurricanes have a very similar effect, to me anyway, as the words Florida State Seminoles. I think of the Canes as a perennial top 10 football powerhouse. But, in reality, the Canes of recent years are a lot like the Seminoles in that they have failed to live up to expectations. That seems to be changing this year for Florida State, a team that has mauled every team on its schedule, including going on a 35-3 spurt to bury Clemson last week. The Canes are also coming off an impressive win over Georgia Tech, but as evidenced by their blowout loss at Kansas State, Miami still has a ways to go to return to college football prominence.

Miami has not won a bowl game since 2006 or won 10+ games since 2003, so, despite the program's impressive history, of late Miami is a team more or less on par with N. C. State as a second tier FBS school looking to secure a decent bowl and a 20-something ranking in the polls.

Vegas and the Football Outsiders agree that these teams are evenly matched. Miami is a two-point favorite according to the odds makers, and the game is pitting the #39 Hurricanes vs. the #40 Wolfpack according to the Football Outsiders' Fremeau Efficiency Index.

The table below shows the 2011 Football Outsiders four factors for each squad.

N. C. State

Football Outsiders Metric














Advanced metrics cast the 2011 Canes as a very good offensive team that couldn't stop anybody. That has certainly been the case this season. Miami is scoring 33.5 points per game but allowing 40 points per game against FBS opponents. The Canes rank 100th in total defense thanks to being gashed by the running attacks of the Wildcats and Yellow Jackets. Miami is 112th in rushing yardage allowed, and it has given up over 6 yards per play overall.

Meanwhile, the Pack is again a middling offensive team (77th in total offense) but solid on defense (34th). Since forgetting to set its alarm in time to be ready to play Tennessee in the first quarter, State has surrendered just 41 points over its last 15 quarters, or about what Miami gives up in one game. That 2.73 points per quarter State has given up translates into allowing about 11 points per game. That's a mark that would have ranked second to what Alabama did a year ago if it were sustained over a full season.

Miami managed just 13 points against the one good defense it has faced this season. If the Hurricanes post a similar number Saturday, the Pack should win their third straight in the series. But if it turns into a track meet, the Pack may have trouble keeping up.