MIAMI – Miami is back in action Saturday after a week off, ready to take on cross-town rival Florida International at Marlins Park. The Hurricanes are riding a three-game winning streak after a record-setting 52-27 rout of Louisville last time out to become bowl eligible for the seventh straight season.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network. LINE: Miami -20
"It's really why you come here," said redshirt freshman quarterback Jarren Williams, who also had a career day with 313 yards passing the prior week against Florida State. "You come to The U to set records. You come to this place to do something that no one else has done. So, just coming here, I expected to do something different, to break records. That's the goal. So, I really just keep my head down and keep grinding and good things happen." Williams has endured an up-and-down season in his first year as a starter, but he threw a school-record six touchdowns in the win over Louisville to lead the Hurricanes to a record for points scored in an ACC game. Williams' six scoring strikes came on just 15 completions and tied the ACC mark for passing touchdowns in a game with, among others, NFL stars Deshaun Watson (Clemson) and Lamar Jackson (Louisville). FIU comes in off its own bye week, but the Panthers have lost two of their last three after falling to Florida Atlantic 37-7 in their last outing and they still need one more win to become bowl eligible with a meeting with Marshall set for the regular-season finale.
ABOUT FIU (5-5)
Quarterback James Morgan, who threw for 168 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in a loss to Miami last season, is averaging 187.7 yards passing as the leader of the Panthers offense, connecting on 10 touchdowns and just two interceptions, although he hasn’t thrown either in the last two games. Anthony Jones (638 yards, seven TDs), who sat out the FAU game, and Napoleon Maxwell (554 yards, seven TDs) spearhead a ground attack that averages 179.7 yards per game, with the team pounding out at least that figure in four of the team’s five victories. The defense is giving up 26.6 points per game, with the unit struggling against the run, surrendering 206.2 yards per contest as opponents have scored 22 touchdowns on the ground against the Panthers compared with nine through the air.
ABOUT MIAMI (6-4)
Williams’ recent success wouldn’t happen without the much-improved play of a young offensive line that surrendered at least four sacks in four of the first five games (25 total), including 10 against Florida and seven against Virginia Tech, but hasn’t allowed more than three sacks in any of the last five games (11 total). The running attack hasn’t been consistent due to the growing pains up front, but DeeJay Dallas (96 yards, TD) and Cam’Ron Harris (78 yards) helped the team churn out 197 yards on the ground in the win over Louisville. The defense is finally beginning to live up to expectations and the unit came up with two interceptions in each of the last three games after managing a total of three in the prior seven outings, two of which came in the opener.
1. The local rivals have met just three times, with the Hurricanes winning all three matchups, including a 31-17 victory last September.
2. Third-year FIU head coach Butch Davis held the same position at Miami from 1995-2000.
3. Miami WR Mike Harley had six catches for a career-high 116 yards and two touchdowns against Louisville and he's now second on the team to star TE Brevin Jordan in receiving yards with 447.
PREDICTION: Miami 42, FIU 20