October 6, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. EST
Last Meeting: 2010 Sun Bowl: Notre Dame-33 Miami-17
Stephen Morris, QB, Junior- Morris threw for 566 yards last week against NC State (setting a school record), amounting to 5 touchdowns and 1 interception. He completed 53.1% of his passes, which is below his season average. So far this season Morris has thrown for 1635 yards with a 59.9 completion percentage, with 9 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. When it comes down to it, Miami depends on Morris for creating the offensive production averaging 51.75 passing attempts per game. Although he hasn’t been running much, when the pocket breaks down he will run and dive for the first down. Notre Dame has to be conscious of his ability to be a dual threat guy. It starts and ends with Morris, which is by far the key to their offensive success. Morris ranks 15th in the nation in passing yards per game.
Duke Johnson, RB, Freshman- Johnson has made an impact immediately as a freshman, by doing it all; running, receiving, and kick returns. Johnson has racked up 920 total yards on the season with 7 total touchdowns. He is tied for the lead for the Hurricanes in scoring with 42 points on the season. Rushing the ball 52 times for 359 yards with a 6.9 yards per carry average, amounting to 5 touchdowns. Johnson leads the team in every rushing category but attempts (Mike James has 60 carries). Receiving the ball 15 times for 147 yards for a 9.8 yards per catch and adding 1 touchdown. Kick returns is the big difference maker, Johnson has 14 kick returns for 414 yards with a touchdown, an average of 29.57 yards per return. He has a small frame at only 5’9’’ 183 pounds, so I’m basically mainly worried about his speed and cutting ability. If he gets too much space, Johnson will make a big play.
Phillip Dorsett, WR, Sophomore- Dorsett in his second year is another speed player for the Miami Hurricanes. He leads the team in receiving, grabbing 28 catches for 464 yards a 16.6 yards per catch average and 3 touchdowns. He also returns punts and kickoffs, has a 6.2 yards per punt average on 10 attempts for 62 yards. Dorsett has returned 3 kicks for 80 yards, which is 26.6 yards per return. Last week he caught the winning touchdown pass on a broken play to beat NC State. Dorsett relies a lot on his speed to get him open. His routes are not technically sound, but you can see improvement game by game.
Overall, this team has a consistent quarterback in Morris that will carry the load if they can’t get the running game going. Duke Johnson does it all and will determine the offense’s production based on his performance. Dorsett is their deep threat and with Notre Dame’s secondary still young, they will take their shots deep to test these young players. Miami is 38th in scoring offense, which makes this the best team that Notre Dame has faced statistically and by far the fastest. My advice? Contain, then contain, and then contain some more. Don’t let their playmakers get into space, because they will make defenders miss. Keep the running backs between the tackles and never let anyone behind you in the secondary. Lastly don’t kick the football off to Dorsett or Johnson, since they are both averaging over 26 yards per return. Doing these things will give Notre Dame the best chance to win.