Miami Hurricanes: Pass rush needs to be key focus against UNC

The Miami Hurricanes will have their hands full with the North Carolina Tar Heels this weekend. The Tar Heels have a potent offense, and it starts with their quarterback, Drake Maye.

Maye has thrown for 1,594 yards, 19 touchdowns, and an interception so far this season. He is coming off a game against Virginia Tech that saw the Tar Heels win by a 41-10 margin.  The quarterback was a huge reason why they were able to come away with the resounding victory. He went 26-of-36 on the afternoon, throwing for 363 yards and three touchdowns. He averaged 10.1 yards per pass.

Maye will certainly present a challenge to the Miami Hurricanes’ defense. The Miami passing defense has struggled a bit. They rank at the bottom of the ACC in yards allowed per game at 251. They rank in the middle of the ACC with 10 sacks, tied with Virginia Tech and Boston College in that number.

Miami Hurricanes pass rush has been quiet

Miami needs to establish more of a pass-rushing presence on Saturday. Jafari Harvey is the leading pass rusher with two sacks on the season. That certainly needs to change. Pass-rushing has been a bit quiet over the past couple of games. They did have two sacks against middle Tennessee State. One came from Corey Flagg, and the other came from Daryl Porter Jr.

More weapons than Maye

Maye is not the only reason why the pass-rush needs to be effective on Saturday. UNC also has several capable playmakers. They don’t necessarily have a top wide receiver. They have multiple players that can make big plays. Take for example their tight end, Bryson Nesbit. He leads the team with 287 receiving yards and three touchdowns on the season. He averages 16.9 yards per catch.

Josh Downs is the team’s leader in receiving touchdowns with four. He has 230 yards on the season, and averages 10.5 yards per reception.

They also have explosive weapons that have not gotten involved in the passing game as much. Antoine Greene is one of them. He only has seven receptions, but has 209 receiving yards and three touchdowns.

Pressure on the quarterback will need to be a priority for Saturday. Guys like Harvey and Flagg, among others, will need to step up once again. If they do not, the Miami Hurricanes could be in for a long day. Allowing Maye to sit in the pocket and have time to make his reads is a recipe for disaster.

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