Miami vs. Savannah State Preview

By: Shasky Clarke

Coming off an upset win over Florida and a subsequent bye week, Miami gets a tune-up game at home against one of the worst teams in the FCS, Savannah State. Savannah State has finished 1-10 in each of the past three seasons. In their first two games this year, they’ve lost 77-9 to Georgia Southern and 66-3 at Troy.

Thus far, the Tigers are completing a shocking 42% of their passes and gaining an unheard of 0.8 yards per carry. Meanwhile, opponents own a 71% completion percentage and getting nearly seven yards per carry.

The good news for Savannah State is that they took care of business last week at home against Division II opponent Fort Valley State, eking out a 27-20 victory in a game that saw 6’1” senior quarterback Antonio Bostick return from a two game suspension. Bostick, though, is a 44% career passer with 17 touchdowns and 30 interceptions.

What to Expect

First-year head coach Earnest Wilson brings an Air Raid-style offense to Savannah State after building a successful program at Jackson State. The team is led by fast senior wide-out Simon Heyward and senior playmaking cornerback John Wilson. But overall, there is a reason that the Tigers are a 60 point underdog on the road at the Hurricanes.

This game is about offensive execution early and in-game reps for young players. Look for freshmen like running back Gus Edwards, cornerback Artie Burns and guard Alex Gall to finally see significant playing time. Safety Deon Bush is still recovering from off-season sports hernia surgery and could see his first action of the season on Saturday as well.

Savannah State’s Key Players

Wide Receiver Simon Heyward 5’11” 185 Sr.

Career: 124 rec., 1559 yards, 9 touchdowns.

2013: 8 catches, 178 yards, 22.3 per catch, 1 TD coming off a big game against Fort Valley State (5-115-1).

Cornerback John Wilson 5’10” 175 Sr.

Four interceptions in 2012; three in last week’s win.

Miami Offense

Yards per pass: 6.5 (84th)

Yards per rush: 5.3 (38th)

Senior quarterback Stephen Morris is receiving a lot of hype about his 2014 NFL draft prospects. But he is not currently playing up to those standards. Morris is completing less than 52% of his passes even as the passing offense hasn’t been attacking defenses downfield. Saturday’s game will be a good opportunity for Morris and his receivers to get on track under their new offensive coordinator.