Can Miami (FL) Cover 9 Points Against Appalachian State?
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Can Miami (FL) Cover 9 Points Against Appalachian State?

Justin Bales
09-10-2021

Head Coach Shawn Clark and the Appalachian States Mountaineers are coming off of a 33-19 win over East Carolina last week. They’re coming off of an impressive 9-3 2020 season, including a 6-2 record in the Sun Belt Conference. Two of their losses were against ranked opponents in Coastal Carolina and Louisiana. Appalachian State corrected their season near the end, winning their final two games, including a 56-28 win against North Texas in Myrtle Beach Bowl. 

 

Manny Diaz and the Miami Hurricanes started the season off with a 13-44 loss to Alabama at a neutral site. They looked completely overmatched throughout the game with the Crimson Tide continuing to be on another level compared to the majority of NCAA teams. Miami dealt with some controversy in 2020, although they ended the season with an 8-3 record and a number next to their name. The Hurricanes ended the 2020 season on a low note, losing to North Carolina in their season finale before losing to Oklahoma State in the Cheez-It Bowl. 

 

This game will be a massive step down in competition for Miami, as Appalachian State isn’t a Power Five program. Can they right the ship and take advantage of a lesser opponent? Or will App State prove that they can hang with a top-25 team in the NCAA? 

 

Appalachian State (+9) vs Miami (FL)

Both of these teams have found success in terms of wins and losses since 2020. They haven’t performed well against the spread (ATS), though. Appalachian State owns a 4-9 ATS record since 2020. They boast a 13.8 average margin of victory over that span, although they’ve also recorded a -0.9 ATS +/- in those games. 

 

Miami’s been slightly better over that span, recording a 6-6 ATS record. They only boast a 3.8 average margin of victory with a 0.0 ATS +/- since 2020. Most importantly, will Appalachian State be able to handle the step up in competition against Miami? 

 

Competition

Playing in the Sun Belt, Appalachian State hasn’t faced the elite competition on a weekly basis that Miami is forced to in the ACC. They’ve played on two ranked teams since the start of the 2020 season, losing to Coastal Carolina and Louisiana by a combined 14 points. They weren’t able to cover the spread in their game. 

 

The Hurricane found plenty of success against lesser competition last season. Although they did play in a few close games, their losses came against ranked opponents in Clemson, North Carolina, and Oklahoma State. Miami’s opponents did keep the game within 5 points in 3 of their last 4 wins last season with a 48-0 victory over Duke being the one exception. 

 

Appalachian State’s best chance at keeping this game within one score is by controlling the ball with their rushing attack. 

 

Run Game

Appalachian State features one of the best rushing attacks in the country. Although they’ll be without Daetrich Harrington, Camerun Peoples and Nate Noel will combine to make up one of the best duos in the country. They combined for 226 yards and 2 touchdowns on 29 carries against East Carolina last week. More importantly, the duo split series, allowing each to stay fresh whenever they were on the field. 

 

They’re running behind an above-average offensive line, as they rank as the 56th group in the NCAA, according to Phil Steele. Miami is susceptible in the running game, as Brian Robinson and Trey Sanders each averaged 5.0+ yards per carry last week. 

 

There will be an obvious difference in pure talent on the field, as Miami’s consistently recruited higher-rated players than App State. With that being said, the road team’s elite rushing attack gives them the ability to shorten this game, scoring on the ground while limiting Miami’s possessions. 

 

Conclusion

It’s tough to completely write off the Miami Hurricanes after their matchup with Alabama. Although most believed they could keep the game somewhat close, it’s clear that Bama is on another level compared to some of the top teams in the NCAA. Can we knock them down in our rankings this fast, though? 

 

I’m not entirely sold. With that being said, I feel this is a terrible matchup for Miami, as Appalachian State features the exact type of roster that can give them fits. They need to rely heavily on their rushing attack while limiting big plays from the Hurricanes offense. If they can do this, they can keep this a one-score game, giving them an edge as a +9 underdog. 


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