University of Miami

Hurricanes facing tough Pitt team

Head coach Larry Scott rushes the field with players as the University of Miami hosts Georgia Tech at Sun Life Stadium on Saturday, November 21, 2015.
Head coach Larry Scott rushes the field with players as the University of Miami hosts Georgia Tech at Sun Life Stadium on Saturday, November 21, 2015.

After defeating Georgia Tech 38-21 on Saturday, the Hurricanes have a shortened week preceding their final regular-season game at noon Friday (ESPN2) against Pittsburgh.

The Panthers defeated Louisville 45-34 on Saturday, 42 of their points scored in the first half.

They rushed for 244 yards against a Louisville defense that entered the game ranked No. 11 nationally in run defense. Redshirt freshman running back Qadree Ollison rushed for 152 yards and a touchdown to surpass 1,000 yards for the season.

Defensively, defensive end Ejuan Price had a career-high five sacks Saturday, an extraordinary number.

“They’re very well coached,” said UM interim coach Larry Scott during his weekly Sunday teleconference.

“They’re a physical, tough team. We’ve got to be willing to go in and match their physical toughness. Early in the Louisville game there were some turnovers and short fields, and offensively they did a good job of taking advantage of it.”

Pitt sophomore Avonte Maddox returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown with 35 seconds left in the first half.

Miami is 7-4, 4-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Pittsburgh is 8-3, 6-1.

Eyeing the NFL

With two games left in the season, including a still undetermined bowl, some underclassmen are likely pondering their future football careers.

Those likely include cornerbacks Artie Burns and Corn Elder, receiver Stacy Coley and linebacker Al-Quadin Muhammad.

After early-season hamstring issues, Coley leads UM with 600 yards receiving — third best in the ACC. Muhammad had a career-high 11 tackles Saturday and his team-high fourth sack, and a forced fumble. Elder has two interceptions, 11 passes defended and nine broken up, and a punt and kickoff returned for touchdowns.

And Burns is tied with Boston College’s Justin Simmons for first in the ACC with five interceptions and has eight passes defended.

Scott said it was still too early to discuss the NFL Draft with anyone.

“The thing I’ve done with the players is keep them in the place that they’re in now,’’ he said. “Nothing is more important and nothing is guaranteed to them but the day they have ahead of them. We can’t get too far ahead of ourselves and start worrying about things that ultimately are going to take care of themselves if you’re doing what you’re supposed to do on a day to day basis.

“When the regular season comes to a close and players have various issues and different things they’ve got going on and they want to come in and discuss [them], the door is always open. We’re always here to support and guide and help them make whatever decisions they have to make at the appropriate time.”

Scott said Burns, whose mother died Oct. 27, is “doing well” and “adjusting to his situation… He’s slowly coming out of it and doing all the things he still needs to do in his life from the standpoint of moving forward. Every coach, every player, everybody in the UM family he has support from. He has a lot of people around him who care about him.”

Injury update

Scott said everyone emerged OK health-wise from the Georgia Tech game.

Naturally guys are sore, but nothing major,” he said. “We’re very fortunate to be in a good position and getting ready to move forward [Monday] with Pittsburgh.”

▪ The coach declined to comment on whether receiver Tyre Brady and tight end Stan Dobard were still suspended after sitting out of Saturday’s game for a violation of team rules.