The Hurricanes are among several teams in the ACC that have depended on underclassmen for their success. While they are more balanced than Tech with just 53 underclassmen, the Hurricanes have depended on several for their success this season. The list includes freshman Quarterback Jacory Harris and freshman receiver/returner Travis Benjamin.
The Hurricanes played a game last night against Virginia Tech, but set up the important meeting with a win over then-division leader Virginia 24-17, in overtime on UVA’s home turf. The Canes trailed 17-10 at the half. But backup Harris came in to lead Miami to a touchdown with less than a minute left with a pass to receiver Laron Byrd.
The play tied the game and allowed for Harris’s second touchdown pass to receiver Aldarius Johnson on the first drive of overtime. The Miami defense then stuffed Virginia running back Cedric Peerman and forced a fumble. Linebacker Romeo Davis recovered the fumble to preserve the win.
The Hurricanes are not the same dominant force they were in the 1990s or early 2000s, but with back-to-back defense-heavy recruiting classes, the Canes are improving each year. Former Tech offensive coordinator Patrick Nix, who served here from 2002-2006, coaches the Cane’s offense.
Miami ranks third in the conference in scoring offense (29.8 points per game), but ranks eighth in total offense (322.1 yards per game). Their defense also ranks third in the conference in total defense (286.9 yards per game) and fourth in rushing defense (109.9 yards per game).
Despite losing to UNC last weekend, the Jackets still have a chance to finish with a 10-win season. The last time the Jackets won 10 games was under former Head Coach George O’Leary and quarterback Joe Hamilton in 1998, when the Jackets shared the ACC title with Florida State and beat Notre Dame in the Gator Bowl.
The UNC game was probably the worst effort from all three phases of the game all year, but the Jackets have yet to lose two games in a row. Tech is fighting severely low depth issues because of a rash of injuries on the offensive line and because they have more freshmen and sophomores on their roster than any other team in the conference.
This game against Miami marks the fifth time the teams will play each other as ACC opponents. The Hurricanes took the first one in Atlanta in 2004, but the Jackets have won the last three including a 14-10 win in the Miami Orange Bowl in 2005 when the Canes were ranked No 3 in national polls and were on their way to an ACC championship game appearance.
The game will also be a white-out game. Made famous most recently by Penn State, the Athletic Association has tried to get the message out. SGA will also provide T-shirts for the 8000 students in attendance the night of the game. Tech plays Miami on Thursday, November 20 at 7:30 p.m.
Prediction: Tech 24 – Miami 23