Dawning The All-Black “Miami Nights” Uniforms, The Hurricanes Put College Football On Notice
How will the College Football Playoff Committee View Miami?
Saturday was filled with top-25 upsets, but the Miami Hurricanes (8-0, 6,0 ACC) weren’t among them. The Canes canceled the outside noise and took care of business, downing No. 13 Virginia Tech (7-2, 3-2 ACC) in the process.
In spite of Hurricanes quarterback Malik Rosier’s three interceptions, Miami played a complete game in all three phases. Due to their efforts, the Hurricanes will earn some respect from the CFP committee and continue their quest for an ACC Championship and a playoff berth.
“It was an hour before kickoff, one of the guys came out and they just noticed the difference in the energy,” Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said. “The student section brought it, and the fans brought it. Two hours before kickoff, just when the buses pulled up and seeing the scenes that were going on in the parking lot, let our guys know that the city is different and that’s the relationship between Hurricane football and South Florida.”
Slow Starts Continue to Plague Miami
The Hurricanes finish their third straight game with zero points in the first quarter. Scoring in the first quarter has been rare for the Canes, coming into Saturday’s matchup averaging four points in the first quarter.
However, it wasn’t for lack of trying. Richt called two trick plays on the first drive that ultimately ended in a goal-line stand for the Hokies. But was Richt too aggressive? The Canes went for it on fourth and goal from the two-yard line, losing yards in the process.
Miami did assert themselves in the second quarter, limiting Virginia Tech’s high powered offense to a field goal. The Hurricanes went into halftime 14-3 with an eight-yard pass from Rosier to senior receiver Braxton Berrios, and 64-yard sprint by running back Travis Homer.
Rosier came into Saturday’s matchup doing a good job protecting the football. With only four interceptions on the year, none of them were devastating to the Hurricanes’ season. Rosier almost matched his season total in interceptions with three vs. the Hokies.
Rosier threw an ill-advised jump ball to freshman receiver Jeff Thomas, intercepted by Hokies cornerback Adonis Alexander towards the end of the first half.
On Miami’s very next possession, Rosier had his ball tipped and intercepted by Hokies safety Reggie Floyd.
And for the third possession in a row, Rosier tried to squeeze a throw to receiver Ahmmon Richards late, which was picked off by Virgina Tech cornerback Greg Stroman.
Richt didn’t lose faith in Rosier; the redshirt junior bounced back with a 43-yard touchdown pass to Chris Herndon. Also, Rosier was ultra-clutch with his legs, rushing for 84 yards.
Manny Diaz is on a Mission
Defense Coordinator Manny Diaz has been brilliant for the Miami Hurricanes this season. With all the different offenses to prepare for, an unhealthy secondary and keeping the Canes in the game when the offense isn’t clicking.
Diaz’s brainchild, the ‘Turnover Chain” has helped bring Miami’s brand of defense officials back. The Hurricanes generated four more turnovers, overwhelming Virginia Tech quarterback Josh Jackson all night long. The moment was too big for the redshirt freshman Jackson, as Diaz came after him from all angles.
Virginia Tech came into Saturday’s matchup averaging 34.5 points per game by way of 446.5 yards per game. Diaz and the Miami defense shut them down, by not buying into all the window dressing and misdirection the Hokies like to do.
“As a coach you’re always thinking about the plays that you wish you had still stop, but I thought our [guys were] relentlessness,” Diaz said. “I thought our efforts from start to finish were really good. What I watched tonight was the symbiotic relationship between the defense and the offense and special teams.”
It won’t be long before schools start contact Diaz about a head coaching position.
The U is Back
The stigma that is Miami Football is officially back. Off to an 8-0 start, and a nation-leading streak of 13 wins in a row have the Canes in the conversation for a national championship.
Recruits haven’t seen the Miami tradition from the 80’s, 90’s or early 2000’s. They can you-tube it, but now they can truly be apart of Miami Football, the brand.
Up Next: ESPN’s College Gameday will visit Miami next Saturday, as Notre Dame comes to Hard Rock Stadium to renew an old rivalry. Gameday hasn’t been to Miami in over a decade, and the last time Notre Dame and Miami were in a top-ten matchup was 1987.