The Hurricanes came out to play against Duke after having their games postponed since November 14th. While many worried that the Hurricanes would look rusty from the layoff, they did not. However, Miami played with a concerted effort. Head coach Manny Diaz stated that every player that traveled with the team got the chance to play, a feat he was very proud of.
Miami actually entered this game with a two-year losing streak to the Duke Blue Devils, after winning the first 13 matchups. From the opening kickoff, the Hurricanes looked like a team on a mission to end that streak.
Review: Miami Shuts Out Duke 48-0
Senior quarterback D’Eriq King passed for three touchdowns while rushing for an additional score. The four-touchdown performance was done in three quarters as Miami decided to play backups in the fourth quarter. Prior to the postponement in Miami’s schedule, the passing attack was starting to hit its stride. The connection picked up where they left off as a Miami receiver went over 100 yards for the fourth straight game.
A noticeable returnee to the action was the return of big-play tight end, Brevin Jordan. It didn’t take long to for the All-ACC honoree to find the endzone as he scored the game’s first touchdown. Also, senior Mike Harley refused to be left out of the conversation delivering a back-breaking touchdown. Harley’s 89-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter sucked the remaining life from the Duke sideline. The rushing attack of Miami’s also got back on track with junior running back Cam’Ron Harris scoring two touchdowns. His 96 yards on the ground also were the most yards from Harris since the second game of the season against Louisville.
Sacks and Turnovers
The real story of the game was the enthusiasm of the Hurricane defense after such a long hiatus. Diaz prioritized tackling in the practices leading up to the game and it showed on Saturday. Miami’s defense played its best performance on Saturday by rarely missing any tackles in open space. The havoc didn’t end just in the tackling department, the Canes found the turnover chain multiple times. The dynamic defensive end duo of Quincy Roche and Jaelan Phillips also stood out. Together the two combined for six and a half tackles for loss and three sacks, even meeting each other at the quarterback on one shared sack.
The pressure from the defensive line made the job of the secondary much easier. Safeties Bubba Bolden and Amari Carter enjoyed good performances while finishing with nine and seven tackles, respectively. Redshirt freshman Keontra Smith delivered several knockout blows and forced a fumble in the second half.
The Hurricanes are unfortunately eliminated from ACC championship contention but are hopeful to land a New Year’s Six bowl game. Next week’s matchup against North Carolina could very well determine who gets that bowl bid. In addition to playing in a notable bowl, Miami is looking to avenge a loss to the Tar Heels last season. The Hurricanes also have the possibility to win ten games if they can win their final two regular-season games.
Miami’s trend of playing the majority of their players should follow for the rest of the season as Diaz has been very impressed with the freshman class. Notably, the game against Duke shows how talented of a class Miami has. Three out of the five turnovers Miami had against Duke were from true freshmen.