That’s what Virginia did to the Miami Hurricanes last season in Miami’s finale at the historic Orange Bowl, as the Cavaliers completely blanked the Canes.
This year there will be plenty of fuel for the fire as the Hurricanes (5-3, 2-2) will hit the road to face off with the Cavaliers, the leader in the ACC Coastal Division. Virginia (5-3, 3-1) has won four straight games, including three straight at home.
Traveling to Charlottesville, Va., the Hurricanes’ agenda can’t be vengeance after last year’s loss. Head coach Randy Shannon stated that the Hurricanes cannot come into this game against Virginia with a plan of revenge, but instead with the task of getting the job done.
“Revenge sometimes can hurt you because it’s built up inside of you,” Shannon said. “You have to go into the game with a fresh mind. Not hatred, but a strong dislike. We have a whole different team from last year.”
Quarterback Robert Marve added, “You want to get revenge back a little bit, but that was last year’s team. That is a whole different year.”
Last week Miami defeated Wake Forest, 16-10, giving them three straight wins in the ACC. The Canes held the Demon Deacons scoreless during the last 43 minutes of the game.
“That was a good game,” said offensive tackle and team captain Jason Fox. “Wake Forest was a great team.”
Virginia is coming off an impressive road win, 24-17, over then-No. 17 Georgia Tech.
Earlier this season, USC demolished the Cavaliers, 52-7, and Virginia also lost at Duke, 31-3. Since then the Cavaliers have rallied around head coach Al Groh.
“They’re doing a great job up there, Coach Groh is,” Shannon said. “Early in the season they stumbled around a little bit. But late in the season they started pouring it on. They are pouring it on.”
This will be the sixth game between the two schools, with Miami holding a 3-2 lead in the series. Virginia has won the last two meetings over the Hurricanes, including a 17-7 win in Charlottesville two years ago.
The Canes will see a unique set defense this week against Virginia, as they run the only 3-4 defense in the ACC. Shannon expressed how important it will be to execute assignment football and block the zone blitz.
“It’s going to take the first quarter to know how it’s really run,” Shannon said. “That is the hardest thing for us against them. They have big linebackers. They can play.”
Said quarterback Jacory Harris, “The 3-4 defense can help close gaps faster and it stops the little yards.”
However, Miami leads the ACC in offense with 32 points per game and has been able to make momentum-shifting plays this season. Wide receiver Travis Benjamin has been the main big play threat.
Javarris James and Graig Cooper were both on the field multiple times last week, something that hasn’t been seen this season. Shannon wants to get both running backs more touches this game, as they were lacking in carries against Wake Forest.
If the Hurricanes defeat Virginia they will become eligible for a bowl game, but Shannon and Marve are keeping the team level headed.
“We’re worried about Virginia and Virginia only,” Marve said. “Not a bowl game. I’m thinking about Virginia and getting the win. We are going to bring our A game.”