A serious rebound is needed from the Miami Hurricanes. The Canes (3-2, 1-1) can no longer afford to look ahead.
After falling out of the Top 25, the Hurricanes will have to regroup and travel to face the Duke Blue Devils (1-4, 0-2), Saturday at 1 p.m. on ESPN3.com or on 560 AM.
“Anytime you play an ACC opponent it’s going to be a tough game,” head coach Randy Shannon said. “It’s always been a struggle to play at Duke for the University of Miami and other teams in the conference. We have to make sure we go out there focused and ready to play, don’t fall into that trap of going out there and just going through the motions.”
Shannon thought the Canes just went through the motions against Florida State, as they got pounded, 45-17, Saturday evening.
As the players put it, the game was “embarrassing” and the loss is still in their mind but they’re trying their best not to dwell on the past anymore.
“It’s always going to burn,” said senior running back Graig Cooper, who never thought about redshirting this season after tearing his ACL last season. “It’s still hurting us but we got to move forward because we still got a long season ahead of us. It starts with Duke.”
Miami holds a 6-1 series lead against a Duke team that hasn’t won a bowl game since 1960. South Carolina’s head coach Steve Spurrier was the last coach to bring Duke to a string of consecutive winning seasons, back in the late 1980s.
The Blue Devils have played quite well against the Canes the past couple of meetings.
The last time the Hurricanes played at Duke in 2008, junior quarterback Jacory Harris, then a true freshman, led the Hurricanes from a 10-point deficit to win, 49-31. Harris had a career-high five total touchdown.
Even last year’s game was close as the Canes trailed the Blue Devils at halftime at Sun Life Stadium. Miami had to score 21 fourth-quarter points to defeat Duke, 34-16.
This year Duke is struggling. They have lost four straight games including two losses in the ACC and another against defending National Champions Alabama.
“Their record says 1-4 but the film says much more differently,” redshirt junior center Tyler Horn said. “They play hard. The past two years the games have been tight games. We haven’t blown them out by any means. We cannot overlook a team.”
Duke is ranked 15 in the nation with 295 passing yards.
“We’re not going to take them lightly,” said redshirt junior safety JoJo Nicolas. “They are an ACC team. We just want to stay focused on Duke.”
Harris is struggling to stay healthy so far through five games. According to Shannon, Harris played with a groin pull against Florida State. He has already been battling an injured left shoulder this season.
Harris has been a very tough player while at Miami. He has been the Hurricane leader since the Emerald Bowl during the 2008 season when he played against California with an injured arm.
Last season, Harris injured his thumb against North Carolina and required surgery during the off-season and missed all of spring football.
Harris has never missed a game though, and since he injured his shoulder at Pittsburgh, he hasn’t missed a practice. Being nicked up during the season is nothing new to players, especially Harris. He has always been able to be full go come game day. The question becomes how many more injuries can he suffer.
Shannon has seen Harris progress with his injuries this week.
“He’s a little sore,” Shannon said. “But not as sore as he was in the game.”
Lelan LeDoux may be contacted at email@example.com.