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26 September 2012

Miami returns home to meet N.C. State

Players complete drills at Tuesday’s practice. Zach Beeker // Staff Photographer

The Hurricanes have spent the opening portion of their schedule racking up frequent flyer miles, playing three of the first four games on the road, including their first two ACC matchups.

Time to come back to Miami.

Miami will be back in the friendly confines of Sun Life Stadium to face off against the N.C. State Wolfpack on Saturday afternoon. Miami (3-1, 2-0 ACC) will look to build on their unbeaten streak in the conference, while N.C. State (3-1, 0-0) will be playing in its first ACC game of the season.

This will be the first time the two teams have met since 2008, when the Wolfpack came away with a 38-28 victory over the Canes in Raleigh, N.C. Back then, names such as Jacory Harris, Javarris James and Laron Byrd filled the Miami roster sheet.

“They have one player that’s played Miami, and I don’t know if we’ve had anybody that’s played them. I know [Coach] Tom [O’Brien] so I have an idea of what we’re going to face,” Miami coach Al Golden said. “You’re talking about two of the best coordinators in football over the last 20 years. The combination of those two is something that is obviously doing great. They’re holding opponents to 25 percent conversion on third down, they’re physical, they execute well. It’s going to be a challenge for us.”

Miami is coming off a stunning, comeback win against Georgia Tech in Atlanta where the Canes, down 17 points in the third quarter, rallied back to force overtime and ultimately come away with a 42-36 win, thanks in part to the four touchdowns by senior running back Mike James. It was one of the more memorable games for the Canes in recent years, but Golden is keen on making sure the team is able to move past it and look forward.

“I hope it does give them confidence, but we’re walking that fine line,” he said. “I hate to go backwards, we have to go forward now. The approach here was, forget about the scoreboard, put your blinders up, and execute one play at a time. Have the confidence and the trust, and live with the results … We’re in condition, we’re growing mentally tougher; there is some unity in our reservoir that we can rely on, and the guys stayed together and did a good job.”

N.C. State, coming off a 52-14 win of their own against Citadel, will look to begin the conference portion of their schedule with a win.

“It’s the first ACC game for them. They’ve been in a big game on the road at Connecticut and they were in a big game to open the season against Tennessee,” Golden said. “We are weary that they’ve had both of their last two games under control, so we might see some things that we have not seen. But I don’t think strength of schedule will have any bearing once the ball is kicked off.”

On the injury forefront, freshman receiver Malcolm Lewis, who went down with a dislocated ankle against Georgia Tech, is officially out for the remainder of the season and is expected to undergo surgery in the coming days. Sophomore linebacker Denzel Perryman is also expected to be out, but senior safety Vaughn Telemaque is expected to make his return.

The game against N.C. State is slated for a noon start. It can be seen on ESPNU or heard live on 90.5 FM or wvum.org.