Football, Sports

Canes confront crucial season

Summer has come and gone. Students and faculty alike have made their way back to Coral Gables in start of a new school year, and football season is finally here.

Let’s kick it off with some key players you’ll need to know about, this year’s biggest game and a prediction as to how the season will turn out.

Key players

Duke Johnson, running back, Junior

Simply put, the Hurricanes football team lives and dies by its best player, starting tailback Duke Johnson. With a healthy Johnson last season, the team went 7-1, losing only to Florida State in the game where Johnson was injured. Without him, the team finished 2-3. Johnson racked up over 900 yards in those seven-plus games and averaged over six yards a carry. He also has some of the surest hands on the team, making him a threat catching the ball out of the backfield as well. With a new quarterback taking the snaps, expect a heavy dose of Duke early on in the season.

Brad Kaaya, quarterback, Freshman

When Ryan Williams went down with an ACL tear in April, the starting quarterback position was suddenly up for grabs. Kaaya, a true freshman, beat out Jake Heaps, a fifth-year senior, in summer practice to earn the starting job based on merit and poise beyond his years, according to head coach Al Golden. Until Williams is healthy again, Kaaya will take the majority of the snaps, and if he plays well early into the season, he may not relinquish his spot even when Williams comes back. But with QB being the most important position, as well as arguably the largest question mark on this Hurricanes team, Kaaya has great expectations hanging over him. Kaaya should find his groove over the next couple games against easier competition than Monday’s Louisville loss.

Denzel Perryman, middle linebacker, Senior

Just as the offense lives and dies with Johnson, Perryman is the unquestioned leader of the Hurricanes defense, which has come under heavy fire recently for consistent poor play. Perryman was one of the few bright spots last season, leading the team with 108 tackles while accumulating All-ACC first-team and All-America honorable mention nods as an outside linebacker. Now manning the middle, Perryman faces even more responsibility, but looks to be up to the challenge. One of the hardest hitters in America, don’t be surprised to find Perryman on highlight reels and SportsCenter Top 10 plays frequently over the course of the season.

Biggest Game

Nov. 1 vs. North Carolina: While the Hurricanes game against Florida State two weeks later will draw more fans to Sun Life Stadium, it’s this early November game against the Tar Heels that will likely decide the ACC Coastal division. The Coastal is totally up in the air, meaning this game, also homecoming weekend at the U, has much greater significance than the one against FSU. 

Coming off nine days’ rest after what looks to be a tough trip to Virginia Tech, Miami cannot afford to lose this game. The Canes got lucky last year in Chapel Hill to win 27-24, and you can bet that UNC head coach Larry Fedora is ready for some revenge. 

The preseason No. 23 team may even be favored despite being away from home, but if Al Golden’s team wants to get to its first ACC Championship game in team history, it will have to overcome QB Marquise Williams and a strong UNC offense.

Prediction

Miami struggles out of the gate against Louisville as the offense sputters behind its new freshman quarterback. The Canes will go to Nebraska Sept. 20 and fight hard but lose to the Cornhuskers to fall to 2-2 before rattling off three consecutive wins. That brings the team to a tough Thursday night game in Blacksburg, VA, in which Frank Beamer’s defense comes up big and hands Miami its second consecutive loss in the series after last year’s beatdown at Sun Life.

Miami comes home and narrowly beats UNC to cap off a glorious Homecoming weekend, before once again losing to Florida State, who will still be #1 in the nation at that point.

The Canes win their last two games to finish the season 8-4 and 5-3 in the ACC, which in any other conference would be a middle of the road finish, but in the Coastal Division, may be enough to secure a bid to the ACC Championship game.

September 4, 2014

Reporters

Alexander Green


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • Error

View photos of teenage recruits being taught by UM legends at Paradise Camp Saturday, July 22, 2017. ...

Mark Richt’s weekend began with a bunch of ninth- and 10th-grade recruits on Friday at a University ...

The name conjures images of tranquil waters, lush palm trees and cool breezes. The faces conjure ima ...

A heap of preseason accolades are being showered daily on the University of Miami football players. ...

James Jones, who starred at Hialeah American High School, the University of Miami and was a part of ...

Looking back on 15 years of the University of Miami Business Plan Competition, hosted by the School ...

Read the latest entries from UM students who are spending part or all of their summer visiting diffe ...

Value in the Era of Analytics ...

Summer Creative Writing Camp Inspires Young Writers to Release Their Emotions Onto the Page. ...

Gomez, an expert on human values and attitudes in post-Castro Cuba, will serve as interim director o ...

RSS Error: A feed could not be found at http://www.hurricanesports.com/. A feed with an invalid mime type may fall victim to this error, or SimplePie was unable to auto-discover it.. Use force_feed() if you are certain this URL is a real feed.

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.