Hurricanes 2016 football schedule contains 3 key games

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The Hurricanes football 2016 schedule was released on Tuesday. The Canes once again have a brutal October lined up, but the schedule is softer than last season overall. Miami will play Florida State, North Carolina and Duke at home this year. There’s also no matchup against Clemson, which handed the Canes their worst loss in school history last season. Here’s a look at three key games on the new schedule.

Florida State: New Head Coach Mark Richt gets his first crack at the Seminoles in the team’s ACC home opener. Richt, who spent 15 years as an assistant coach and coordinator at FSU, will try to snap Miami’s six-game losing streak to the team from up north. FSU is losing starting quarterback Everett Golson and star cornerback Jalen Ramsey, but the Seminoles will still have running back Dalvin Cook, who shredded the Canes for two touchdowns and 222 rushing yards on 22 carries in last year’s matchup. Richt will need his defense to contain Cook in order to win his first game against the Seminoles as Miami’s head coach.

Notre Dame: The Canes will renew their rivalry with the Irish in the first of four games over the next nine seasons with the first installment in South Bend. Notre Dame is coming off a successful 10-3 season that ended with a loss in the Fiesta Bowl to a 12-1 Ohio State. Miami has lost the last three games versus Notre Dame, the last one being a 41-3 embarrassment in 2012. The most challenging game on the schedule provides an early opportunity for Richt to get a signature win. Notre Dame struggled to stop the run last season with the 72nd-ranked rushing defense out of 128 teams. Miami returns with all of its running backs from last year, including Gus Edwards, who missed the 2015 season due to a foot injury. Running backs Joseph Yearby, Mark Walton and Edwards will try to carry the Canes to their first win over the Irish since 1989.

Duke: Although this game likely won’t feature the madness of the matchup in Durham last year, Miami’s regular-season finale could determine the winner of the ACC Coastal Division. Thanks to an eight-lateral kickoff return touchdown in the final seconds, Miami beat Duke last Halloween despite racking up a school-record 23 penalties and playing without starting quarterback Brad Kaaya, who missed the game because of a concussion. Duke’s elite safety and unanimous first-team All-America selection Jeremy Cash is off to the NFL Draft, so the Blue Devils’ defense will take a step back in 2016. In what potentially could be Kaaya’s last home game as a Cane, look for Miami to pick apart the Duke secondary.

2016 MIAMI FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
Sept. 3 FLORIDA A&M
Sept. 10 FLORIDA ATLANTIC
Sept. 17 at Appalachian State
Sept. 24 OPEN
Oct. 1 at Georgia Tech
Oct. 8 FLORIDA STATE
Oct. 15 NORTH CAROLINA
Oct. 20 at Virginia Tech, ESPN (Thu.)
Oct. 29 at Notre Dame
Nov. 5 PITT
Nov. 12 at Virginia
Nov. 19 at NC State
Nov. 26 DUKE

Feature photo courtesy HurricaneSports.com

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