After one of the worst home losses in Miami football history against Virginia last week, the Hurricanes (5-5) will travel to a hostile environment in Blacksburg, Va. to face another Atlantic Coast Conference foe in No. 10 Virginia Tech (8-2).
The Canes have now dropped two straight games; both were home games for Miami.
The Hurricanes are 2-4 in the ACC and have won only one road game this season, which was against archrival Florida State.
Miami needs a sixth win this season to be bowl eligible.
Miami holds a 16-8 record advantage over Virginia Tech, but the Canes have won only seven of the last 15 games between the two teams.
“They’re a good football team,” Coach Randy Shannon said. “Coach [Frank] Beamer does a good job getting those guys to play special teams, play sound offense, and not turn the ball over. We expect to go out there and play hard and execute.”
Last year, Virginia Tech came into the Orange Bowl and stole a victory in the final two minutes of the game, winning 17-10. The Canes couldn’t overcome the two interceptions quarterback Kyle Wright threw late in the game on back-to-back possessions, one leading to the game-winning touchdown.
However, the last time the Hurricanes were in Blacksburg, Va., they pummeled the then-undefeated and No. 3 Hokies, 27-7. The Canes’ defense forced six turnovers and sacked quarterback Marcus Vick five times.
Miami completely eliminated Virginia Tech’s national championship hopes and will look to cripple their No. 10 ranking in the BCS standings this year.
“We are going to go out there and put all the other games behind us,” safety Kenny Phillips said. “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. We are going to go out there and play hard.”
Last week, the Cavaliers shut out the Hurricanes in their final game at the Orange Bowl, 48-0. Miami committed five turnovers and didn’t enter the red zone until there were ten minutes left in last week’s game.
“We got away from having fun the last couple of games,” Phillips said. “We were so worried about making mistakes. If we are not having fun, then we won’t be able to fly around and make big plays.”
Miami struggled to contain Virginia’s mobile quarterback Jameel Sewell and will have another elusive quarterback in Virginia Tech’s true freshman Tyrod Taylor.
Taylor has shown he is capable of taking over games when he is called upon, as he is undefeated as a starter. Miami must not allow Taylor to dissect the defense with his ability to run and throw the ball.
The Canes’ rushing attack was held in check to only 95 yards against Virginia. This unit will face another stingy defense this week against the Hokies.
Last week, Virginia Tech bounced back from a one-point deficit to hang 20 fourth-quarter points on Florida State en route to a 40-21 victory. It was the first time the Hokies defeated the Seminoles in their last 15 tries.
“We got to go there and play fundamental football,” defensive lineman Vegas Franklin said. “If we do that then there is a good chance we could win the game.”
Lelan LeDoux may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.