Canes prepare for Tigers

After picking up their fifth straight non-conference win dating back to last season, the No. 8 Miami Hurricanes will return back to Atlantic Coast Conference play and will host Clemson at Land Shark Stadium this Saturday at 3:30 p.m. This will be the first meeting between the two schools since 2005.

Following the first week of the BCS Standings with the Hurricanes (5-1) ranking No. 10, the Canes control their own path to winning the Coastal Division.

Head coach Randy Shannon has always understood the importance and urgency against an ACC opponent as his squad is 2-1.

“Clemson [is] another conference game. It’s a very good football team,” said Shannon, with Miami leading the series 5-2 against Clemson. “Conference games are more valuable than anything. We have to keep worrying about our conference games. Clemson has the same type of athletes we have at Miami, guys we recruited.”

Four years ago, it took three overtimes and a Kenny Phillips interception to pick up a road win against the Tigers, 36-30.

But the Canes had to get revenge from the prior year.

In 2004, the Hurricanes played the Tigers in Miami and the Canes had a 17-3 lead at halftime. Miami squandered the lead away in the second half and eventually lost in overtime, 24-17. That loss knocked Miami out of contention for a BCS bowl game and out of first place in the ACC.

“The last two times we played them we went to overtime,” said Shannon, who has never faced Clemson as a head coach or a player. “No matter if it’s a couple of years ago or now, it’s still Clemson.”

Clemson (3-3, 2-2 ACC) is coming off their most dominating performance of the season as they destroyed Wake Forest, 38-3. Versatile senior running back C.J. Spiller, a native of Lake Butler, Fla., and a player Miami once recruited, had 106 rushing yards and two touchdowns and has averaged 191 all purpose yards this season.

The Canes have to carry over the defense they had in their 27-7 win over UCF last Saturday. Miami’s secondary played solid as a unit as they made several tackles for a loss and blitzed.

“Offensively they have two of the fastest guys in the ACC, Jacoby Ford and C.J. Spiller,” Shannon said. “They’re very dynamic players, do a good job.”

The Tigers are led by sophomore quarterback Kyle Parker. Parker is a two-sport athlete who shined on the baseball field last year and was a named first-team freshman All-American by Baseball America. He torched UM last year with his bat and will look to do the same with his arm. He finished a three game series against UM 4-for-10 with seven RBI.

On defense, Clemson is going to challenge Miami with man-to-man coverage and allow their front seven to strictly play the run. Sophomore quarterback Jacory Harris has to take advantage against the one-on-one match-ups and continue to move the chains against the Tigers to be successful.

“It feels like a rivalry game,” said sophomore Jacory Harris, who ranks eighth nationally in passing efficiency, has 1,518 passing yards and 12 total touchdowns.  “Clemson has always been one of the top dogs in the ACC. No matter what game you’re playing, they’ll give you a tough game. We have to go out there and have a wonderful game against those guys.”

The game can be heard on the student radio station at the University of Miami 90.5 FM WVUM.

Lelan LeDoux may be contacted