The attitude and savvy mentality was there against North Carolina. The Hurricanes played with passion and confidence on all three phases as they scored 30 straight points against the Tar Heels.
Now, the No. 22 Miami Hurricanes must be better than a one-hit wonder as they travel to face the Virginia Cavaliers, Saturday at noon on ESPN.
Head coach Randy Shannon knows the Cavaliers will not lie down to the Canes.
“Another ACC opponent, a good football team,” Shannon said. “They play tough defense, coach [Mike] London is doing a great job of those guys playing hard the whole football game.”
Last year, Miami scheduled Virginia for homecoming, still feeling the effects when the Cavaliers blow out and blanked the Hurricanes in the final Orange Bowl game, 48-0. The Canes thrashed the Cavaliers, 52-17 as senior running back Graig Cooper set a career high with 152 rushing yards.
The last time Miami played in Virginia, Shannon called that game “unbelievable” as the Canes fought back for the win. It was the start of junior quarterback Jacory Harris fourth quarter heroics at Miami.
Then a true freshman quarterback, Harris, led a 95-yard, 15 play tying drive and eventually a win in overtime, 24-17.
In order to get another win in Virginia, the Canes must play with the same amount of energy and enthusiasm as they did against North Carolina.
Players said the excitement came from having fun in practice.
“The energy [started] in practice,” Hill said. “It’s something coming off the Duke game. It’s something we put a focus on, energy and attitude. It started in practice and carried over to the game. From here on out we know it’s a make or break for us every game we play.”
The Hurricanes do not plan on stopping their high intensity and excitement. They have created a new chant ‘up and down, round and round,’ lead by junior linebacker Sean Spence.
“Us as Miami football players having high energy, it propels us to play better,” said Hill who has three interceptions this season. “If it takes us having the rest of our games, I’m sure you guys will see a sequel to that [this weekend].”
Redshirt sophomore safety Vaughn Telemaque has emerged as one of the most vocal leaders on the defense and even on the team. Telemaque has five takeaways this season, three interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
Players have taken notice of how hype Telemaque is.
“When he makes plays he opens his arms like a bird and flies across the field,” said sophomore guard Brandon Washington. “You can feed off his positive energy. He is real vocal.”
One way Telemaque gets his teammates involved, he singles out every player giving each of them encouragement and motivation.
“Let’s go Orlando. Let’s go B Wash. Let’s go Fig,” said Washington.
Telemaque plans on continuing to be a turnover machine and maintaining his high energy.
“I’m finally getting back to the things I like to do,” said Telemaque, who recorded his first collegiate interception against Florida State. “I love to get interceptions. I love big hits and I love celebrating with my teammates.”
Lelan LeDoux may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.