Miami defense a no-show at Duke

Miami was gifted a big opportunity when kickoff arrived mid-afternoon on Saturday. Maryland toppled Virginia Tech a bit earlier, meaning the Canes had renewed promise in the ACC Coastal.

But for the third consecutive week, the UM defense was absolutely mauled, and the Hurricanes stood no chance. Duke ran wherever it wanted en route to a 48-30 victory.

“People look at this game and say, ‘Well Duke didn’t throw the ball against Miami, but they ran it.’ No. We ran it so well we didn’t need to throw it,” said Brandon Connette, who rushed for four touchdowns and threw another.

The Canes (7-3, 3-3 ACC ) lost their third straight, while the Blue Devils won their sixth game in a row.

Duke (8-2, 4-2 ACC) now has a clear path to meet Florida State in the ACC Championship, to be held Dec. 7 in Charlotte, N.C.

Miami executed well offensively, getting a 300-yard, two-touchdown day from senior quarterback Stephen Morris.

Herb Waters was a reliable target, catching nine passes for 116 yards and two scores.

Dallas Crawford led Miami with 115 yards on the ground.

But the defense had no answers for Duke’s blazing attack.

“Our guys are feeling a next-level mentality,” Duke coach David Cutliffe said. “If you become a team that is fighting for something and you’re preparing that way, you don’t give in easily.”

When it looked like there was still a window for Miami to climb back into contention, Shaquille Powell burst through the line and gave Duke a 45-30 cushion on his 33-yard, fourth-down run.

“It’s fair to say we’re evaluating every component, every step of the way,” Miami coach Al Golden said. “That includes defense. There’s enough blame to go around in this game.”

Duke last beat Miami in 1976.

The Hurricanes return home for Senior Day against Virginia on Saturday at noon.