Hurricanes Look To Finish Strong In Orange Bowl

Curtis Stevenson
December 22, 2017 - 10:52 am

The end of the year coincides with the end of the Miami Hurricanes football season. With the finish line near, it is a reflection of what has occurred, but also a look into what the future holds. It has been a memorable, historical, and for the most part, fun football season.

The Canes had many accomplishments attained along the way and big victories that we all celebrated, most of them while wearing a turnover chain. We found out a lot about some young men who did their part to bring the Hurricanes back into the national conversation. But that being said, there is still one last game approaching. For Miami's 10-2 season a spot in the coveted Orange Bowl was given and a worthy opponent in the Wisconsin Badgers will serve as the opposition.

It is a great opportunity come Bowl Season to end the year with a win and also validate the season that was. It also can be a springboard into recruiting season and spring football. Head Coach Mark Richt has used all of the good vibes that he has instilled into the program to help attract the next class of Canes. The Hurricanes expect an impressive haul of new recruits with the newly formed early signing period this month and expect that to carry over into February's traditional date.

It has been an eventful year for the Canes, however one final accomplishment is in their reach. A win in the Orange Bowl against the Badgers would cap off 2017 in style. Miami has not played in the home town game since 2004 when they beat instate rival Florida State 16-14 in a match-up of two top ten teams at the time. A win would certainly help Miami cement it's best finish in the polls in more than a decade.

That task will be tough as Wisconsin boasts one of the top runners in all of college football in Jonathan Taylor. Taylor has amassed over 1,800 yards on the ground while scoring 13 touchdowns. He was only held under 100 yards rushing 4 times this season. Controlling him will be essential for Miami to win. For Miami, it was clear that the season took its toll against Pittsburgh and in the ACC Championship versus Clemson. Injuries and fatigue played a role in both defeats, however, Clemson clearly is one of the best teams in the country and they showed that in Charlotte. Even in a lopsided loss, it was a great atmosphere as thousands of Hurricane fans made the trip for the first time. Coach Richt made it known that the goal is to make that a regular occurrence.

Miami will need the home crowd atmosphere in the Orange Bowl to help aid in an upset. With a few weeks off, Miami has had a chance to rest and regroup and get back to the things that propelled them to the number two team in the rankings a month ago. Malik Rosier will be key in how he handles a Badger defense that has allowed less than 14 points per game on defense and only 15 total touchdowns for the year.

On the defensive side of the ball, the turnover chain needs to make an appearance for the holidays if Miami is going to win. Badger quarterback Alex Hornibrook has played well, but 15 interceptions is something Manny Diaz's unit can capitalize on. Stop the run and force Wisconsin to make plays in the passing game will be the plan for the Canes. That is something Ohio State did in the Big Ten Championship which was Wisconsin's lone loss this year.

It has been far too long since Miami has played a bowl game of this magnitude and it should be an electric night in the Hurricane's house. Cheers to 2017 and what the future holds for this program in 2018. Go Canes!

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