Canes Return To The Rock Trying To Salvage Season

Curtis Stevenson
November 02, 2018 - 1:48 pm

After two straight conference losses, the Canes season has quickly taken a turn for the worse.

The Hurricanes find themselves on the outside looking in on a possible return trip to the ACC title game, and a chance at a conference championship. But, that seems like a long way away considering how they have arrived at their current state. Quite simply, they are not a very good football team right now.

We all know the issues at quarterback, the special teams has been shaky all year, and most recently the defense is starting to show some wear. It all adds up to a mid season slump that leaves Miami with a 5-3 record and 2-2 in the conference. They do have four regular season games left with two at home and two on the road. They could finish strong and salvage the season. But can they?

Well, if they are to get back on track, the Canes have to get back to fundamentals and simplicity. If they are going to have a chance of winning any of the remaining contests, they must run the football. I repeat, they must run the football. The Hurricanes have fallen to 54th in the nation in rushing offense at just over 184 yards per game. A month ago, they were in the Top 20 and running for close to 220 yards per game. The falloff is noticeable in these losses, especially when they need to grind out a drive when the passing game is erratic, which usually has been the case.

Outside of the quarterback play, the next biggest problem has been the offensive line. That group needs to finish strong and should have some favorable match ups coming up. This unit has been up and down all year and it is no coincidence that their play has mirrored the teams wins and losses. If Miami can not get the offense going this week, they might never get back on track this season. Duke gave up 54 points last week in a loss to Pittsburgh, and is giving up over 388 yards per game. At home, the UM offense should be able to get healthy and regain some momentum against the Blue Devils.

One area where Duke has the sizable edge, is at the quarterback position. Junior Daniel Jones is a top NFL prospect who has good size, and can also use his legs when needed. He comes in to this game with 13 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions. The Blue Devils will try to play ball control and pick their spots for a big play against Miami's aggressive defense. Manny Diaz's group will have to be patient against Jones. Although the Hurricanes still boast one of the best defensive units in the country, they have given up some critical plays at inopportune times recently.

It is hard to be perfect in this day and age of college football, but when the offense is struggling, those things get magnified. Duke head coach David Cutcliffe is one of the best offensive coaches in college football, and will have a good game plan against Miami. The question will be if the Canes can make Duke abandon that plan tomorrow night.

This looks like a good spot for Miami, who has played very well in front of the home crowd. It seems like an eternity that we have talked about a win for the Canes, and I think we will get one this week. Then it is two straight on the road versus a suddenly hot Georgia Tech bunch, and a trip to always hostile Blacksburg to face Virginia Tech. To put it simply Miami desperately needs this win.

Let's see if they can get it. Go Canes! 

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