Miami @ Duke
Both teams came in 7-2. For Miami it was a disappointment, for Duke it was the makings of a banner year. The Blue Devils came into the game looking to make Miami win number 6 in a row, while the Hurricanes were hoping to avoid a 3-game losing streak. Duke was able to win 48-30 because they absolutely DOMINATED Miami on the ground racking up 358 yards rushing and 543 yards of offense.
It all got started rather nicely for Miami after a 10-play 61 yard opening drive ended with a Matt Goudis Field goal for the Canes to take a 3-0 lead, followed by a Duke 3 AND OUT and a Stacy Coley Punt Return for a TD that pushed the lead to 10-0 in favor of the Hurricanes. Heck of a start. But the Blue Devils got going and mixed and matched the run and the pass on a 10-play, 75 yard TD drive to get some of it back and draw to 10-7.
Miami, however, looked dialed in and relied heavily on Stephen Morris through the air for a 10-play 76 yard TD drive of their own to push the lead back to 10 at 17-7. In the 2nd quarter Stephen Morris would throw an INT off a receiver that went sky high and Duke would pound away on the ground before going over the top of the Hurricane Defense for a 22-yard TD pass. Miami would finish a red zone trip with a field to take a 20-14 advantage, but one thing was clear, Miami was relying much more on Stephen Morris in this game. Duke took the lead just before halftime 21-20 almost entirely due to the ground game. Miami just could not hope stop the Blue Devils, and the same exact thing happened to open the 2nd half when Duke took a 28-20 lead.
Stephen Morris hit Herb Waters for a 50-yard TD on a screen to the left flat on the 3rd play of the 2nd half for the Canes. Perfectly executed, great blocking on the outside. Duke & Miami traded Field Goals, and with the score at 31-30 the team that got a stop was likely going to win. That team was Duke who took advantage again on the ground for 4 plays, 75 yards (all rushing) to take a 38-30 lead. Miami could do nothing on offense, and Duke made them pay again to take a 45-30 lead and would tack on a field goal for good measure with 1:04 remaining.
What Can We Take Away?
At this point in the season, Miami was looking in the mirror asking, “Who Am I?” The truth is that Miami played 3 quality football teams and lost. Statistically the Canes were not dominated by Duke. But the Canes Rush Defense was definitely taken advantage of. Also Miami asked the most of Stephen Morris with a season-high 49 attempts. Morris did only throw 1 INT. Dallas Crawford only rushed 19 times as the featured back, and I really didn’t get the feeling that the Miami coaches really wanted to give Dallas much more than that taking away a huge advantage for Miami in the running game.
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