Miami: News & Notes (11/3)

Having split its first eight games, Miami now prepares for a four-game stretch of November games that will decide its postseason fate -- assuming the Hurricanes have a postseason at all.

"We've got to get to a bowl game," senior quarterback Jacory Harris said of the first game in that run, against Duke on Nov. 5 at home. "Everybody we face from here on out we've got to come out there and play.
"It's a new season for us. We've got to go 4-and-0, and we've got to start off with Duke. Duke is in our way. We've got to go out there and prepare.
"They're not no easy team. They gave Virginia Tech a run for their money and have been doing good this whole year."
The Thursday night loss at home to Virginia in their last outing has given the Hurricanes a sense of urgency to the final month more so than at any other time of the season.
"I'd say so, yeah," Harris said. "Because if you realistic speak, the ACC is kind of like out of the picture unless a bunch of crazy things happen for us.
"Right now, we've got to win these games and go out and beat people so we can get to a bowl game. We've got to fight for it."
The game against the Blue Devils is the final one in a three-game home stretch for the Hurricanes, who split the first two by beating Georgia Tech before the loss to the Cavaliers.
The Hurricanes, 4-4 overall but only 2-3 in the ACC's Coastal Division, are back on the road for their next two, playing at Florida State on Nov. 12 and at South Florida on Nov. 19. They finish the regular season at home against Boston College the day after Thanksgiving.

--Miami will be going for its eighth consecutive victory in the series with Duke. The Hurricanes lost the first meeting 20-7 back in 1976 but won the next game 56-17 in 1983. The two teams did not meet again until Miami joined the ACC in 2004. They were put in the same division in 2005 and have played every year since.
--QB Jacory Harris entered the season under heavy criticism because of the problems he has had with interceptions (32) the previous two years, but he has had a solid comeback year. He has completed 63.4 percent of his 175 attempts with 15 touchdown tosses against only four interceptions, the last of which came when his pass bounced off a receiver's face mask into the hands of a defender.
--Miami's defense, which ranks 10th in the ACC against the run, may have the opportunity to improve in that category. The Hurricanes are facing a Duke team that is rushing for just 100 yards a game, last in the conference.

SERIES HISTORY: Miami leads Duke 7-1 (last meeting, 2010, Miami 28-13).

SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: Miami has struggled with its running game in recent outings, rushing for only 44 yards against North Carolina, 122 against Georgia Tech, and 85 against Virginia. The slump began after the Hurricanes ran for 236 in the loss at Virginia Tech. RB Lamar Miller opened the year with five consecutive 100-yard rushing games but hasn't hit triple digits since.

SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: Miami's run defense is somewhat bewildering. The Hurricanes held Georgia Tech, one of the top rushing teams in the country, to just 134 yards on the ground, 194 below its season average. But for the season, the 'Canes are giving up an average of just under 183 a game. Virginia ran for 207 yards in the Hurricanes' last outing.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Don't let the 100 yards a game fool you. One running back (Desmond Scott) is rushing for 6.4 yards a carry and the other (Juwan Thompson) is 4.6 a carry. Clearly, they're running when they feel like they have to run." -- Coach Al Golden, on the danger if his Hurricanes overlook Duke's running game.

THIS WEEK'S GAME: Duke at Miami, Nov. 5 -- With the exception of the 2006 game in Durham, Miami has had its way in this series since the two began competing annually as members of the ACC's Coastal Division. The average score of Miami's six wins in conference play is 35-19, but 31 of Duke's 96 points over that span came in the 49-31 loss in 2008. That's the only time Duke has scored more than 20 points in the entire series.

KEYS TO THE GAME: Dominate physically. Duke is not the pushover it once was, but the Blue Devils still don't have the depth to stand up to a full 60-minute pounding. Getting the running game going will open things up for QB Jacory Harris in Miami's passing attack.

WR Tommy Streeter -- Streeter and his high school teammate from Miami's Northwestern High, QB Jacory Harris, have really begun clicking. Streeter had career highs in receptions and receiving yards (7-176) in the loss to Virginia in Miami's last outing. He has a team-high seven touchdown receptions.
WR Travis Benjamin -- The senior needs just 45 yards in catches to reach the 2,000-yard plateau in receiving yardage in his career. Only five other Hurricanes -- Santana Moss, Reggie Wayne, Michael Irvin, Lamar Thomas, and Leonard Hankerson -- have achieved that.
LB Sean Spence -- Spence is 12th nationally in tackles per game with his average of 10.71 per game. He is tied for 18th in tackles-for-loss with his 1.43 average (10 total).

--Senior QB Jacory Harris, whose arm "went numb" after he was hit in the closing seconds of the loss to Virginia, keeping him out for Miami's last two plays, is fine for the game against Duke.
--Redshirt freshman Jon Feliciano, injured in a celebration after a touchdown against Georgia Tech, will be back for Duke.
--Redshirt freshman RT Malcolm Bunche and sophomore LT Seantrel Henderson remain in competition for time in the interior line. Henderson is listed as junior Brandon Washington's backup and Henderson is behind Feliciano on the depth chart, but one shouldn't put too much stock in that at this point because coach Al Golden says changes could be coming after the loss to Virginia.

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