5 Things to Watch Tonight

The Hurricanes are set to take on FAU tonight at 8 pm on Fox Sports 1. We highlight five things Miami fans should be watching closely in the game.

1) Will Brad Kaaya settle down?
Sure, he went 16-for-27 with a couple touchdowns and no interceptions in the season opener last week but Kaaya seemed to be missing high the entire night. Al Golden even talked about that after the game. Some of it could have been nerves. Regardless of what caused it, that could be a problem against defenses other than Bethune Cookman. It would be nice to see Kaaya seem more settled and come out and look very sharp and accurate throwing the ball tonight. It would instill more confidence in the entire offense heading into their showdown against Nebraska next weekend.

2) Who else will be involved in the passing game?
Rashawn Scott dominated the targets in the opener. He's clearly Kaaya's favorite target, especially when Stacy Coley and Braxton Berrios are not on the field. With those two out tonight with injuries, Scott will likely dominate the targets again. After that, it seems wide open. Herb Waters is the most explosive player in the group and most of his damage will likely happen down the field. What about the short-to-intermediate stuff? Malcolm Lewis is not a difference maker with the ball in his hands. Darrell Langham and Lawrence Cager are unproven. Stan Dobard is solid. As I mentioned a few times earlier this week, it'd be nice to see the other tight ends -- especially Chris Herndon -- and the top two running backs more involved.

3) Can UM improve on third downs?
They were one of the worst teams in the entire country in converting third downs last season, despite having a tremendously talented and explosive offense. That was supposed to be a big focal point this offseason. Instead, we saw a lot of the same struggles on third down against Cookman. Seeing the Canes' offense a lot more efficient on third down tonight would be very encouraging heading into next week's game.

4) Can the defense play well against a better opponent?
Miami's defense played extremely well last week, even considering who they played. They tackled well, they created pressure, they got off the field on third downs, they created turnovers, they didn't make many mental errors, and they played a lot of people. Having said that, BCU will likely be the worst offensive team Miami faces all season. While FAU won't provide the challenge that a lot of teams on the schedule will, they're much better on offense than BCU so it'll be encouraging to see if the defense can do a lot of the same things they did last week.

5) Will the Canes continue playing 21 freshmen?
13 true freshmen and eight redshirt freshmen saw action for the first time last week. That's a higher number than most teams from around the country. Golden and his staff would love to see that many play again this week before the team gets into the thick of their schedule when a lot fewer freshmen will likely be relied upon. Getting a comfortable lead and playing that many freshmen will go a long way in helping the coaches identify which of those 21 can help them most heading into the Nebraska game.

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