Hokies, Vick Provide Challenge for UM

The Hurricanes have their swagger back and it could not have came at a better time. The nation's number one defense allowed just 18 total yards in the second half against North Carolina as they played with a lot of emotion. Another positive was the play by running back Tyrone Moss who rushed for 195 yards and four touchdowns in the game.

The #5 Miami Hurricanes (6-1) will play at #3 Virginia Tech (8-0) on Saturday and although the Hokies have been playing extremely well this season, the 'Canes are excited for the challenge.

With an off-day today, Miami head coach Larry Coker has a statement for his team:

"If people don't want to play in front of 65,000 fans or in the cold, then they can stay here and help the people who need help with their houses."

Although a number of houses could use repair after the devastation of Hurricane Wilma, don't expect any Hurricanes to jump at their coaches request.

Aside from the game against Florida State, this is the biggest game of the year.

The game at Blacksburg, which begins at 7:45 p.m., could see temperatures in the 40s--something Hurricane players are not used to. But Coker pointed out that a number of his players have aspirations of playing in the NFL, which features a number of cold-weather teams. If his players can't handle the cold weather he has some advice for them.

"If you can't handle the cold, don't go. Stay home and watch the game on TV," Coker said.

The Hokies are led by quarterback Marcus Vick and a dominating defense that leads the nation in scoring defense giving up 9.1 points per game.

"I have been really impressed with their quarterback," Coker said. "He runs the ball well, obviously, but he is a very good passer. He is very accurate and throws a catchable ball."

Vick ranks second in the nation in quarterback rating (167.2) completing 69 percent of his passes for 1,534 yards with 11 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. He also has rushed for 319 yards and three touchdowns.

"Whatever they need from him, he delivers," Coker said.

The Virginia Tech running game features three players: Mike Imoh (400 yards), Cedric Humes (365 yards), and freshman Branden Ore (330 yards). The three players have rushed for 12 touchdowns while averaging 4.5 yards per carry.

"They run the ball better than anyone we have played," Coker said. "They do such a good job of running the ball particularly on first down to set-up 2nd-and-short situations, which gives them a lot of options."

The game will feature two of the best defenses in the country. Here's how they stack up nationally:
                  Miami         VaTech
Rush Defense      9th (100.3)   6th (92.3)
Pass Defense      1st (121.3)   2nd (139.0)
Total Defense     1st (221.6)   2nd (231.3)
Scoring Defense   3rd (10.9)    1st (9.1)
Virginia Tech has won the last two meetings between the two schools including a 16-10 victory last season.

HILL SOUNDS OFF

Coming off his best game of his career, senior fullback Quadtrine Hill wants to let everyone know the 'Canes will be ready.

"We are going to stomp them out," Hill said. "They think they are invincible up there in Blacksburg, but they have another thing coming. They can't forget this is the 'U'. We got something to fight for. Every time we go step out on the field we feel we are good enough to win. Anybody predicting us not to win this game needs to re-think their job because their profession should be on the line."

PRACTICE BEGINS TUESDAY

After a week of distractions due to the hurricane, Miami looks forward to getting back to a normal week beginning with practice tomorrow at 3:20 p.m.

"We have to progress in practice and correct all mentals," said wide receiver Darnell Jenkins. "Just basically we have to go into the game and be as perfect as we can be."

"Virginia Tech is a great team and it is going to take a lot to beat them," Jenkins added.

Christopher Stock is a Senior Writer & Assistant Editor with CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@canestime.com

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