The game is at Louisville and on national television. Miami enters the game as the underdog.
If the ‘Canes lose, the overall record would fall to a disastrous 1-2 and they would likely be unranked.
Adding fuel to this week's matchup are comments made by Louisville middle linebacker Nate Harris.
UM's Glenn Sharpe will need to have a strong performance Saturday for the ‘Canes to win Saturday. Louisville's offense is ranked number one in the nation in total offense and scoring offense.
Sharpe knows he has enough to worry about on the field, which is why he doesn't want to participate in the trash talking with Harris.
"We can't really focus on what other people say about us," Sharpe said. "We have to stay together as a team and as a unit. This game is very important, because if we don't win, our chances of completing our goal, which is to compete for a National Championship is over."
The comments that Harris made have been tacked to the bulletin board and on the doors of the locker room.
"I have seen some of the comments, but I don't get into that," Sharpe said. "We will just try to stick together as a team. We recognize it, but lets just play ball and not worry about the comment."
Coach Larry Coker is 5-0 when his team is an underdog on the road.
"I guess you could say we are successful as an underdog because our backs are against the wall," Sharpe said. "If anything, I would say that is the main reason. If we don't win this game, chances are that we don't have a chance to play for the national championship."
Similar to Florida State's Greg Carr, Louisville has a big receiver in Mario Urrutia. At 6-foot-6, 228-pounds Urrutia leads Louisville with seven receptions for 161 yards and one touchdown.
"We are watching film on him," Sharpe said. "He is a pretty big guy. He is a very physical player. He is going to be a handful. I think he weighs a little bit more than the FSU guys, but he is no doubt like them because of his height."
Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm also figures to give the ‘Canes fits on Saturday. The extremely accurate Brohm is a Heisman candidate and has been impressive in his first two games, throwing for 561 yards and 2 touchdowns.
"From what I see on film, he is an excellent quarterback," Sharpe said. "He has great accuracy and he is a big player. He is a better quarterback than the ones we faced in the last two games, so we have to really be prepared."
An important storyline in the game is can the Louisville running backs equal the production of the injured Michael Bush. George Stripling and Kolby Smith have combined for 314 yards on 37 carries and 5 touchdowns.
"As you all know, they are not as big as Bush, but they all have pretty decent speed," Sharpe said. "They can run well and get some yards so we have to buckle down and get those guys."
If UM loses this week's game, this season cannot be characterized as a success. The ‘Canes would be 1-2 and the team would seemingly have very little confidence.
Does this team have the swagger to walk into a tough road environment and win the game as an underdog?
We'll find out Saturday.
"You want to say this game isn't bigger than the rest, but in reality it is," Sharpe said. "You have to try to prepare as much as you can and try to win the game."
"We know the consequences of not winning the game."
David Lake can be reached at email@example.com
Sharpe, Defense Prepare for Louisville
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