v. Georgia Tech (2008: 9-4)
Player to Watch: Junior RB Jonathan Dwyer.
Ten carries, 128 yards, two touchdowns, and highlight reel bulldozing of UM defenders. That is what Jonathan Dwyer did to the Miami defense in 2008 en route to a 41-23 demoralizing to the Hurricanes. Dwyer was one of the nation's best kept secrets last year, but after a near-1400 yard and 12 touchdown season, Dwyer is a national headliner and one of the nation's top backs and a sure fire NFL player. The bruising 6-foot, 230 pound runner delivers a combination of speed and power to a vaunted Yellow Jack rushing attack. Dwyer will be the focal point of the Paul Johnson ground attack that will test Miami early in the season to see if they've learned anything from last years game.
Georgia Tech enters the season as the favorite to win the ACC Coastal Division and Championship. Led by their 4th ranked rushing attack from 2008, the Yellow Jackets will feature Dwyer and dual threat quarterback Jamar Nesbitt as well as up and coming Roddy Jones, a dynamic back in the backfield. Watch out for Louisville transfer Anthony Allen in the backfield. He rushed for over 1000 yards and 23 touchdowns for the Cardinal. If the Yellow Jacket offensive line stays injury free, Paul Johnson's offense will be tough to stop, especially if they start utilizing the downfield passing game and 6-foot-3 receiver Demaryius Thomas, as promised
The 25th ranked defense in the country returns, and oddly enough, it's been rebuilding. The defensive backfield was the focus for 2008 and in 2009, the defensive front four will look to replace three starters, including freakish Michael Johnson and defensive tackles Vance Walker and Darryl Richard, all of whom are going to play on Sundays this fall. The defensive back seven will feature Pre-Season All-American candidate Morgan Burnett and will look to find more consistency. The defensive line will rely on a group of unknowns and a good one in Derrick Morgan to produce early. The linebackers are young and on the rise.
What to Expect:
A test. The Hurricanes were punched in the mouth in 2008 and didn't get back up. This year, will it be a lesson learned for the Hurricanes, who will need to be doubly physical versus Georgia Tech, or will it be a repeat of last season as Georgia Tech looks for the ACC crown?