The upcoming weekend is flooded with great college football match-ups – and the most heralded of the ACC is Miami vs. Notre Dame. This will be the first time since 1990 that the two programs have met during the regular season.
Let’s have a look at some football news as Miami prepares for the Irish.
- Spoiler alert? As you all know by now, the unranked Hurricanes (4-1) travel to Soldier Field with the hopes of smudging Notre Dame’s (4-0) unblemished record. Miami’s explosive offense will have their work cut out for them as they prepare for star LB Manti Te’o and an Irish defense that gives up a mere 9 points per game. Notre Dame is coming off of a bye-week and Miami has won four of their last five games.
- Expect to see freshman LB Raphael Kirby and freshman DT Dequan Ivery make their Miami debuts vs. Notre Dame. Kirby has missed the first five games of the season due to a nagging knee injury and Ivery has impressed on the Hurricanes scout team.
- According to ‘Canes head coach Al Golden, S Vaughn Telemaque is competing with Kacy Rodgers for the starting safety spot. Telemaque, who is coming off of a knee injury, “played his best game” during Miami’s win against North Carolina State.
- Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly says that his team is aware of the significance of the Miami-Notre Dame rivalry. “I think they’re very much aware of Miami and the tradition and the rivalry dating back to 1985, where obviously Notre Dame was beaten handily in that game…it’s important to impart a little bit of the tradition to our players, but they’re focused on what this football team is, at 4-1, the kind of schedule they play, the teams they’ve beaten.”
- Since their loss at Kansas State, Miami seems to have improved, most notably on offense. QB Stephen Morris has emerged as one of the ACC’s premier passers and WR Phillip Dorsett leads Miami with 28 receptions for 464 yards and three touchdowns. The ‘Canes defense is still struggling, allowing 33.4 ppg and 225 rpg. With that in mind, Notre Dame hasn’t really lit up the scoreboard, except for Navy. In their last two games, Miami has scored a combined 86 points.
- Golden is fully aware of the threat that Notre Dame’s defense poses against his young Hurricanes team. “I can’t tell you how impressed I am with them [Notre Dame]. Really strong and rugged up front, 3-4 alignment, [Louis] Nix at the nose is a load to handle. Linebackers are all big. [Manti] Te’o in the middle is as good as advertised, holds it all together, and does a great job running the operation for them.”
- To UM senior RB Mike James, Miami’s game against Notre Dame is personal. When the two teams last met in 2010, kickoff was slated at the same time as James’ mothers funeral, Elgusta James, who died in a car crash just 11 days prior. James missed the funeral and instead played in the Sun Bowl, something his family felt his mother would have wanted. To James, Saturday’s game “is the biggest game I’ve ever played…I’m serious about this one…Last time we played Notre Dame, they were burying my mom at the same time as the game. So anybody can do the math.”