In a match-up that once held significant implications for Miami just a week ago, the ‘Canes now hope to send their seniors out with a bang. Prior to self-imposing a second consecutive bowl ban, had Miami been victorious over Duke, their win would have undoubtedly clinched them a spot in the ACC title game against rival Florida State. That is to be no more.
Georgia Tech will now represent the Coastal Division, a decision that has left many Miami fans in an uproar. Since joining the ACC, Miami has yet to win the Coastal, let alone play in an ACC title game.
When the two met last season, Miami throttled Duke to a tune of 49-14.
But this is a new season. The Duke Blue Devils have exceeded nearly everyone’s expectations, but have since been eliminated from being crowned Coastal champs following their loss to Georgia Tech last week. However, the Blue Devils have become bowl eligible and a win over Miami would only increase their bowl status.
Duke QB Sean Renfree was named Pop Warner National Player of the Year and the senior has thrown 2,323 yards with 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Freshman RB Jela Duncan has rushed for 452 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Renfree’s favorite target is Miami native Conner Vernon. On the year, Vernon has 64 receptions for 846 yards and five touchdowns.
Miami QB Stephen Morris is quietly having a superb year. The junior has had four 400+ passing games and has thrown for 2,976 yards with 18 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.
On the ground, freshman RB Duke Johnson has made a strong case for Rookie of the Year. As noted by CBS Sports, Johnson “needs 69 yards rushing to set the Miami freshman record. Clinton Portis had 839 yards in 1999.” Johnson has tallied 771 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. Aside from running the ball, the Blue Devils must somehow contain Johnson on special teams as the youngster has returned kickoffs for a total of 803 yards with two touchdowns with a long of 95 yards.
Through the air, sophomore WR Phillip Dorsett has become Morris’s primary target. The speedy receiver has caught 53 balls for 752 yards and four touchdowns.
When: Saturday, 11/24, 12:30 PM ET
Where: Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, North Carolina
Television: ACC Network/ESPN 3
Favorite: Oddsmaker lists Miami as a 6.5-point favorite
Sources: ESPN, CBS Sports