The Miami football team will play its first road game of the 2020 season at Michigan State. The Hurricanes have struggled against the Big 10 since the 2003 Fiesta Bowl.
Since losing to Ohio State in the BCS Championship Game in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl the Miami football team has a 2-6 record against the Big 10. The Hurricanes play their first road game of the 2020 season at Michigan State September 26. Turning their fortunes around against the Spartans in East Lansing is a tough task.
Miami last won a road game at Big 10 school when they began the 2001 season 33-7 victory at Penn State. The most recent games for Miami against a Big 10 foe came in the disastrous 35-3 loss to Wisconsin in the 2018 Pinstripe Bowl. That game turned out to be Mark Richt’s last game as Hurricanes coach.
Richt resigned three days after the loss to the Badgers. A year earlier, Wisconsin rallied from 14-3 down after the first quarter to defeat Miami 34-24 on the Hurricanes homefield at Hard Rock Stadium in the Orange Bowl. Wisconsin has outscored Miami 56-13 in the last seven quarters the teams have played.
The last time Miami played a regular-season game against a Big 10 team was 2015 against Nebraska. The Hurricanes defeated the Cornhuskers 36-33 at Hard Rock Stadium after losing to Nebraska 41-31 in Lincoln in 2014. Since 2003, Miami split a home-and-home with Ohio State in 2010 and 2011.
The Hurricanes’ other loss was to Wisconsin in the 2009 Champs Sports Bowl. Michigan State enters the 2020 season with former Colorado head coach Mel Tucker entering his first season. Tucker is succeeding Mark D’Antonio who resigned in February. Tucker has a lot of catching up to do in a very short time frame.
The game in East Lansing will be the Miami football team’s first non-conference road game at a Power Five school since the 2014 loss to Nebraska. The current Miami players were either early in their high school careers or still in Junior High. It is a different mindset to play on the road in a non-conference game at Power Five school.
In the current era, every Power Five conference except the Big XII uses the divisional format. Manny Diaz will be able to use that as an example of how to get his players ready. The cross-divisional road games are similar to non-conference games because of the lack of familiarity playing in the opponent’s stadium.
The exception to that is Florida State for Miami who the Hurricanes play every season, every other year in Tallahassee. Diaz has not had the experience of getting his team ready for a game on the road in a stadium his team is not familiar with. Miami did lose to Florida in Orlando at Camping World Stadium in 2019.
While Miami has not won a game at a Big 10 school since 2001, this is only their third since demolishing Penn State in the opener that season. East Lansing provides a good test for Miami in a season in which both schools are rebuilding. Miami should be a bit further along in their second season under Manny Diaz.