The Miami Hurricanes showed flashes of brilliance as they won a gritty contest in hostile territory yesterday. It was an important win for the Canes who improved to a 3-1 record through arguably the toughest portion of their 2010 schedule.
Miami QB Jacory Harris played much better than in previous games – throwing 3 TD passes to standout flanker Leonard Hankerson and only 2 pics. Hankerson is the latest NFL caliber receiver for the canes and has the size and speed to make him a serious threat from anywhere on the field – especially when he lines up in the slot and gets LB coverage as he did several times against the Tigers.
Harris’ two picks are troubling. There is a communication breakdown somewhere between the Offensive Coordinator (Mark Whipple), Harris, and the heretofore go-to wideout, Travis Benjamin. In almost all of Jacory’s 8 picks this season, I’ve watched as he returns to the sideline with disbelief in his demeanor. Clearly they’re working on this in practice, but for some reason the Canes have yet to remedy this thorn in what otherwise is an explosive and competent offense.
Miami’s D is tenacious. There were a couple lapses which led to long runs but overall, the Miami defense proved stingy. Miami ranks 15th nationally in points against/game (15.0) 2nd in sacks/game (4.25) and lead the nation in tackles for loss (10.5/game). All and all, the Hurricane D is clicking and if the core can continue without injury, should provide the Canes with ample support for the rest of the season.
Next up for Miami are the rival Seminoles of Florida State. FSU was touted pre-season but an early debacle against Oklahoma threw them out of contention. The game will be played in front of a national 8pm audience in Miami. Despite the early loss to the Sooners, FSU has had impressive wins over marginal Wake Forrest as well as UVA as they head into Joe Robbie Stadium this coming week. The game should be one Miami can succeed in – a win next Saturday will leave just Virginia Tech as the only real threat remaining.
IF the Canes can solve their interception problems and gel on the offensive side like they have on D, they should be able to run the table and be a BCS contender come December.