Canes and Fans Unimpressive in Home Opener
The Miami Hurricanes defeated the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats 38-13 in their home opener on Saturday. The score doesn’t do justice to the anemic effort put up by the Canes against an FCS school. Just as embarrassing as the performance was the attendance.
The official attendance announced at the game was 39, 435. That number couldn’t be further from the truth. If you were there, you saw what everyone else saw. Unless tens of thousands of fans were disguised as orange seats, the actual number of people in the stands does not come close to that number. The sad truth of the matter is that most south Florida high school football games attract a bigger crowd. Instead of buying “U Swag” t-shirts and throwing up The U for pictures, fans need to show up and support the program when they play at home. It is absolutely pathetic when there are thousands more fans tailgating in the parking lot of the very same stadium where the team they claim to love is playing. A mere five dollars would have granted admission into the game, absolutely pathetic showing by the fans. Yes, the team isn’t what it used to be, the mighty Miami has fallen from grace for all to see, but does that justify abandoning your team in their time of need? Winning and losing is no excuse for a fan that is already at the stadium not to attend the game. They’re already there! Rant aside, the Hurricanes were not very impressive at all in this one although they got the win. This is a game where they needed to dominate their opponent and they simply could not.
Freshman sensation Duke Johnson was the lone bright spot for the Hurricanes. It sounds repetitious but Duke is the only player that seems to provide the spark this team needs. Miami is becoming more and more reliant on their freshman running back to make plays to secure a victory. Duke accounted for 28 of the team’s 38 points. If you subtract his points, the Canes lose by 3 to an FCS team. If that isn’t an eye-opener, I don’t know what is. Johnson scored twice on the ground and once through the air. He also added a 95 yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Junior quarterback Stephen Morris’ performance was as feeble a showing as Canes fans have seen from him. Stephen finished his day 20/35 for 211 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Morris threw the ball terribly and failed to hit open receivers on numerous occasions. This was against a defense that is leaps and bounds the worst Morris will see all season. Miami’s defense reciprocated Morris’ effort with a lethargic one of their own. The defense also suffered a catastrophic casualty losing linebacker and defensive leader Denzel Perryman to injury. This does not bode well for the Hurricanes as they will have their hands full with their next opponent, ACC Coastal division rival, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
Georgia Tech will host the Canes this weekend in Atlanta. Judging but what the Canes have shown thus far, they might be in for a nightmare. Georgia Tech sports a triple-option rushing attack. They are ranked 3rd in the country in rush yards and 15th in points scored. With the defensive line play being what it is as well as being extremely thin at linebacker due to injuries, the Hurricanes do not match up well with the Yellow Jacket attack. That being said, they do have the blueprint to stop this potent attack. Coach D’Onofrio’s defense stopped the Yellow Jackets cold last season; however that might as well have been a completely different team. Last year’s team was made up of mostly upper classmen, this season a group of very young and inexperienced Hurricanes take on the daunting task of figuring out the Georgia Tech offense. So far this season the Miami defense has coughed up 617 yards on the ground in three games. None of those teams that Miami faced are remotely capable of what Georgia Tech is capable of on the ground. In his 4th year as Head Coach Paul Johnson finally has the players that fit his system, they are no longer “left-over’s” from the Chan Gailey era. This means he has the particular athletes conducive to running his offense that he has hand-picked and recruited personally. This weekend’s showdown in Atlanta will also be one of upperclassmen versus underclassmen. Tech is built mostly of juniors and seniors whereas Miami’s make up is majority of freshmen and sophomores. The same was the case against Kansas State and we all know how that worked out for the Canes.
All in all, this is going to be quite the difficult road test for this young team. In order to win, the Hurricanes must play fast, physical, and mistake-free football for 60 minutes. They also have to get a little lucky. The Canes must put up a big number on the scoreboard to have a chance in this one because keeping the GT offense out of the endzone consistently seems very unlikely. If Miami can manage to score 35 to 40 points, then they will have a shot. Taking care of the football on each and every possession is vital for the Hurricanes because giving the Yellow Jackets a short field to travel will prove to be disastrous. Kickoff is set for 3:00pm from Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. If Miami some how finds a way to come out with a win it will really set them up nicely to make a run at the ACC Coastal Division title and a possible ACC Championship berth.