2013 Schedule Preview: Virginia Cavaliers.

Joel Auerbach

The Cane train is rolling on towards the FAU opener, and to help get you more acquainted with the upcoming schedule, SOTU is here to break down each game for you. We will look at previous match-ups, impact players, locale of the game, and finally give our take on whether or not it should be a W for the good guys. Enjoy!

Miami Vs Virgina

<a class='sbn-auto-link' href=Miami (FL) Hurricanes

This game could be critical for UM. At this stage of the season (Miami's 2nd to last game), there will be no room for slip-ups, especially if the 'Canes are in contention for an ACC Coastal Division crown and a birth in the Conference Championship Game. Virginia has made a habit of playing the spoiler and defeating favored teams the past couple of years, and could be dangerous.

Saturday, 11/23/2013. Sun Life Stadium. TBA.

This is Miami's last home contest of the season, which could mean bad news for the Hoos. Seniors like QB Stephen Morris, OT Seantrel Henderson, and WR Allen Hurns are sure to be emotionally charged for the contest. Virginia, on the other hand, could be playing for Mike London's job. With a good recruiting class on the way, reports are he is safe. However, with records of 4-8, 8-4, and 4-8, with an 0-3 mark against Virginia Tech coming into this year, he might be on the hot seat if this year is a total train wreck.

HISTORY

The all time series is tied at 5 games a pop. UVA has won the last 3 by a sum of 12 points, including a 41-40 thriller last season in Charlottesville, where Michael Rocco threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Jake McGee with 6 seconds remaining for the win. Virginia also closed out the Orange Bowl, humiliating the 'Canes 48-0 in 2007. Needless to say, UM fans have seldom enjoyed the experience of playing Virginia in recent years.

IMPACT PLAYERS

The exploits of Duke Johnson and Stephen Morris have been well documented thus far. A few under the radar guys to watch for Miami:

WR Allen Hurns is a reliable sure-handed 6'3 target who has quietly accumulated 59 career catches and 8 TDs coming into this year. UM is loaded at the receiver positions, but overlooking the talented and steady Hurns would be a mistake.

DT Curtis Porter had an injury plagued 2012. If the senior from Charlotte, NC can stay on the field in 2013, he should be a solid anchor in the middle of the UM defense.

5'11 247 pound bulldozer Maurice Hagens rarely sees the ball, but has turned the ISO block into an art form. Our boy Duke Johnson owes him a few steak dinners.

Tyriq McCord opened some eyes with 3.5 sacks and 3.5 TFL as a true freshman last season. This year he moved from DE to OLB. Looks for McCord to make plays all over the field.

For Virginia's impact players and team expectations, we enlisted the help of the guys from Streaking the Lawn, here's what they said:

Tim Smith, WR, Sr - The best and most experienced WR on the team. Smith's biggest problems have been staying healthy and having a QB who could get him the ball. We still don't know for sure who will be the QB, and if that guy can get the ball to Smith. But, if one of the two QB options steps up and is able to consistently get the ball to Smith, watch out. He's probably the fastest guy on the team, and has real deep threat ability.

Demetrious Nicholson, CB, Jr - Nicholson has been a starter at CB since the day he set foot on grounds. He's the leader of the secondary, and under new defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta, he's going to be asked to do a lot more man coverage. Nicholson isn't the biggest kid, and he'll struggle to bring down bigger guys, but be careful throwing the ball his direction.

Brent Urban, DT, Sr - Urban is one of the team leaders, and looks poised to have a big year in the middle. He had 3.5 "sacks" in the no-hitting-the-qb spring game, and he was basically unblockable. (Of course, our OL had trouble blocking anybody last season.) Tenuta is going to use his DL aggressively, with a lot of stunts and zone blitzes and such. Urban is going to benefit from that.

In regards to team expectations:

Expectations are not high. The over/under on wins was 4.5 and its difficult to find anybody who is confident about which way that will fall. We have 8 home games, which helps, but when those include BYU/Oregon/Clemson/Virginia Tech, it may not help much. If the OL gels and we find a QB who is ready, the team could be pretty good and win 8 or 9 games. If the OL continues to have problems and the defense can't pick up Tenuta's schemes, the team could be very bad. Perhaps even worse than last year.

PREDICTION

If this is going to be the season Miami breaks through and contends for an ACC Championship, this is absolutely the kind of game they have to not only win, but win easily. No disrespect to Virginia, but Miami has more talent at almost every position. With UVA unsure who is going to be starting at QB, this is the perfect game for Miami's defense to look good (see USF last year). Morris, Johnson, and Hurns should all have big games on offense as well. Miami rolls 45-17.

Thanks again to the guys over at Streaking the Lawn for working with us.

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