Game Preview Week 2: Miami vs UF - Are We Back?

Al Golden and Co have something to prove!! - Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

This week we turn our attention to our hated in-state rival... no - the other one. As the weeks roll by we will keep ya informed with some news and notes about our matchup for the week. We'll take a look back at the rivalry that was; who the Gators are getting back from injury and suspensions; and just how nervous we should be.

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(not football but it works)

HISTORY - Brock Brelin in 2003, or Ken Dorsey in 2002 should get you in the right frame of mind. And our own Amigo did an amazing job putting together a piece on the history of the UM vs UF rivalry so go check that out HERE .  For those who didn't follow the links (or did but actually stayed focused enough to come back to read the rest of the article, it starts... now). Our long time in-state rival UF comes to town for the final time in the "foreseeable" future. Florida and Miami been getting under each other's skin for a long time now; kicking off this rivalry in 1938. It was a yearly affair until 1987, when Miami beat UF by 27 points, causing the Gators to take some time off from football. They travelled the globe as backup dancers for Madonna's Who's That Girl World Tour for a bit (this may not be 100% accurate); then eventually got back to playing Miami, losing to the Canes in 2001,2002,2003,2004. The last meeting between the two was in 2008; and UF decided to do something they hadn't done since i was four - win. All kidding aside, this is a great rivalry. Being that both schools are in Florida, chances are that one of your friends, family, coworkers or neighbors went to one of the schools. Both teams recruit the same area, so even on the years they don't actually play each other on the field, they are still in competition. Florida has flourished racking up wins and a few national titles during Miami's recent down period, so there is a bit of extra emphasis on Saturday's matchup. Sure - this may be the last matchup for awhile, so of course you wanna go out on top, but Cane fans also want to put the "little brother" back in their place as second or third in the Florida college power house rankings.

UF - UF has an elite defense and good ground game, both of which will get a boost this week when players that were either out due to illness, injury, or suspension return just in time to face Miami. The team ran for over 250 yards last week with their starting RB out due to a viral infection. RB Mack Brown did well filling in - rushing for 112 yards on 25 carries. Starting RB Matt Jones will be back this week, and while it's unknown how much he will be able to contribute; it  - at the very least - adds another able body to a pretty good running game. Passing seems to be the issue when it comes to UF. QB Jeff Driskel only threw for 153 yards last week, but he was 17 of 22, and the game was never in question. Hopefully we get to find out how good or bad he is. Last season teams really didn't have to go through the trouble of passing, with Miami giving up 200+ yards on the ground. If Miami cannot keep the Gators run game in check, it's going to be a rough game.

Florida's defense is an SEC defense, and we have all have been told how great defenses are in the SEC. I wish I could throw a bunch of numbers at you proving they are frauds, but that isn't the case. They ranked 5th last season in total defense and yes, this season their only opponent has been Toledo, but it's important to remember that UT averaged 31.5 points a game last season; and the 6 points they did score was their lowest point total since 2010. Big and fast UF has one of the best defenses Miami has seen in the past season or two. It should be interesting how our offense fares against a top level defense.

Players to watch - For Florida: Matt Jones and Mack Brown. The two running backs will be the key to the game in my opinion. If they get rolling it won't matter Driskel cannot throw it. We've all seen that movie before, so no need to rehash what happens when we cannot stop the run. On defense, Dominique Easley will be a problem for our offensive line to deal with. Getting the proper push to create lanes for Duke and company to exploit is a must and Easley is going to try and collapse those lanes any chance he gets.

Players to watch- For Miami: It's going to be Curtis Porter and Olsen Pierre on defense. You may have picked up on my concern for Miami stopping the run; well, it starts with the men in the middle. If they keep the middle clogged it will allow a few things to happen; let the playmakers around them work the way the defense was drawn up and force Florida out of their comfort zone. If Driskel is forced into a lot of third and longs his short comings should really shine. On offense Herb Waters needs to have a big game. The running game may or may not show up Saturday (consistent positive gains - not just two 40 yard Duke big plays), which means the passing game will need to be on point. We need a WR that will catch the long third down conversions and make tough catches in the redzone. Herb seems to be growing into a big-time receiver, and with the position losing players by the week, we need him to show up big this weekend.

Should we worry? Yes, very much so. Florida may be the best team we face, and with their strengths kinda exploiting our weaknesses, we all need to hope that we did get better from last season. We have the weapons to win and Florida's offense is still a work in progress; but until Miami proves they shored up the issues on the defense, it's a toss up. Playing at home is a plus... It should be the biggest game the Canes have played at SUN LIFE.

PREDICTION: UM 27 UF 20

BROADCAST INFORMATION

ESPN • Dave Pasch, Play-by-Play • Brian Griese, Analyst • Tom Luginbill, Sideline Reporter
WQAM 560 AM • Joe Zagacki, PXP • Don Bailey Jr., Analyst • Josh Darrow, Sideline Reporter
RADIO CARACOL 1260 AM • Roly Martin, PXP • Pepe Campos, Analyst • Joe Martinez, Analyst
WVUM 90.5 FM • Chris Wittyngham • Alex Schwartz • AJ Ricketts 
COMPASS MEDIA NETWORKS • Gregg Daniels, PXP • Dale Hellestrae, Analyst
Satellite Radio • SiriusXM 91

MIAMI TO HOLD STUDENT PEP RALLY FRIDAY

In anticipation of Saturday’s in-state showdown against the Florida Gators, the University of Miami will hold a student pep rally Friday at the Student Activities Center. The pep rally will be the first event held at the new patio along Lake Osceola, which is located on back side of the brand new Student Activities Center. The Pep Rally will run from 6-6:30 p.m. President Donna E. Shalala, Director of Athletics Blake James, Category 5 President Andrew Wyatt and honorary game captain Brock Berlin are scheduled to speak during Friday’s pep rally. Sebastian the Ibis, University of Miami cheerleaders, Sunsations and the Frost Band of the Hour will also be in attendance.

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