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Game Preview - Wake Forest at Miami:Playing Wake Forest

With a BCS top 10 showdown on the horizon, and the NCAA sanction news breaking this week, Miami's actual matchup versus ACC foe Wake Forest is getting buried. Will the distractions hurt the seventh ranked Canes? As Miami tries to shut out the outside noise, we take a look at who from the Demon Deacons we should worry about and why. Plus this weeks injury report for Miami

Will Dallas' emergence continue with a healthy Duke?
Will Dallas' emergence continue with a healthy Duke?
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports



1. a thing that prevents someone from giving full attention to something else.

This week was a great week for Miami, a top 10 BCS ranking, and finally getting the long standing black cloud that the NCAA violations created out of the way. Combine that with an upcoming game against the second ranked in-state rival FSU next week, and you got all the reasons one can need to worry about a game that has a 20-something point spread.

This coaching staff is no stranger to distractions. Coach Golden pretty much took the team over as the Yahoo story broke; and not only did he navigate it all, he's turned the team around. That being said, he should have his players ready to go. He's taken a few steps to distance the players from the noise by canceling all player and coach media availability until after the game on Saturday.

History: Miami leads this series all time 7-3, riding a six game winning streak. Actually WF hasn't beat UM since FDR was in the White House. They have only played six times since then, but in the four games they have played each other as ACC members - UM has won by an average of 20.5 points.

Not too exciting? Why should you worry? ... and why does Wake Forest sound so familiar? They are the team FSU has lost to four of the last seven years. Think of them as FSU's Virginia. They also WON the ACC in 2006: it was against Georgia Tech, their kicker won the MVP... it's just best as a conference to not talk about it. If anyone asks, just say Virginia Tech won that year or something.

Wake Forest: The 4-3 Demon Deacons come in winners of 2 straight and are 2-2 in the ACC. Offensively, WF is stronger in the pass game than they are in the run game, but not to the level of UNC. They rank 74th in the nation, passing for an average of  220 yards a game with QB Tanner Price completing 60% of his passes. Price has a QB efficiency of 130 - throwing 10 TDS and 3 INTs. His favorite target by far is WR Michael Campanaro. In 6 games he's racked up 704 yards receiving: a 117 yards a game average. That's pretty much Allen Hurns' numbers if you also add on Stacy Coley's. Not saying he's better than them combined;  just saying he accounts for about 50% of the team's receiving statistics, so hopefully Miami pays a little bit closer attention to him than they did against UNCs TE.

The run game for Wake has been a work in progress. Last week UM faced the 112th ranked rushing attack in the nation in UNC - this week we get the 111th. For those who track that puts WF at 101 yards a game. The QB Price has the most carries on the team with 75, and the second most net yards with 163. Josh Harris is second on the team with ,65 so it's a pretty even split when it comes to carries. Harris leads the team in net rushing yards with 218; in part because he doesn't have the negative sack yards taken away from  his total.  There is only one back on the roster that averages anywhere near five yards a carry, and has more than 10 rushing attempts, and he still only has 14. To better compare those numbers - their top two rushers (Harris and Price) average 31 and 23 yards per game. For Miami, Gus Edwards and Eduardo Clements average 37 and 25 yards per game.

The defense ranks in the top half of the nation overall at 37th. They give up about 140 yards a game(40th) on the ground, while giving up 225 yards passing(55th). They may be a bit lower than that if not for getting completely destroyed by Clemson 56-7. You may find yourself wanting to compare Miami to Clemson and expect similar results, but the defense has come together since that game and looked good. They have only allowed 23 points total in their last two matchups against NCST and MD. They also buckle down late, only allowing seven points in the fourth quarter all season.

In finding these stats I checked out a few WF sites, and they seem to all think this team may have found something over these past two games. Seems to be due to creative sets and play calling on the offense; and the defense playing the way it should. Check out the glee for yourself. They are also keeping track of their punter, as he is on pace to break the NCAA all time record for punts, and that is all types of awesome right there. I'll take the occasional 4 interception game over a punt record any time.

Miami - Well, it's game one without Phillip Dorset and while he may not have been having the year you thought he would, it's still gonna change some things. I have faith in WRs, but Dorset has a skill set you cannot just replace by "next man up." That being said, I'd imagine most schools wouldn't look at a lineup of Hurns, Coley, and Waters as a bad thing. They have all the talent Stephen Morris should need to bounce back from his worst game as a Hurricane.

Duke who? Ok, maybe not, but the emergence of Dallas Crawford has been just as surprising as the defense's turnaround against the run. I'm not sure the carries shift drastically due to Dallas' coming out party, but it's nice to know UM can turn to either back if needed. Dallas is great, and we are lucky to have him, but let's hope Duke finds a less risky way to block. It's important to remember Johnson was on his way to a monster game prior to his injury.

Players to watch - For Wake it's got to be WR Michael Campanaro. He gets about 10 catches a game, and averages over 100 yards. Last week Miami had some "holes" in their pass defense, and with Wake not really scaring anyone with the run, they need to make adjustments to make sure he doesn't cause havoc. On their defense it's NT Nikita Whitlock. The two time ACC defensive lineman of the week has 13.5 tackles for loss and is coming off of a 2 sack game against Maryland. With Morris' foot issues, UM doesn't need him getting pressured and having to scramble. Nikita tends to create that very scenario.

Players to watch - For Miami it's Stephen Morris. We have seen the good and we have now seen the bad. If Miami is going to go where the fans expect them to, he needs to stop the interceptions. I fully expect him to come out and look sharp, but I think I felt that same way prior to the UNC game... whatever. On defense it's Tracy Howard. Their best player is a WR - he's a corner - let's get it on. Coming off a game where the team was torched by a TE, Tracy still had two important interceptions. With Campanaro being a 5"11 WR and not a 6'4" 250 lb TE, it creates a matchup Howard can actually do something about. His success against the Wake passing game will likely dictate how the game unfolds.

Should You Worry - Yes... this week has been trying: the NCAA news and the realization of Miami and FSU playing each other undefeated in November all hit around the time the team should be focusing in on Wake Forest. Hopefully UM got the game they play like absolute crap out of the way, but WF is playing much better as of late, and Miami cannot afford another multi-turnover game.

Prediction - UM 34 WF 20


Game 7 vs. Wake Forest


Kacy Rodgers II - Lower Extremity


Philip Dorsett - Lower Extremity

Danny Isidora - Lower Extremity

Surgery/Out for the season

Hunter Knighton - Upper Extremity

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