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Will Team Chemistry and Toughness take Miami Hurricanes Football to the Next Level?

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UM players appear to be playing for each other.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

In the midst of the mauling that Miami's defense took against the Nebraska Cornhuskers in a 41-31 loss on 9/20, a funny thing may have happened.

The team appeared to come together.

And despite that lack of execution and poor tackling, they may have also got tougher.

They literally fought back, right before our eyes.

The two biggest skirmishes Vs Nebraska:

And certainly while personal fouls are never a good thing, sticking up for your teammates always is.

In 2004, the season that the Red Sox broke "the curse" Vs the Yankees in October, a mid season brawl between the teams highlighted by Jason Varitek squaring off with ARod is often credited by the Sox players as the moment that team built real chemistry.

Different sport, yes.  Similar theme, perhaps.

Maybe, just maybe,  despite the loss in Lincoln, the 'Canes banded together that night.

Miami Head Coach Al Golden was hesitant to call it a turning point just yet,

"I can answer that question at the end of the season. The team has to determine how they want to play the game. It's a fair question. Time will tell whether or not we unified, whether or not we are accountable to each other. Hopefully that (the loss to Nebraska) was a start."

But there is evidence they did become closer.

The week after the humbling loss, the players also stood up for the coaches, most notably Denzel Perryman.  What better way to circle the wagons?

Agree with him or not, it was a clear sign if solidarity.

More importantly there was definitely no shortage of effort the following weekend. And it was palpable on film.

"They played very hard against Duke"  observed Georgia Tech Head Coach Paul Johnson on this morning's ACC teleconference.

And they also looked like a tight knit unit, as the players mobbed each other time and time again after big plays.

The key is to sustain it, starting this weekend in Atlanta Vs Johnson's very good Georgia Tech squad.

Playing for each other can only help in all aspects of the game.

If the season comes together the way the 'Canes fans hope, they might look back to a couple of brawls in Lincoln on a disappointing night in September, as the moment that defined the season.

Time will tell.