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With Powerful Duke Ground Game Coming to Town, Golden/D'Onofrio Need Answers Fast

UM faces another powerful ground game this weekend against the Duke Blue Devils, the defending ACC Coastal Champions.

Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

We all know what happened last Saturday Night in Lincoln.

In a highly disappointing 41-31 loss Miami allowed 343 rushing yards to Nebraska, including 229 by Ameer Adbullah.

On Monday, Miami Head Coach Al Golden told the media his team needed to put that performance behind them.

"The biggest thing for us is to move forward We got a great opportunity and haven’t played a Coastal game yet. ... We need to stick together and take accountability for what didn’t go right but also take a deep breath. Let’s move forward with a unified front going into the Duke week."

It was the fourth time Miami has surrendered 300 + yards on the ground in the Golden era.  The last of course last season, when the Blue Devils dismantled the Miami defense to the tune of 358 yards on the ground,in a 48-30 win that clinched the Coastal.

UM has no time to feel sorry for themselves.  Golden knows it.

Golden also addressed how they planned to improve things,

"At the end of the day we got to do a better job and that’s tackling, play-calling, personnel. We have to look at everything and learn and move forward and get ready for Duke."

On Tuesday it was Defensive Coordinator Mark D'Onofrio taking  a stab at explaining some of the woes.

Today Golden reiterated the tackling point on the Coaches' Teleconference,

Clearly something needs to improve, and Saturday at 7:30 PM (ESPN2) the 'Canes will face another physically imposing offense.

Duke is 22nd nationally, averaging 261 yards a game on the ground, this season.

They feature a balanced rushing attack  with Josh Snead and Shaquille Powell doing most of the work between the tackles and Shaun Wilson (14.4 ypc) as the big play guy.  All are very capable backs. Additionally QB Anthony Boone can take off on occasion to keep defenses honest.

David Cutcliffe's squad is also 17th in the country in scoring at 43.5 points a contest.

The have a talented group of offensive lineman up front, headlined by Laken Tomlinson at G and Matt Skura at C.

Where the Devils might be lacking statistically however, is in strength of schedule, as those numbers were accumulated Vs Tulane, Kansas, Troy, and Elon who are a combined 4-9 on the season.

Nonetheless they are the defending ACC Coastal Division Champions and they are undefeated, and given what happened last November 16 in Raleigh, the 'Canes have to be concerned.

If Miami can not do a better job of stopping the run this weekend, things are going to get very ugly in Coral Gables, regardless of the explanation that comes after.

Once again this team, this program, this coaching staff are at a crossroads.

Nothing short of a win Vs Duke will be satisfactory this weekend.  And that will not come easily or at all, unless the problems up front whatever they may be, are solved and solved in a hurry.