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Matchup of the Week: Duke Edition

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The Canes will look to finish on a high note with a win on Senior Day.

NCAA Football: Miami at North Carolina State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Wow...can’t believe it’s the end of the season already. Even after a very rough point in the season, I’m personally proud of the how this team played. However, the season isn’t over yet with two more games to play, so the Canes will look to send the seniors out on a high note.

Miami (7-4, 4-3 ACC) will face Duke (4-7, 1-6) on Saturday at 3:30 at Hard Rock Stadium. The Canes are coming off a well fought 27-13 victory over NC State and will look to carry over this momentum to Duke. The Blue Devil’s lone conference win was against their in-state, Tobacco Road rival then-No. 17 UNC, 28-27, a team even Miami failed to beat. So although Miami is clearly the superior team, Duke should not be taken lightly. Before getting demolished by Pitt and beating UNC, Duke lost to their previous three opponents by 10 (Louisville), three (GT) and three (VT). Plus, Duke would love to knock off a hot Miami team on their Senior Day.

OH YEAH! WHO REMEMBERS THE LAST TIME THESE TEAMS PLAYED?!?!?! BECAUSE I DO!

CORN FREAKING ELDER FOR THE WIN!!!! I CAN RE-LIVE THAT MOMENT EVERY SINGLE DAY!!! I HOPE ESPN2 PLAYS THIS EVERY TV TIMEOUT!

Okay...I’m calm now.

Miami Front Seven vs. Duke QB Daniel Jones

This matchup should be fun, in my opinion. Not necessarily because it will be a back-and-forth matchup, but but because Miami should make Jones’ life miserable all day long. Like, ALL. DAY. LONG. Jones, a freshman, was thrust into the starting role about a week before the season started after incumbent started Thomas Sirk re-injured his achilles. Sirk was also just recently granted a sixth-year of eligibility.

Jones, however, has done well in his inaugural season at Duke. The freshman has thrown for 2,520 yards, 13 touchdowns and nine interceptions. The highlight of his season was a 38-35 win AT Notre Dame, where he threw for 290 yards and three scores. Unfortunately, he followed that game with a five-interception performance vs. Virginia, so you can see he can be sporadic at times, which is natural for a freshman.

As for Miami, they should be able to feast on the inexperience QB with their relentlessness and constant pressure. Duke takes a committee approach to running the football, so if they are able to make Duke one-dimensional through either the air or on the ground, taking Jones out of either equation would put Duke in am extremely tough bind.

The front seven should feast on an inexperienced and fragile QB, while shutting down the run, just live they’ve done all season. The front seven doesn’t feature any seniors, but their play will have a direct impact on how the seniors in the back end play. Safeties Jamal Carter and Rayshawn Jenkins and corner Corn Elder will all be playing their final home game for the Canes, so you can imagine the type of energy and aggression they will be playing with. They will look to tap into that energy of their young front seven and play 60 minutes of inspired and violent football. Senior transfer Adrian Colbert will be OUT for Saturday, as he is still recovering from a forearm injury suffered against Notre Dame.

To be perfectly honest, this game shouldn’t be close. In the past, Miami has let not-so-good teams hang around for the majority of the game, but it’s not apparent in this squad. Miami may take a half to get into the game (which isn’t good either), but they play hard and compete for 60 minutes, which is what you want in your football team.

The only reason I attribute why the UVA and NC State games were as “close” were due to the Canes being on the road. This time around, they will be at home, in front of a great crowd, and on Senior Day. That is a recipe for absolute destruction. The Miami offense should have no problems with Duke. Even in Duke’s recent success, the Miami offense has found immense success moving the ball and putting up points. Duke currently gives up 27 points per game and Miami averages 34 points per game, so the odds of putting up points are definitely in Miami’s favor. Expect another 100-yard rushing day from Walton and approximately 300 yards from Kaaya. WR Stacy Coley should have a big day, with this game being his last in Miami, as well.

Oh, and one last thing:

Gets better every time!

Miami 41-Duke 10