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2017 Miami Hurricanes Football Game Preview: Week 5 at Duke

The Hurricanes make the first trip back up to Durham since 2015’s 30-27 fiasco of a game

Miami v Duke
Miami celebrates after a last-second touchdown gives them a win in 2015 at Wallace Wade Stadium
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

It is rare for a Miami vs Duke football game to produce a thrilling and controversial contest. However, that is exactly what occurred on October 31, 2015 in Durham, North Carolina.

Lead by back-up quarterback Malik Rosier (20-29 272 YDS 2 TD 1 INT), the Canes marched up to NC with interim head coach Larry Scott and remarkably pulled out a desperation win (remember, Miami would have fallen to 4-4 and 1-3 in the ACC with a loss).

Now, Miami, with much more stability and a more talented bunch, heads back up to Wallace Wade to face the Blue Devils.

Last meeting: Miami won, 40-21 at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday, November 26, 2016

All-time series: Miami leads 12-2, last Duke win came 48-30 at Wallace Wade Stadium in 2013

This season: Friday, September 29 at 7:00 pm on ESPN

Miami is coming off of a home game against Toledo while Duke will be just six days removed from their major rivalry game of the year against North Carolina on the road. Neither squad has a particularly daunting first four games leading up to this one outside of Miami’s visit to Tallahassee.

Duke is not as talented a team as they were both in 2013 when they last beat Miami and in 2015 when Miami won by just three. With that said, the Blue Devils posses the best quarterback in the ACC behind Lamar Jackson. In my opinion, Daniel Jones is right there with FSU foe Deondre Francois as the clear second tier QB’s in the league behind the Heisman winner.

To make matters more complicated, Daniel Jones could have the best WR corps that Duke has had in Coach Cutcliffe’s tenure at his disposal in 2017. Junior WR TJ Rahming is a name that should be known nationally as he has amassed 1,313 yards in his first two years in the slot at Duke. The Blue Devils will also introduce redshirt freshman Scott Bracey to the field, who was a highly touted 4-star receiver out of high school.

NCAA Football: Duke at Northwestern
Duke Junior TJ Rahming is one of the most underrated wide receivers in the country
Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Duke also has an improved offensive line for this year’s game but it should still be no match for Miami’s front seven. When looking at the match-up between Duke’s O-line and Miami’s D-line, one sees the greatest disparity between the two squads: the trenches. Duke could also struggle mightily up front on the defensive side of the ball as well. Outside of LB’s Ben Humphreys and Joe Giles-Harris, no one in the front six (Duke employs a 4-2-5 scheme) scares you. There is some potential along the D-line for Duke, but no one that really stands out for 2017.

One similarity amongst Duke and Miami, though, has to be in the defensive secondary. Miami was strong here last year but has to replace basically everyone, but the talent is there. For Duke, besides a few individual standouts over the past few years (NFL players Ross Cockrell, Jeremy Cash, etc), the Blue Devils have struggled mightily in the secondary, specifically being vulnerable to the deep ball. Exploiting this weakness once again will be big for coming away with a win.

To be quite frank, it will take a lot for Duke to beat Miami this year. Miami has the advantage in nearly every facet of the game except QB play, no matter who is suiting up for the Canes in this game. To that point, QB is the most important position on the field and with such a talented passer and underrated scrambler in Daniel Jones, you have to give Duke a small chance in this game.

Duke will also have a rather unproven set of RB’s to rely on in 2017 outside of returning senior Shaun Wilson (1,645 YDS 12 TDS for career).

Miami will need to exert their dominance on the defensive end, starting with the likes of Chad Thomas, RJ McIntosh, Kendrick Norton, and Joe Jackson. Duke just simply has no match for any of these guys and Miami will need to show it. Taking away the run game should be pretty easy but containing the passing attack will prove more difficult.

DB’s Dee Delaney, Malek Young, Sheldrick Redwine, Jaquan Johnson, and others will have to step up and squash Duke’s only real chance to put up points: through the air.

If everything holds and no major injuries occur on Miami’s side, this should be no contest. This game could get out of hand quickly in favor of the Canes. The Blue Devils also have no one to cover Ahmmon Richards and no one with the size to stay with Lawrence Cager if he gets going. Mark Walton could also have a monster game with Duke’s average front-line. With that said, Duke is still a legitimate ACC Coastal foe and a win here would be big for the season. Miami should get a solid early season ACC win here in Durham in 2017.


How many points does Miami win by?

This poll is closed

  • 31%
    (109 votes)
  • 36%
    (124 votes)
  • 18%
    (62 votes)
  • 3%
    Less than 7
    (12 votes)
  • 9%
    (34 votes)
341 votes total Vote Now