We’ve finally made it to the regular season. So take a deep breath in as we climb aboard the rollercoaster ride that is the 2017 season. Today State of the U shines the spotlight on Miami’s matchup in week one against Bethune-Cookman.
1 vs. 1 Matchup of the Day
WR Frank Brown (five foot eleven, 185 pounds) vs. DB Dee Delaney (six foot one, 193 pounds)
In the 2015 matchup between Bethune-Cookman and Miami, the Wildcats amassed a paltry 18 receiving yards. That afternoon BCU quarterback Larry Brihm Jr. passed just four times, completing two passes for those 18 yards and one interception as the Hurricanes went on to rout BCU by a score of 45–0.
This time around BCU should look to the air more than four times to open the season. BCU’s biggest threat in the passing game will be senior wide receiver Frank Brown, who returns to South Florida after growing up in Palm Beach Gardens. In the nine games he played in 2016, Brown accounted for a team-high seven touchdowns. Only Justin Sumpter of Kennesaw State produced more touchdowns in fewer games (eight touchdowns in eight games) than Brown in FCS competition.
The matchup will serve as a great warm-up for Delaney, who is transitioning from FCS opponents to FBS talent. In 2016 Delaney tallied eight pass break-ups and six interceptions as a member of The Citadel. The matchup will be an excellent test, given that Brown will have a senior quarterback in Brihm, who has played against Miami before, though under the old coaching staff.
Miami’s offensive line vs. BCU’s defensive line
With Malik Rosier being named Miami’s starting quarterback, the biggest question for the Hurricanes’ offense was answered. But it remains to be seen whether the offensive line will improve from the 2016 season, where they allowed 25 sacks. We’ll see if a mobile quarterback will help as the Hurricanes go up against a Wildcats defensive line that accounted for nine sacks in 2016.
Caneseye Players to Watch
The Caneseye Players to Watch will look at an opposing player who could be the biggest threat to a Miami victory, as well as a Hurricane who can help the team win. This week’s opposing player is safety Diquan Richardson. The Alvin, South Carolina native was recently named to the Black College Player of the Year watch list. Richardson led the Wildcats in both interceptions (4) and tackles (60) in 2016. In the 2015 game between BCU and Miami, Richardson again led his team in tackles with five. We expect that he will have plenty of action this Saturday between trying to tackle running backs Mark Walton and Travis Homer and providing help against passing threats. It figures to be a long day for Mr. Richardson in any capacity.
There are many options to choose from when it comes to the Hurricanes. How about new starting quarterback Malik Rosier? What about those freshmen? There are just too many intriguing prospects to name, and to choose everyone would be a cop-out. We expect to see plenty of ’Canes build their reputations on Saturday, but let’s see what Lawrence Cager is able to accomplish in his first game since missing the entire 2016 season because of a torn ACL. Aside from Evidence Njoku, who stands at six foot six, Cager’s six-foot-five frame gives Miami’s offense a big target in the passing game. While his last reception came against Georgia Tech in November 2015, it sounds as if Cager is ready to show that he’s not only healthy but much improved since his freshman season.
IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THE U!