October was quite the painful month for the Miami Hurricanes, with two straight losses heading into November. Contributing to the losing streak has been Miami’s absence from their home down in South Florida.
By the time the Canes host Duke on Saturday, it will have been 28 days since they’ve played a game at Hard Rock Stadium.
Though Miami fans used to be the subject of “bad fan” jokes, those jokes now couldn’t be farther from the truth. No more are the days when pictures of half-filled Sun Life Stadium showed up on your television. Now, when you turn on a UM home game, expect to see a sold-out Hark Rock Stadium, and a true home-field advantage for the Canes.
Playing at home has been something that’s been crucial to the team’s success under head coach Mark Richt. Since Richt took over in 2016, Miami has posted a 15-3 home record, with the Hurricanes having not dropped a conference game at Rock in two years.
Hard Rock Stadium may collapse tonight. That place hasn’t seen this kind of noise since the renovation.— Alex Rodriguez Jr. (@iLLeStEyECoN) November 12, 2017
Though its a far-cry from the 58 home-game winning streak that Miami boasted back in the Orange Bowl during the 80s’ and through the 90’s, renovations to the stadium and obviously more wins by the Canes have made it a dreaded place to play for opponents.
“Our fans were loud the whole game. ... We have the best fans in the world.” — Canes TE Brevin Jordan— Christy Chirinos (@ChristyChirinos) September 9, 2018
Another reason for the added enthusiasm and noise level has been the addition of the Turnover Chain to the Hurricanes onslaught of tools to win. When Miami hosted North Carolina late in September, and the Chain came out several times due to six Tar Heels turnovers, Canes fans brought the roof down.
File this under "extremely nice problem to have:" Richt says Miami has been using non-verbal cadence sometimes at home ... because you fans are too loud when the Turnover Chain comes out and the offense can't hear itself when you're going nuts.— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) October 1, 2018
Though we all know the effect that the Hard Rock crowd had on teams like Virginia Tech and Notre Dame last season, when Florida State came to play the Hurricanes earlier in October, the crowd was a large factor as to why Miami was able to comeback and win that game.
It is ridiculously loud inside Hard Rock stadium... also... I’ve never seen fewer FSU fans at this game in my life— Mike Ryan Ruiz (@MichaelRyanRuiz) October 6, 2018
Possibly no moment was louder in the stadium as was when linebacker Michael Pinckney picked off FSU quarterback Deondre Francois during the Miami comeback, giving the Canes offense the ball back in Noles territory.
All throughout the game the Miami crowd was deafening, sometimes with boos even, but most of the time it was cheering, helping will the Canes to their first home-win over their rivals in 14 years.
On Saturday, the Canes arrive back in Miami Gardens for a long-awaited game in front of their home fans and in their house. Both Miami and Duke come into the game at 5-3, with the Hurricanes desperately needing to get back into the win column in order to salvage their season.
Coach Richt is well aware of the effect that the fans have, and though Miami has struggled through a bit of a losing-streak, him and his team are in need of the noise that the UM crowd brings. “Being at home and having your fan base there helps a lot, and we’re looking forward to having ours there,” Richt told reporters after practice Wednesday.