Miami’s 27-10 win over the Florida State Seminoles this past Saturday was special, and one that we were all extremely excited about. Obviously we’re going to be happy because the Canes defeated the rival Seminoles for the third year in a row, but there’s more to it.
The victory felt extra important because Miami finally looked like the team we were expecting to see prior to this season started. With two straight impressive wins for Manny Diaz and his team, the Canes have some momentum going that they need to keep building on.
It definitely wasn't perfect, but for the first time this year, I can say that's how my Miami Hurricanes are supposed to look.— Greg Rousseau All-American (@hurricanesmarsh) November 3, 2019
Yes, this year has been very different than the one we all expected, but Miami can still finish 2019 off on a very strong note, building for an even promising future.
The Hurricanes have several things going for them as they prepare to take on the Louisville Cardinals this upcoming Saturday, which will be their final home game of the season.
Let's beat Louisville, beat FIU, beat Duke, win our bowl game. Let's win out. Let's keep this going— Greg Rousseau All-American (@hurricanesmarsh) November 3, 2019
First off, after eight up and down weeks, and another debate, Miami has their quarterback, Jarren Williams. The redshirt freshman is coming off his best game of the year, throwing for a career-high 313 yards and two touchdowns against FSU.
I’d say Jarren Williams threw a decent deep ball today. pic.twitter.com/QYpvFl7eYL— David Furones (@DavidFurones_) November 3, 2019
His performance against Florida State put to rest anymore arguments whether he should be starting or if N’Kosi Perry should be, Williams is the guy for Miami and it looks like the future is very bright with him as the Canes quarterback.
Crazy how a few weeks can change things. In the last few weeks, Miami has found a quarterback, a kicker and an offensive line.— Josh White (@_JoshRWhite) November 2, 2019
Moving on, the offensive line for the Hurricanes seems to be getting better and better each week, which is something that many of us didn't think we’d be able to say about a month ago. They allowed just two sacks vs Pitt, and then again just two sacks against FSU, both teams being superb pass rushing squads.
Dan Enos on the offensive line: "I think there's been improvement from all of them. That's a credit to Butch Barry. ... He has the ability to get these guys to play hard and with toughness."— Christy Chirinos (@ChristyChirinos) November 4, 2019
Says Zion Nelson has looked more comfortable and has gained confidence in recent weeks.
Up until they played Pitt, no FBS school had given up more sacks than Miami, and it was straight painful to watch every week. However, offensive line coach Butch Barry and his young unit have stepped up, especially on the pass protection. True freshmen Zion Nelson and Jakai Clark have made enormous leaps, while veteran starters Navaughn Donaldson, Corey Gaynor and D.J. Scaife have been playing like we expected them to.
Look at true freshman Jakai Clark HUSTLIN down the field!!!! https://t.co/iffDGCDyg2— Greg Rousseau All-American (@hurricanesmarsh) November 6, 2019
If you watch the FSU game, Williams had a very clean pocket to throw from most of the afternoon. One of the reasons why Jarren was able to have so much success was that the line gave him the time to make those throws.
When you go to the defensive side of the ball, just like the OL, it’s a night and day difference from where they were a month ago. This time four weeks ago, Virginia Tech had just put up 42 points on the Canes, and people were calling for defensive coordinator Blake Baker’s job. In the four games since, Miami’s D has been one of the elite in the country.
Let's not pretend here— rOmaN (@Romancane) November 3, 2019
After limiting @FSUFootball to 203 yards including 9 sacks
The #canes defense has held the following opponents:
Uva 9 points
GT 7 points in regulation
Pitt 12 points
FSU 10 points
That 4 game stretch in terms of scoring defense is ELITE
There’s a few reasons for the improvement on defense. One, coach Diaz deciding he’d play more of a role calling the D. Two, linebacker Shaquille Quarterman has found his groove once again. In the last four games, the senior has 40 total tackles, 6.5 TFLs and one fumble recovery.
Blake Baker says Shaq Quarterman has been "a different monster" since the Virginia Tech game. "He stepped up his leadership role. ... I wouldn't trade him for anybody in the world."— Christy Chirinos (@ChristyChirinos) November 4, 2019
The secondary has also taken a big step up, whether it be cornerback D.J. Ivey, or safeties Gurvan Hall Jr. and Robert Knowles, Miami has had lockdown coverage.
More than anything however, the Canes pass rush has been out of this world. In four games, Miami has sacked the opposing quarterback 21 times, and they have 12 sacks in the past two games alone. Trevon Hill, Nesta Jade Silvera and Jonathan Garvin have all got to the QB, but without a doubt it’s redshirt freshman Gregory Rousseau who has made the biggest impact.
Another graphic for @Greg_R5? Yes.— Canes Football (@CanesFootball) November 3, 2019
Rousseau after tonight’s game:
12 sacks on the year
Tied for most sacks in FBS
Tied for fourth in UM history for sacks in a single season
First Hurricane since ’00 to have four sacks in game
Making his first start of the season against Virginia, Rousseau has tallied eight sacks since then, including seven in the past two games. Yes, you read that right. He’s tied with Chase Young from Ohio State for first in the nation in solo sacks (12).
Greg Rousseau. 7 sacks the last 2 games. He is absolutely incredible pic.twitter.com/mLvj6gISGp— Greg Rousseau All-American (@hurricanesmarsh) November 6, 2019
So it’s obvious that the current Canes are beginning to find their groove, and if Miami finds a way to win out and rattle off 9-10 wins for the year, it’ll also help them in a big way with recruiting. Jaylan Knighton, Jalen Harrell, plus several more, are all targets in the 2020 class who will be watching UM closely over the last few weeks of the season.
Well, since it's out there publicly already, 5-star LB Justin Flowe and 4-star S Jalen Harrell. https://t.co/7uBrkHvOm8— StateOfTheU.com (@TheStateOfTheU) November 5, 2019
Deerfield Beach RB Jaylan Knighton was considering Miami before he committed to Florida State. He was at Hard Rock Stadium for a game last month. https://t.co/a9pQ7yWqtg— David Wilson (@DBWilson2) November 4, 2019
Now while the Canes and their supporters are riding high after these two wins, Miami is still 5-4, and a loss to Louisville would take away all that excitement and momentum that currently surrounds UM. Many thought that their win over UVA was going to be the difference maker, until they lost to Georgia Tech the following week.
I feel so much different than I did after the UVA win. There, I just felt relieved that we won. Today, this team showed me a lot more, that they're able to put a team away, that they can withstand a surge from the home team in a rowdy environment. Feeling good right now— Greg Rousseau All-American (@hurricanesmarsh) November 3, 2019
Though winning the Coastal division isn’t something they totally control, the Hurricanes can still win these final three regular season games and then a bowl victory to finish off 2019. If Miami rallies and finishes at least 9-4 on the year, that’ll tell the country a lot on where this program is headed.