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Week 4 Preview: Central Michigan @ Miami

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The Canes slowly ramp up the competition, as they battle FBS foe Central Michigan before the bye week.

NCAA Football: Bethune Cookman at Miami
The Canes look to build off their impressive 63-0 win over Bethune-Cookman last Saturday as the Chippewas come to town.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

After a frustrating 0-2 start to the 2019 season for the Miami Hurricanes, things got back on track last week. The Canes smashed Bethune-Cookman 63-0, registering their first win of the season, as well as Manny Diaz’s first win as a head coach.

Miami will see a bit of a step up in the caliber of their opponent this week, as the Central Michigan Chippewas come to Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday afternoon. CMU plays in the MAC Conference in the FBS, so that is already a step above I-A Bethune. The Chippewas have sprung some major upsets before, namely at Michigan State in 2009, and most recently at Oklahoma State in 2016.

However, CMU, once a very consistent and steady program, has fallen on hard times recently. The Chippewas bottomed out in 2018, finishing with a lowly 1-11 record, which led to the dismissal of John Bonamego as Central Michigan’s head coach at the end of last season. CMU brought in a very familiar face to take over the program: Jim McElwain. The former UF head man, who went 22-12 with the Gators before being fired during the 2017 season, is now in charge at Central Michigan.

The Chippewas have started the year 2-1, with wins over Albany and Akron, who they beat last week. CMU’s lone loss so far came at the hands of Wisconsin, a 61-0 drubbing in week two.

The Chippewas started the year with Tennessee transfer Quinten Dormady starting at QB, but he sustained an injury that will keep him out against the Canes. In for Dormady is backup David Moore, who started his career at Memphis before coming to CMU via a JUCO transfer. In his Central Michigan debut last week, Moore went 20-31 with 316 yards and two touchdowns against Akron.

The Canes will match with redshirt freshman QB Jarren Williams, making his fourth career start and fresh off his first win as a starter last Saturday. Williams went 19-24 for 254 yards and three touchdowns against Bethune. On the season, the Lawrenceville, Georgia native has completed 73.1% of his passes, while throwing for 777 yards and six touchdowns. Williams has yet to throw an interception, and he’ll look to continue that streak this Saturday.

Although Williams has been fantastic with his arm, he has gotten great support from his backfield so far this season. Junior Deejay Dallas has been amazing, rushing for 309 yards (8.4 yards per carry) and four touchdowns. Sophomore Cam’Ron Harris has also been very productive (105 yards and two touchdowns), and if that wasn’t enough, the Canes backfield is expected to get a big boost on Saturday. Sophomore Lorenzo Lingard, a five-star prospect coming out of high school, is expected to make his season debut on Saturday, per Manny Diaz. Lingard has been banged up since last year, causing him to miss some game action last year, as well as the first three games of this season. However, Lingard will add another dynamic to an already electric running back room.

One area of concern for UM will be kicking, as sophomore Bubba Baxa has struggled mightily this year. Baxa has only converted 4 of his 8 field goal attempts this season, and he’s also missed an extra point as well. Two of those missed field goals were from inside 20-29 yards, and Baxa will need to improve drastically in order to not hinder Miami from winning games.

Additionally, OC Dan Enos will be coaching against his former team, as he was the head coach of the Chippewas from 2010-2014. Enos seems to be sour about the way his tenure ended up, so he might have revenge on his mind this Saturday.

For the Canes, this matchup really shouldn’t be difficult, as the Chippewas are rebuilding, but no game against an FBS opponent can truly be overlooked. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 PM, and the game is being broadcast on the ACC Network.