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Miami Hurricanes 2020 Game Preview: Week 1 vs Temple Owls

Manny Diaz and the Hurricanes will begin their 2020 season against a Group of Five opponent at Hard Rock Stadium

Tulane v Temple Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Familiar Faces

The Canes will be taking on an opponent familiar to both Manny Diaz and DE Quincy Roche.

Right after the 2018 ended, Manny Diaz accepted a job as the head coach of the Temple Owls. But after Mark Richt’s retirement, Diaz ditched the Owls to become Miami’s head coach. I’m sure that there was some bitterness with the way he left after just 18 days at the helm.

Connecticut v Temple Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Graduate transfer DE Quincy Roche will be facing his former teammates when he steps onto the field in a Hurricanes jersey for the first time. The standout DE was Temple’s top defensive player last season, finishing last season with 13 sacks and 19 tackles for loss.

2019 Season

After head coach Geoff Collins left to Georgia Tech following the 2018 season, Rod Carey led the Owls to a surprising 8-5 season.

Temple’s defense was great last year, in part due to Quincy Roche’s success. However, only 38% of that unit is returning this year, 123rd amongst returning defenses in the nation.

Returning Players

Senior QB Anthony Russo threw for 2,861 yards and 21 touchdowns last year, but only threw for 6.8 yards per attempt last season. His performance last season was a big step up from his 14 touchdowns and 14 interception season in 2018.

Vincent Picozzi is a 1st team All-AAC offensive lineman who is the anchor for the Owls’ line. Running back Re’Man Davis ran for 900 yards and 8 TDs as a freshman last season.

Ifeanyi Maijeh will lead Temple’s defensive line following Quincy Roche’s transfer to Miami. He is a 285 pound defensive tackle who had 10.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks in 2019.

3rd team All-AAC cornerback Christian Braswell had a team-high nine passes defended and one INT last season.

The Game

Miami Hurricanes football practice Al Diaz/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

With a new spread offense and veteran quarterback, Miami’s offense should look very different this season. As fellow writer Justin Dottavio noted in his Summer Scheming series, the keys to victory are to protect the quarterback against an aggressive defense. Unlike most opening games, Temple won’t be a cakewalk. Opening versus Temple gives Miami a good chance to show what they’re bringing to the table this season. I fully expect Miami to win in convincing fashion at home on September 5th with or without fans in attendance.