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Monday Musings: best Canes RB ever; streaking Diamond Canes

Willis McGahee evades

It’s Monday, which means it’s time again to hop in a pod and fire off into the deep recesses of my brain for random Canes’ nuggets........

1) Out of all University of Miami running backs, who are you riding with? This question was raised on Twitter and was addressed by our own Marsh Thomas yesterday. Marsh went with Willis McGahee. Based on his 2002 season, the best for a running back in Miami history, it’s hard to argue with that. Not to take the easy route, but if I was asked to have one back carry the load for me in one game, I’m going with 2002 McGahee as well.

I watched McGahee when I was at UM in 2002, and I can’t remember ever seeing a more dominant performance over an entire season at running back. His six touchdown performance against Virginia Tech to cap the perfect regular season spoke for itself, as did his 1753 rushing yards for the season. He scored multiple rushing touchdowns in EIGHT GAMES!!!! His contribution in the passing game was also unquestioned, as evidenced by his catch and run that helped Miami come back late and steal maybe UM’s most unforgettable game of the 21st century from FSU 28-27:

For me, a very, VERY close second would be Edgerrin James, and at times, I’m not sure I wouldn’t put him first overall. Edge’s power running was on display in perhaps the best single-game performance by a running back in school history on December 5, 1998 against UCLA. Butch Davis stamped “U.S. Mail” on James’ backside and rode him 39 times for 299 yards and 3 touchdowns. He opened the scoring with a 45-yard touchdown run, and ended it with a 1-yard run to put the Bruins away in the final minute. In between, James danced around, trucked, and ran past helpless Bruin defenders, providing a snapshot of the star potential he would show in the uber-talented Indianapolis Colts offense over the next several years.

I suppose then I’d say that McGahee and James would be 1a and 1b for me.

2) The Canes’ baseball team finished an up-and-down regular season with a flourish, sweeping recently-ranked Louisville 6-1, 2-0, and 3-2. Obviously Miami’s pitching was masterful, paired with timely hitting. Miami finished the regular season 32-17 overall and 20-15 in the ACC, good for the fourth seed in the upcoming ACC tournament. It’s been Miami’s pitching that’s been masterful down the stretch, and it really starts with closer Carson Palmquist. The long-limbed reliever has a fastball touching mid-90s with movement coming out of near-sidearmed arm slot, which makes his stuff darned near unhittable lately. If the Canes have a late lead in a tournament game, they have to love their chances of closing the game out, which is an incredible luxury to have. Kind of like in basketball having a 92% free throw shooter when your team is up late. In any event, Miami is trending in the right direction as the most important part of the season approaches. Best of luck to the team this week in the ACC tournament.

Go Canes!