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Miami-Florida (6-5) at Duke (6-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 24, 12:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Wallace Wade Stadium (33,941) -- Durham, North Carolina. Television: ACC Network. Home Record: Miami 4-2, Duke 5-1. Away Record: Miami 2-3, Duke 1-4. Neutral Record: Miami 0-0, Duke 0-0. Conference Record: Miami 4-3, Duke 3-4. Series Record: Miami leads, 8-1.
GAME NOTES: With a chance to clinch a share of the ACC Coastal Division title for the first time since joining the conference, the Miami Hurricanes are set to wrap up the regular season against the Duke Blue Devils at Wallace Wade Stadium.
The game figures to hold significant meaning for the Miami players, considering the school removed itself from bowl consideration for the second straight season in the wake of last year's NCAA investigation into improper player benefits. The Hurricanes are also ineligible to play in the ACC Championship, should they qualify. Still, they have won two of their last three contests, including a 40-9 rout over South Florida this past weekend.
Duke watched its Coastal Division title hopes fade away with last week's 42-24 loss at Georgia Tech, its third straight setback after a 6-2 start. However, the Blue Devils are bowl eligible for the first time since 1994 and can lock up a winning record with a victory on Saturday. During his Sunday media availability, coach David Cutcliffe, a former offensive coordinator at Tennessee, put to bed any rumors that he was considering replacing Vols' recently fired head coach Derek Dooley. He has since signed a contract extension with Duke through June 2019.
Miami has beaten Duke in eight of the nine meetings all-time between the two schools. Duke's only win against the 'Canes came in the first meeting back in 1976.
Miami has put 40 points on the board in each of its last two games. Junior quarterback Stephen Morris notched his third 400-yard passing game of the season in last week's win over USF, becoming the only Miami quarterback ever to accomplish the feat in a single season. Morris torched the Bulls for 413 yards and three touchdowns through the air. Phillip Dorsett was one of three 100-yard receivers for the 'Canes, as he caught 12 passes for 111 yards in the victory. Freshman Herb Waters finished with 130 receiving yards and a touchdown, marking the highest single-game total by a UM freshman since Reggie Wayne's 137 yards against Pittsburgh in 1997. Sophomore tight end Clive Walford added a career-high 135 receiving yards, the second-most by a Hurricanes tight end in the history of the storied program.
Defensively, Miami's bread and butter is forcing turnovers. The defense has notched 22 takeaways on the year, which is seven more than last season's total. The 'Canes forced three turnovers against USF, the fourth time this season they have forced at least three turnovers in a game. They knocked Bulls starting quarterback Bobby Eveld out of the game with a shoulder injury late in the first quarter. Miami held USF to 3-of-14 on third downs and forced the Bulls to settle for field goals on all three of their trips inside the red zone. Rayshawn Jenkins led the way with seven tackles and an interception for Miami. On the season, defensive end Shayon Green paces the team with 65 tackles, including 37 solo. Green has started all 11 games after three injury- plagued seasons. Bookend Anthony Chickillo leads the squad with four sacks.
Through eight games, Duke ranked second in the ACC in passing offense and sat at 6-2. But over its last three contests, Duke has averaged only 17 points while giving up 48.7 points over the same span. Quarterback Sean Renfree has struggled a bit of late, although that is bound to happen when the running game falls off like Duke's has. Freshman Jela Duncan ran for a team-high 39 yards against Georgia Tech, albeit on only six carries. He has paced the Blue Devils' ground game with 41.1 rushing yards per game, as the team ranks 105th nationally in that department. Renfree threw for only 198 yards in the loss and was sacked four times, although Desmond Scott came through with 10 catches for 124 yards and a score. Also in the loss, Conner Vernon became the ACC�s all-time receiving yardage leader, passing Florida State's Peter Warrick.
Over their last five games, the Blue Devils have yielded an average of 43.4 points. Not surprisingly, they have lost four of those contests. Last week, they allowed Georgia Tech to score rushing touchdowns on each of its first three possessions. Yellow Jackets quarterback Tevin Washington was a thorn in the Blue Devils' side, as three of his six completions went for touchdowns and he added another TD on the ground. GT racked up 28 first downs and 449 yards of total offense for the game, steadily moving the chains by converting 13- of-20 third downs. Duke gave up touchdowns on all four of the Yellow Jackets' trips inside the red zone. Sophomore linebacker C.J. France notched a game- high 15 tackles in the loss, while Kyler Brown had 14 tackles and Justin Foxx finished with 11.
The Blue Devils' success cannot be understated since Cutcliffe took over in 2008, as they had won only 10 games total in eight seasons prior to his arrival. Whereas this matchup would have been considered an easy Hurricane victory in years past, this time around things won't be so easy, especially considering Duke has won five of six at home this season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Duke 31, Miami 27
11/21 11:23:55 ET
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