Miami gets its ACC slate under way under the lights at Duke on Friday night. The Hurricanes moved up one spot in the USA Today Coaches Poll to No. 13 after shaking off three weeks of rust to defeat Toledo 52-30 Saturday, while Duke remained perfect after a 27-17 road win over rival North Carolina.
The Blue Devils certainly remember the last time the Hurricanes blew into town in 2015 as Miami pulled out the 30-27 victory with a controversial last-gasp 91-yard kickoff return that featured eight laterals and four missed calls that resulted in suspensions for the ACC officiating crew. The Hurricanes hope to avoid needing any last-second heroics this time around but that may depend on which Miami team shows up -- the sluggish one that was down 16-10 to Toledo at halftime or the explosive one that scored 42 points in the second half. “That was enough drama for three weeks of football,” Hurricanes coach Mark Richt told reporters afterward. “We’ve been through a lot and it has been an emotional roller coaster for a lot of us.” The Blue Devils had drama of their own against North Carolina and needed their own late comeback to give head coach David Cutcliffe career win No. 100, his 56th victory with Duke, but getting No. 101 this week could be that much tougher, however, if Hurricanes star running back Mark Walton is ready to go after hurting his left ankle against Toledo and top wide receiver Ahmmon Richards can make his debut after sitting out all season with a hamstring injury.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Miami -7
ABOUT MIAMI (2-0): Walton rolled up a career-best 204 yards rushing and one touchdown on just 11 carries Saturday despite missing time with a bad ankle, while Malik Rosier, who threw for 272 yards and two scores in his first career start for Miami in the 2015 win over Duke, was on fire in the second half against Toledo and he finished with a career-high 333 yards passing and three touchdowns, adding one more on the ground. The Miami run defense remains tough to penetrate but there are still some major concerns in a rebuilt secondary that has been torched in both games despite the presence of highly regarded transfer Dee Delaney. “He’s still learning the ins and outs of what we do,” Richt said. “He has not played perfect, but everybody at all positions has struggled. ... We think he’s doing a good job. We believe in him and we’re going to continue to play him.”
ABOUT DUKE (4-0, 1-0 ACC): The Blue Devils have yet to play a ranked opponent this season so this will be a huge test for a Duke defense that ranks second in the nation in rushing yards allowed per game (65.3) and is tied for 11th nationally in total yards surrendered (261.5). Offensively, the Blue Devils have been moving the chains mainly on the ground, averaging 227.0 yards per game featuring senior Shaun Wilson (363 yards, 5 TDs) -- who needs just six yards to become the seventh player in Duke history to hit the 2,000-yard mark -- and freshman Brittain Brown (336 yards, 2 TDs). Quarterback Daniel Jones provides an additional running threat but he is making strides as a passer (904 yards, 5 TDs) with junior T.J. Rahming (24 catches, 248 yards) as his favorite target.
1. Duke and Miami are the only two ACC teams averaging at least 240 passing yards per game and 225 rushing yards per game.
2. This will be the 15th meeting between the Hurricanes and Blue Devils since the series began in 1976, with Miami holding a 12-2 series advantage.
3. The Blue Devils are aiming for their first 5-0 mark since 1994, when the team started 7-0.
PREDICTION: Miami 42, Duke 20