Clemson was the victim last week as they fell to the Syracuse Big Orange after being heavily favored. The Miami Hurricanes have had back to back weeks where the outcome of the game depended on the final drive. This has led to head coach Mark Richt declaring recently that Miami is not yet a dominant team. With confidence growing each week, Syracuse is a legit danger to Miami’s current 10 game win streak (dating back to last season.
Syracuse Looking to Spoil Miami Hurricanes Season
The Big Three
The identity of the Syracuse team is the offense. Much of the production is between three very capable players. Eric Dungey is the driver of the offense, he leads the offense in both rushing and passing. At six foot four 220 pounds Dungey possesses the size to run over a defender and the speed to pull away. Recently his efforts were rewarded with Co-ACC back of the week, for his 339 yards and three touchdowns in the upset against Clemson.
Although the game is being played in Miami, there will be sure to be some big Orange fans at Hard Rock Stadium cheering on Steve Ishmael. The NCAA leader in receptions is from North Miami and was actually recruited to Syracuse by a former University of Miami coach in George McDonald. Syracuse is very confident in Ishmael’s ability to make contested catches against the team’s best cornerback. From the beginning of the season he came out blazing. The first five games of the season he went over 115 receiving yards in each. He’s also scored a touchdown within the last four games. That production has earned him midseason All-American honors.
With Syracuse pushing it’s tempo to crank out a minimum of 80 plays per game, Ervin Philips has the speed to turn any one of those plays into a touchdown. That speed has to be accounted for. Clemson learned that the hard way on Philips’ 66 yard reception. Although Ishmael is first in the NCAA in receptions, his teammate isn’t far behind, ranked third with 56 receptions.
Watching the Hurricanes the past two games haven’t been easy. After not scoring a point in the first half against Florida State, the offense exploded for 24 to win it. In the matchup against Georgia Tech, Miami had to shut out Tech in the final quarter and score nine for the one point victory. Malik Rosier in the second halves of ball games has been magical, but Miami needs early production from the offense in ACC play. The close wins show Miami’s growth from last October when they lost three of four games by seven points or less.
Home Run Travis Homer
There was plenty of doubt as to how Miami would respond after the loss of star running back Mark Walton. There was concern about the depth behind him. Although there are still questions as to what some of the other backs are capable of, Travis Homer lived up to his last name with his performance. His 170 yards against Georgia Tech is more yards than Walton has ever rushed for against ACC competition.
After being mainly a special teams standout, Homer is showing that he is more than capable of carrying the grunt work at running back. He averaged over eight and a half yards per carry against Georgia Tech and still looked fresh at the end of the game.
Help On the Way
Miami’s passing attack should be better as Ahmon Richards looks to give them some much needed help. He returns after being sidelined with a hamstring injury that continues to bother him. The defense welcomes back Sheldrick Redwine and Dee Delaney after both missed the Georgia Tech game. With the two returning, Miami’s depth in the defensive backfield looks in better shape as Syracuse will run a quick tempo to expose the conditioning of a defense. Defensive Coordinator Manny Diaz stated in a post practice interview that more defensive players will play against Syracuse to match that tempo.