Sixteen years after their last National Championship win, is the U being back put on pause after a blowout loss in ACC championship game?
It’s a phrase College football fans everywhere, especially Hurricane fans around the nation, have been dying to know the answer to: Can we finally say The U is back? The program that took the country by storm in the late 80’s and 00’s finally progressed back to their prominent throne? Well, not so fast.
The Hurricanes were run off the field by the defending National Champion Clemson Tigers 38-3. Coming into the game, quarterback Malik Rosier had been benched versus the 4-7 Pittsburgh Panthers. It was a move that was a real head-scratcher for everybody around the country. Hurting your QB’s confidence this late in the season with a playoff spot on the line. It had to have been a decision that coach Mark Richt wasn’t so complacent about following the game versus Pittsburgh. The Tiger defense, lead by Clelin Ferrell, Dexter Lawrence, Christian Wilkins and Austin Bryant, four defensive linemen that could very well all be first-round picks, proved to be just too much. The Hurricane offense struggled to even get on the board, only getting three points. Rosier completing less than fifty percent of his passes and only gained 110 yards. His confidence being rattled after being benched versus a 4-7 team might have played a hand in this blowout loss.
Things are on the Come Up
Despite losing in a rather massive manner, if you’re a Hurricane fan, this season was a sign of what is it come. The program has finally found a coach they can stand behind in Mark Richt. A head coach that has a record of 19-6 in just his second year has sent a clear message to every other major football program in America: We’re coming.
You might think its humorous now, but do you know who is tied for number one in the 2018 recruiting rankings? The Miami Hurricanes are. Other schools from other major football programs might not be necessarily worried about the Canes now, but they ought to start. Especially when it comes time to make those home recruiting visits down in Florida. Out of the 2018 top 300 recruits, a third of them come out of the state of Florida. The Miami Hurricanes have commitments from 17 of those 100 recruits with over 30 of them still undeclared. The days of schools in the SEC and the neighboring states coming down to Florida and poaching recruits may be coming to an abrupt cease. Not even 30 games into his tenure and Coach Richt has proved he can win and compete for a championship.
Making a Statement
After their blowout loss to Clemson, other fan bases couldn’t wait to say the U was not back and how this was one of the most overrated teams in the country. The Canes have a chance to shut that crowd up Saturday night when they take on Big Ten runner-up, the Wisconsin Badgers. A team until last Saturday, like Miami, were competing for a playoff spot. A win against the sixth-ranked team in the country would send a message for next season. Beating Wisconsin might be just tough a task as Clemson was, as their defense is ranked 1st in the country in total defense and 2nd in scoring defense behind just behind Alabama. They are also ranked 1st in Teams Passing Efficiency defense and 1st in rushing defense. It’s safe to say the deck is stacked. Coach Richt and quarterback Malik Rosier have their work cut out for them.
The nation will have its eyes on The U come December 30th, as they’ll be the final primetime game before the playoff gets underway the following day. Stopping freshman sensation Jonathan Taylor is going to be at the top of lists of tasks. Taylor rushed for over 1,800 yards in 2017. The Cane defense that has taken them so far is going to have to step up and prove to the country that they’re not the overrated team that the naysayers want to make them out to be.
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