The Miami Hurricanes are looking to ride the momentum after completing their last bye week of the season. They are now preparing to face off against Florida International. Miami is currently on a three-game win streak after many thought they could possibly miss a bowl game. The insertion of Jarren Williams back at quarterback has given the offense a big boost. Other than FCS opponent Bethune Cookman, every game was decided by eight points or less.
Miami Hurricanes Look to Keep Momentum
Since Williams returned as the starter, Miami’s offense has skyrocketed. The Hurricanes went on the road to defeat Florida State by 17 points. Against Louisville, Williams broke the school record for passing touchdowns in a single game with six. The offense scored 52 points against the Cardinals and Miami looks to continue that momentum.
Sophomores Stepping Up
One of the main reasons that Miami has seen improved play recently is the progression of some of the younger players. Offensively, Williams has looked much improved returning from a shoulder injury. In the past three games, he has thrown for nine touchdowns. Williams is only a redshirt freshman. A downfield favorite has emerged in Dee Wiggins. Against FSU, Williams found Wiggins on a 56-yard bomb that sealed the victory. A week later the two hooked up again on a 67-yard post route that left the defender lost in his tracks. Williams also found him again in the red zone giving Wiggins his first multi-score game.
Defensively, the Hurricanes secondary has been much improved and has seen sophomores Al Blades, DJ Ivey, and Gurvan Hall all step up. Ivey has improved tremendously after a rough first half of the season. In Miami’s three-game winning streak, Ivey has three interceptions and has improved as a tackler. Blades has been consistent throughout the season but is now forcing turnovers. On special teams against Louisville, he caused a fumble. He also caught an interception in that game. Hall caught his first career interception against FSU and has become Miami’s leader in the secondary.
A Chance at Another Streak
The Hurricanes’ three-game win streak should continue with the only remaining opponents left being Duke and FIU. Miami has been eliminated from ACC Coastal but still has a chance to be selected to play in the Orange Bowl. If the Hurricanes find their way into the game, Miami will essentially be playing another home game. A win in a big-time bowl game like the Orange Bowl could give Miami much needed momentum into next season.
As it stands, the Hurricanes should have a starter at every position returning next season. The entire offensive line and Williams should return. On defense, the Hurricanes will lose four-year starters at linebacker in Shaq Quarterman and Michael Pinckney. Starting striker Romeo Finley also will graduate but Zach McCloud taking a redshirt this season helps the linebackers next season. Miami will also return Greg Rousseau who currently has 12 sacks. Finally, Miami will also add Jaelan Phillips to the defensive end rotation.
The Hurricanes have struck fire at the right time. Miami lost plenty of winnable games early in the season but the team seems to be finding its stride. Manny Diaz took a risk by playing a good amount of young players early and it’s now paying off. If the Hurricanes can win their bowl game, it allows Miami to use that momentum into recruiting and also into spring football for the next season.