ACC Coastal teams looking to bounce back and just a win away from bow eligibility set to square off in South Florida
Miami will try to snap its two-game losing streak this weekend against the Duke Blue Devils. Just like the Hurricanes, the Blue Devils are also coming off a loss, as they dropped their third game of the season to the Pittsburgh Panthers, 54-45.
Saturday’s game will mark the 16th meeting between Duke and Miami. The Hurricanes leads the series 13-2.
Duke at Miami
Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. ET
Spread: Miami -9.5
Three Things to Watch
1. Hurricanes' running game
Miami's quarterback situation gets a ton of criticism, and rightly so. No matter if it has been Malik Rosier or N'Kosi Perry under center — neither player has been consistent all season.
But one of the reasons the Hurricanes offense has struggled this season has been their lack of a running game. In their losses to LSU, Virginia and Boston College, Miami averaged only 3.9 yards per carry and did not have a 100-yard rusher. The Canes also averaged just one rushing touchdown in those three games.
In Duke's loss to Pittsburgh, the Blue Devils defense allowed 484 yards on the ground. So Miami needs to establish the run this weekend if the Canes hope to get their offense back on track.
2. Deon Jackson
In Duke's loss to the Panthers, Jackson had an excellent performance. The Blue Devils' sophomore running back had 403 all-purpose yards against Pittsburgh, earning ACC co-Running Back of the Week honors. He rushed for 162 yards on 10 carries. Jackson also recorded three catches for 89 yards and a touchdown along with returning six kickoffs for 152 yards to set a Duke single-game record.
Against Miami last week, Boston College running back AJ Dillon was able to rush for 149 yards on 32 carries. The Blue Devils will need to commit to running the football if they want to come away with the victory.
3. Can Miami's defense get back in track?
Miami's defense was ranked No. 1 in the nation entering last weekend's game against Boston College. However, the Hurricanes certainly didn't perform like the best defense in college football. In their 27-13 loss, Miami's defense gave up 433 yards, including 233 yards on the ground. There were times when the Hurricanes defense appeared tired and worn down by the Eagles' no-huddle offense.
Even with the subpar performance, Miami is still second nationally in total defense (261.5 yards allowed per game), second in passing yards allowed (140.8), eighth in sacks, first in tackles for a loss and first in third-down conversion defense. The Hurricanes are also 22nd in scoring defense (19.3 points allowed per game) and 24th in rushing defense (120.8).
The key to this game will be the Hurricanes' ability to get pressure on Blue Devils quarterback Daniel Jones. If Miami cannot get pressure on Jones, then it could be a long day at Hard Rock Stadium.
Everyone knows what Malik Rosier is, and that is an average to below-average quarterback. The Hurricanes just need him to take care of the football and muster a solid running game. Miami will also need to get a better performance from the offensive line, which has been mediocre at best.
Prediction: Miami 27, Duke 24
— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, the Miami Herald and the Palm Beach Post and is a reporter for Pro Player Insiders. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.