Weekend Spotlight: Miami at Duke
The Miami Hurricanes (6-5, 4-3 ACC) head to Durham Saturday to face the Duke Blue Devils (6-5, 3-4 ACC). Although Miami’s self-imposed bowl ban has taken away the ACC Championship Game implications for this game, the matchup will still play a major role in final conference standings and bowl selection order.
Kickoff: 12:30 PM EST
Television: ACC Network/ESPN3
Series: Miami leads 8-1
Series Since 2004 When Miami Joined The ACC: Miami leads 7-0
Series at Duke: Miami leads 4-0
Last Meeting: November 5, 2011; Miami 49, Duke14
Line, For Those of You Heading to Vegas this Weekend to Legally Place Bets on the Game: Duke +6.5 as of Tuesday
Duke is led by two receivers that average over 75 yards per game: senior Conner Vernon (fourth in the ACC in receiving yards) and sophomore Jamison Crowder (sixth in the ACC). Vernon and Crowder have accounted for 11 touchdowns and over 1,600 yards receiving this season. Blue Devils’ quarterback Sean Renfree is averaging 232 yards passing per game. The Blue Devils will be up against a Miami defense that ranks tenth in the ACC in passing defense and is allowing 254 yards per game through the air.
On the other side of the ball, Miami has been one of the ACC’s best through the air, ranking fourth in the conference and averaging 286 yards per game. Miami junior quarterback Stephen Morris is averaging 271 yards per game and has thrown 18 touchdowns to his seven interceptions. Morris was outstanding in last week’s matchup against South Florida, throwing for 413 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Duke is bowl eligible for the first time since 1994 when the Blue Devils went 8-4, losing to Wisconsin in the Hall of Fame Bowl, 34-20. As Miami waits for the inevitable sanctions coming down from NCAA, the Hurricanes have self imposed a ban on postseason play for the second year in a row, eliminating themselves from the ACC Coastal division race and bowl contention.
Stat That Makes It Sound Like Miami Should Win: Just look at the history. Miami has won the last eight meetings between the two teams with the last Blue Devil win coming in 1976.
Stat That Makes It Sound Like Duke Should Win: The Blue Devils rank first in the ACC in forced fumbles and second in fumbles recovered this season. Miami has lost eight fumbles this year, five coming on the road.
The Road To Orlando*: Miami’s decision to opt out not only ended their conference championship hopes (a win over Duke would have set up a rematch with Florida State in Charlotte), but it also drastically changed the Russell Athletic Bowl’s ACC options. The ‘Canes could have finished with wins over Georgia Tech and Duke, two of the other teams remaining in the mix (NC State from the Atlantic Division is also in contention). With Miami staying home this December regardless of the outcome on Saturday, there’s added pressure on Duke to win and improve their chances to land in one of the conference’s top three bowl selections.
* – Not a guarantee.