The Miami Hurricanes enter this week's ACC matchup with the Virginia Cavaliers on a two-game win streak. The Cavaliers are a tough team to assess. Virginia defeated Georgia Tech two weeks ago before losing to North Carolina State this past week. The Cavs surprisingly have the 19th-ranked defense and the 50th-ranked offense in the nation.
This ACC Coastal game is important for the Canes in order to keep their hope for an ACC title alive. Here are the five players that I think will come up big for the Hurricanes on Thursday night.
Jacory Harris has been phenomenal this season. He has thrown for 1244 yards, 12 touchdowns and only four interceptions. The big problem with Harris throughout his career has been turnovers, but he has limited them this season.
However, last week against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Harris had a mediocre game, going 8-for-23 with 140 yards and an interception. Harris needs to have a rebound game against the Cavs on ESPN.
I think he will.
Lamar Miller has easily been the best offensive player for the Hurricanes this season.
Miller is averaging 5.8 yards a carry and has 799 yards and six touchdowns on the year.
However, Miller has been held in check in his last two games. Against North Carolina he gained only 29 yards on 16 carries, while against Georgia Tech he carried 27 times for 93 yards.
Miller will have his hands full with a good Virginia defensive line, but I believe it will be “Miller Time” again on Thursday night.
Travis Benjamin has had a solid senior season, but last week Georgia Tech held Benjamin to four yards on two receptions, his worst performance of the year.
Benjamin had the opportunity for a big play early in the third quarter, which would have put the Canes up by three scores, but the ball was a bit underthrown by Jacory Harris.
For Miami to win, Benjamin needs to have a bigger impact. I expect him to explode against the Cavaliers as we are accustomed to seeing.
With Jon Feliciano most likely out against Virginia, it will be up to Seantrel Henderson and Malcolm Bunche to carry the workload. Both Henderson and Bunche are more than capable, but their lingering injuries leave a bit of doubt. If the Canes want to run well on Thursday, the offensive line will need to be top-notch to hold off the strong Cavalier defensive line.
Sean Spence has had an amazing season. He already has 65 tackles, three sacks, and one forced fumble through seven games.
I look for Spence to add to those totals against Virginia. He has been named ACC linebacker of the week for three straight weeks and is the unquestioned leader of the Hurricane defense.
Spence will undoubtedly come up big under the bright lights on Thursday night.
The Hurricanes will be seeking revenge for last year's loss to Virginia. I expect the Canes to get another ACC victory and win this game, 24-14.