Huge, huge, huge, huge win for the Canes today. Trailing 24-14 in the third quarter, the Canes score 35 unanswered points behind freshman quarterback Jacory Harris, who finished 18 of 28 for 182 yards, four touchdowns and 2 INTs.
> There's no doubt the big story now becomes does coach Randy Shannon send Jacory back to the bench in favor of starter Robert Marve. Shannon has said all along Marve would be the starter all year. But the facts are facts and Jacory is the reason UM won today. What is your take? Should Jacory replace Marve as the starter? I believe he should. He's playing better right now than Marve.
> That's one story. The other: Offensive coordinator Patrick Nix had the bounce-back game he was sorely looking for. Despite a shaky first half, he made the proper adjustments and even threw in a few wrinkles to get the offense going. The no-huddle attack in the second half was huge and set Duke back. Do the Canes now go with the no-huddle from here on out? And, is Nix now free of the wrath of Canes fans? Well, maybe for a week.
> Go-to receiver? How about freshman Aldarius Johnson. He caught 8 passes for 84 yards and a touchdown and definitely showed why he and Harris were such a great tandem in high school. Their chemistry was amazing and basically fueled UM's comeback.
> How about UM's defense? They made the key stops when needed in the second half. Duke quarterback Thaddeus Lewis made some plays in the first half, but the defense stepped up big-time in the second half and got the pressure it needed to knock Lewis and his receivers off their game. They also were good on third down, stopping Duke on 11 of 17 attempts.
> On a side note, UM improved to 1-2 in the ACC. Also good news, North Carolina lost to Virginia to fall to 1-2 in the conference. That's the help the Canes needed to try and leapfrog the Tar Heels in the division. Virginia Tech (2-0) and Georgia Tech (3-1) are still ahead. But UM controls its own fate against those teams as well as Virginia (2-1). All the Canes need is for the Hokies to drop a game tonight to BC and UM can win its way into the ACC title game.
In case you didn't know, I was not on the travel squad for Duke. Susan Miller Degnan and Jeff Shain will be there for us today. But I was out at the BankUnited Center this morning with about 150 fans and a few other reporters for the Hoopfest. Here's a link to the audio interviews from today with Frank Haith, Katie Meier, Jack McClinton, Dwayne Collins, Brian Asbury and Jimmy Graham.
A couple of quick notes from today's Hoopsfest:
> Jack McClinton talked about winning a national championship. McClinton really believes the Canes can make a deep run with this team. Jimmy Graham told me McClinton is even better than last season. "I feel like Jack can just continue what he did last year and just do it the whole season from the beginning tip down in that tournament that we have to go to and the NCAA tournament," Graham said. "Those last couple of games, he was penetrating a lot more and doing his little flutter deal a lot more. I feel like your going to see a lot more of that this year because people are playing his shot. He's going to take what they give him this year."
> As for Graham, he wants to be lighter this season. He said he's starting this season at 250 pounds instead of 265 so he can be more athletic. We asked him if UM will be OK this season replacing Anthony King and Ray Hicks with Cyrus McGowan, Julian Gamble and Reggie Johnson. "Julian Gamble is a big man. He's got a big wide body, attacks the glass," Graham said. "Cyrus McGowan is going to be a great player. He's a 6-9 guy who can shoot the three. He plays defense like I do. It's fun playing with him. King and Ray were great players for us. Cyrus is definitely going to help fill that gap and so is Julian. I feel like we have the same strength as last year, if not a little better."
> The Canes have been practicing for two days and a few guys are already banged up. Collins strained his groin Friday and bruised his hip with a fall Saturday. Guard James Dews had to be given an IV by Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue after he cramped up Saturday. He came back and did sign autographs for fans. Redshirt freshman center Julian Gamble was injured Friday and was on crutches Saturday. Haith said he doesn't believe the injury will be extensive.
> Freshman swingman DeQuan Jones is receiving high praise from his teammates. Collins said he's having fun playing above the rim with Jones, who was called by McClinton and Asbury as a great finisher around the basket. "DeQuan is a beast. He's real athletic. As a freshman, he dunks a lot," Collins said. "You know me. I'm into dunking. That's all we do. He's mainly on my team in scrimmages. Yesterday he threw me an alley-oop. I returned the favor and threw him one."