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Gameday blog: No. 13 UM vs. Florida A&M

SUN LIFE STADIUM -- The 13th-ranked Hurricanes and Rattlers open the season at 7:30 tonight. Feel free to participate in our discussion below. 

REWIND: The Hurricanes defeated the Rattlers, 48-16, last season and have combined to out-score FAMU, 355-to-49, dating back to 1980.

ABOUT FAMU: Florida A&M is coming off an 8-3 season in 2009. The Rattlers closed out the year winning four of their last five, including a 42-6 victory over Bethune-Cookman in their season finale. This year, FAMU is predicted to finish second in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference behind South Carolina State. Five Rattlers also earned preseason all-conference honors this year, including leading tackler Alvin Graham and top receiver Isaac West. Graham is coming off a 69-tackle, 6.5 tackle-for-a-loss season while West had a team-high 641 receiving yards a year ago.

> If senior running back Graig Cooper plays. He's coming back from knee surgery and was listed first on the depth chart at punt returner. Coach Randy Shannon told several media outlets Cooper would play as long as the weather isn't bad.
> Keep your eyes open for freshmen. After this game a lot of them could end up red-shirting. Running back Storm Johnson and Lamar Miller are probably the first ones you will see -- on the kickoff team. Tight end Asante Cleveland could be the next one. The offensive line has three to watch: Seantrel Henderson, Brandon Linder and Malcolm Bunche. Defensively, linebackers Kelvin Cain and Jimmy Gaines should see some playing time on special teams and on defense in the second half.
> I'll be watching right tackle a lot tonight (where Jermaine Johnson and Joel Figueroa will be) as well as the overall play of the offensive line. Keeping Jacory Harris upright is the entire key to the season in my opinion. FAMU shouldn't breath on him. If they do regularly, it could be a long year.
> The Canes' pass rush. It wasn't very good last year. New defensive line coach Rick Petri is supposed to make them better. Allen Bailey and his cohorts should dominate in this game.

MY PICK: The goal of this game is simply to get out on the filed and work out the kinks while staying healthy. The Canes should do that and coast to an easy win. UM 55, FAMU 10.

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