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Gameday blog: Virginia at UM

SUN LIFE STADIUM -- The Miami Hurricanes (4-3, 2-2 ACC) play host to the Virginia Cavaliers (4-3, 1-2 ACC) in an 8 p.m. kickoff Thursday night, a game that will be televised nationwide on ESPN. UM is coming off back-to-back wins at North Carolina and at home against previously 20th-ranked Georgia Tech. Virginia knocked off the Yellow Jackets on 24-21 on Oct. 15, but lost last week at home to N.C. State 28-14. The Cavaliers knocked UM off last year 24-19 in Charlottesville. 

> ABOUT THE CAVALIERS: The Cavaliers own one of the best pass defenses in the country, ranking 12th nationally (176.00 yards per game). They also 19th in total defense (314.29) while allowing just 23 points per game. While Virginia doesn't necessarily create a ton of pressure on opposing quarterbacks (10 sacks in 7 games), they are very good in coverage and in creating picks (8 INTs). UM has thrown 7 INTs in its last three meetings against Virginia. Freshman cornerback Demetrius Nicholson and senior Chase Minnifield each have two so far this season. Minnifield has 12 in his career (3rd most actively in FBS). Offensively, Virginia is a run-first team, ranking 34th nationally with 183.43 yards per game on the ground. Junior tailback Perry Jones (5-8, 185) has 576 yards on 113 carries and two touchdowns, but freshman Kevin Parks (5-8, 195) is the guy they like to use near the end zone. He's has seven touchdowns and 386 yards rushing on 74 attempts. If Virginia does decide to pass, UM should be looking to cover Kevin Burd (34 catches, 447 yards, 0 TDs) and going for picks. Freshman quarterback Michael Rocco has thrown eight interceptions in seven starts and just four touchdown passes. His backup, David Watford (6-1, 190) has thrown four INTs himself. Kicker Justin Moore has been unreliable this season going 4-for-8 on field goal attempts with a long of 40 yards and two blocked kicks.

> WHAT TO WATCH FOR WHEN IT COMES TO THE CANES: UM is 15-2 all-time on Thursday night games, but hasn't won three games in a row since it beat Oklahoma, Florida A&M and UCF in Oct. 2009. Starting right tackle Jonathan Feliciano (left ankle) will miss his first start in six games and will be replaced by Malcolm Bunche, who will get his first start of the season and share time with Seantrel Henderson. Aside from that injury, the Canes are getting healthier and deeper. Defensive tackle Micanor Regis is back from his suspension and will backup Darius Smith. Defensive end Olivier Vernon (1 tackle vs. Georgia Tech) figures to see more playing time in his second game back from an NCAA-mandated suspension. Lamar Miller, once fourth in the nation rushing, has slipped to 14th nationally after rushing for just 2.8 yards a carry (122 yards, 43 attempts) over his last two games faces another decent run defense this week (49th, 138.29 yards per game). Jacory Harris has thrown just one interception over his last 18 quarters.

> MANNY'S PREDICTION: Canes 31, Virginia 17. I'm 5-2 picking the Canes this season (Georgia Tech, Kansas State were my losses). Last week, though, I was way off and pleasantly surprised to see the Canes come around and play as good on defense as they did. Virginia isn't a good team on paper. They pounded William & Mary 40-3, won at Indiana by 3, needed overtime to beat Idaho at home and were beaten by double-digit points in both of their ACC losses (North Carolina, N.C. State). Canes should roll here. But I'm apprehensive to pick a blowout based on the fact this is a short week and Virginia's defense isn't so bad. What will kill the Cavaliers in the end is quarterback play (12 INTs in 7 games). UM will score a defensive touchdown this week (my money is on a freshman) and make enough defensive stops in the second half to feel pretty good about themselves. But I could see this being close for a half.

FYI, No Cover It Live this week since I'll be on a late night deadline. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below. Follow me on Twitter at Manny_Navarro.

Comments

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It takes smart players to win and Golden has done that with Temple. Temple did not have the 4 or 5 star caliber athletes. Jesse Palmer said earlier during the game miamis season last year they had several players go pro. But, their record was 7-6. That is exactly right. Talent can only get you so far but in order to win and be successful you got to play smart and be consistent playing all four quarters of the game. That did not happen tonight!

Good take CANEREX. I touted Miami would finish 9-3 in a BEST CASE SCENARIO and in a worst case scenario, the Canes would finish 8-4.

I doubt Miami will finish 8-4, because I don't see Golden's squad winning both road games against F.S.U. and So. Fla.

So, from my perspective it looks like 7-5.

All these lower tier teams scoring above 30 & 40 points (ie Houston), time to go to the spread offense with all our weapons!!! Scoring just 21 points is a shame!!!!

I'm not even sure we can beat duke with their passing offense

I had hope for the end of the season- its gone they stink- we need no more of Golden's nonsense about more disicipline in the team- pure bovine fecal matter.Now I know why the stands are empty who wants to pay $85 for a general admission ticket for that crap
just opinion

Hope the kicking duties is an open competition this week, wideclaw has slid these past 2 weeks!!

I give them credit, they didn't fold. Would have last year.

Probably doesn't matter but I really hope Va Tech doesn't wind up losing two games now.

As long as we beat the Seminoles I'll be satisfied with this season. UM has been competitive every game, I can't remember the last season where you could say that.

U can't always get wat U want ...


come on Cane fan, tell us all about how you'll be back ...

Great effort by the guys- cant ask for more. But the play calling?? 4th and two and try James up the middle?? Sound familiar (KState)?
Definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

http://www.change.org/petitions/the-university-of-miami-build-a-stadium-for-our-miami-hurricanes-football-team

Why can't our defense ever disguise our coverages or our blitzes? How come they never zone blitz either?? All the qbs we play we make them look like all americans!!!!

Haha, I just noticed that Gators game watched the entire UM game doing his adorable little "U' posts.

Could you ride UM's d*ck any harder?

* Gators guy

I was drinking away my sorrows...

come on CANETILURDEAD ?

enlightn U's

Sun Life is empty because of the pathetic coaching and play on the field. Would you pay your money to see a bad performance over and over again? I will say this again "Golden is clueless." Wearing a tie does not make you a coach, play calling, teaching, instructing and motivating your players does. Hopefully this slow burn will end in a bout three years, and the U will spend the money for a TOP QUALITY coach!!

I have a question. Who is t he UMFAN that rants and raves about ghetto and copying and pasting thing from wikkepedia on a football site. Sounds like a 70 year old woman with post menapause.

Make that MIAMIFAN...needs some serious counciling.

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