Miami Welcomes Kansas State To Sun Life

The Miami Hurricanes sit at 1-1 entering this weekend’s match up against Kansas State. After a season-opening loss at Maryland, Miami welcomed back a handful of missing starters for game two, where the Canes upended Ohio State, 24-6 last weekend.

Next up, the Wildcats, led by Bill Snyder and meaning the return of former UM linebacker Arthur Brown and almost-signee, brother Bryce Brown. Some may play that up as the subplot entering this weekend, but there’s only one storyline to follow; how does Miami respond after a win.

Over the past several seasons, something good always seemed to be followed by a letdown. Gaining momentum a feat of its own. Last season a 3-1 start was followed by a 45-17 loss to Florida State. After regrouping with two straight wins, including a much-anticipated victory over Butch Davis and North Carolina, an inexplicable loss at Virginia. Miami faded, going 2-3 down the stretch and finishing 7-6.

In 2009, another 3-1 start, including wins over Florida State, Georgia Tech and Oklahoma. After toppling Florida A&M and Central Florida, the 5-1 Canes fell to Clemson in overtime. Still numerically in the ACC hunt, back-to-back wins over Wake Forest and Virginia were followed with a third straight loss to rival North Carolina.

This type of play truly dates back to the 2005 season, where Miami opened with a 10-7 loss at Florida State, won eight in a row – including a win at No. 3 Virginia Tech.  The ACC title was within reach – as was a rematch against the Seminoles for a BCS berth – and the No. 3 Canes fell 14-10 to a Georgia Tech that finished the season 7-5.

Early Larry Coker teams had the talent to win games, but over the years began to fade and in the Randy Shannon era, more blunders than bright spots.

First-year head coach Al Golden got his first win at ‘The U’ last weekend, beating Ohio State in the home opener. That in itself was cause for some celebration, but with kickoff and game three a day away, everyone wants to know what he’ll do for an encore.

Will Miami be ready come 3:30pm ET on Saturday afternoon? Has this coaching staff reeled the kids back in after a much-needed prime time win? Is the game plan in play and will the players take care of their assignments?

On paper this looks like a quality match up, but truth be told Kansas State enters game three a “paper champion”. The Wildcats are 2-0 and boast some ‘impressive’ defensive statistics – holding opponents to seven total points over eight quarters. What the stats don’t tell you – those opponents were Eastern Kentucky and Kent State. Kansas State needed to overcome five fumbles, rallying for ten fourth quarter points to finally put away EKU.

Coach Snyder is known for scheduling early season cupcakes and Godforbid should Kansas State take on a formidable out of conference foe, they are almost always headed to Manhattan. The fact the Wildcats are headed to South Florida has everything to do with scheduling that took place between Snyder’s gigs as head coach. When asked about it earlier this week, he seemed perturbed that KSU couldn’t find a way out of this match up with UM.

This isn’t an Xs and Os piece as much as gauging motivation and preparation. Miami has the horses to beat a good, not great, Kansas State team. Just follow the blueprint used against Ohio State last week.

A solid ground game with Lamar Miller and Mike James. A carefully-designed game plan tailored to Jacory Harris – focused on shorter passes, with some downfield chances (and the belief that issues with late throws last week have been fixed). Swarming defense. Solid offensive line play. Less penalties and turnovers. Smart football.

Mix in more Travis Benjamin, as well as getting Stephen Morris some reps and this can be another breakout game for the Canes as the key is preparation and execution. Here’s to believing in Coach Golden and staff until they give reason not to. The new regime, new-look Canes come out ready and take care of business.

Miami 31, Kansas State 13



4 thoughts on “Miami Welcomes Kansas State To Sun Life

  1. I think this game will tell us more about the U than OSU did last week. Can’t wait to see how they respond after a big win to a team that hasn’t just lost it’s coach and QB, dealt with off-the-field issues and suspensions, and has been known to occasionally sneak up on (and whack) a favored opponent…. i.e. Texas.

    Go canes

  2. Chris – good analysis. I think you’re right that big wins are usually followed by letdowns, going back to 2005. I want to believe that the Canes will come ready to play, but i’m not going to buy into the hype until i’ve seen meaningful, substantive change in play on a consistent basis. Until then, I expect another blown opportunity. Look for turnovers and poor run defense to cost Miami a close game. Canes lose 24-21.

    Hope I’m wrong.

  3. Very disappointing. Bottom line is I just don’t think we’re tough or nasty enough, especially both lines. We got no pressure on the QB all game unless we blitzed with LBs. We had the their QB in 3rd and long on several occassions only to let him run right up the gut to move the chains. How do we leave that many running lanes open? On offense, we can’t push guys off the ball to get 2 yards at the end? We just never seem to be able to beat the guy in front of us on either line. Another frustrating loss.

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