There was no way that anyone outside of a few people thought that the Miami Hurricanes were going to have a successful season. The Hurricanes last year finished with a 6-7 record and limped their way into being bowl eligible. Then we all got to see the departure of key impact players to the NFL such as Duke Johnson, Anthony Chickillo, Ereck Flowers, Phillip Dorsett and Denzel Perryman.
However, for everyone that thought Miami would have a down year because of the talent that they lost on their team are now looking back and feeling foolish. Due to the fact that Miami got a 27-21 victory against Virginia in their homecoming game, they captured their sixth win of the season and are already bowl eligible. For as dark as the season has been with the events such as Artie Burns mother passing away, losing head coach Al Golden in the middle of the season, getting curb stomped by Clemson for the worst loss in school history and almost having a debate whether the ACC should overturn the victory against Duke, Miami stands with a 6-3 record and they look like one of the teams who potentially could still win the ACC Coastal.
Winning the coastal isn’t the goal, but winning the coastal only puts Miami in a position to compete for the ACC Championship, where they would have a rematch against Clemson. During an interview with the Miami Herald, Hurricanes interim head coach Larry Scott said this.
“That has always been our goal from day one. “That will continue to be our focus each and every week.’’
As with anything for the Hurricanes, the road won’t be easy for them to win the coastal division. Miami still has to play North Carolina who stands at 8-1, they have to play against Pittsburgh who’s also 6-3, and both of those games are on the road. Their last home game is against Georgia Tech who has a 3-6 record and stands in dead last in the ACC but that school traditionally always gives Miami a headache. If Miami can win their remaining three games and have North Carolina take an additional loss then they’ll have the rematch everyone in South Florida has been anticipating to see.
What’s been great to see is the development of two players particularly on the offense. Freshman tight end David Njoku looks like the next star at tight end for the Miami Hurricanes. Kellen Winslow was on campus while he was being inducted to the Miami Hurricanes Hall of Fame and he himself spoke glowingly about Njoku.
One of his catches against Virgina was a 58-yard touchdown run. In the last 20 years, there are only three other tight ends that have caught 58-yard catches, Clive Walford who now plays for the Oakland Raiders, Dedrick Epps who played in the NFL, and Kellen Winslow Jr who’s been a Pro Bowler player at the NFL level. So you can see the type of company that his name is associated with.
In addition, everyone has been waiting for Stacy Coley to have a breakout season and the proof this year is in the pudding, Coley is a monster. On the year, the 6’1 slot receiver has 33 catches for 486 yards and three touchdowns. In his last game against Virginia, Coley finished with an incredible game of seven catches for 132 yards and one touchdown. His longest touchdown was 67 yards, and he finished the game with an 18.9 yards per catch average. Coley is known for his blazing speed and Hurricanes fans have been delighted to see his game back to the level they’ve been used to. This season, Coley is on pace to have more catches and receiving yards than his last two years combined.
Brad Kaaya pass complete to Stacy Coley for 67 yds for a TD Video – via @ESPN App https://t.co/XKjgsV6Pnd
— CaneGang_ (@j_spur2306) November 8, 2015
Furthemore, having a quarterback like Brad Kaaya to sling the football is a blessing. During an interview with the Miami Herald, Scott said this as well speaking about Kaaya.
“He walks into the huddle and you go, ‘There’s our guy.’ It’s just like any other organization. When the leader walks into the room, it gets everybody’s attention. It relaxed everybody, just from the standpoint of, ‘We got our leader back.’ They knew he was going to be prepared and they were going to get his best today.”
Having a team that has weapons like Coley and Njoku is more of a blessing. But having a team that plays with heart, passion and one that understands how to fight when the odds aren’t in their favor is a true godsend. It’s those reasons why fans should be excited for the last stretch of the season. Miami simply needs a three-game winning streak and they can find themselves competing in the ACC Championship game.
Get it done.
D’Joumbarey A. Moreau covers sports in Miami-Dade & Broward County. You can follow him on Twitter@DJoumbarey.
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