The Miami Hurricanes swagger has partially come back after their primetime win over Virginia Tech.
But that swagger will be tested once again as the No. 23 Canes hit the road to Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta, Ga., to play Georgia Tech on ESPN tonight.
The Hurricanes (7-3, 4-2) enter this week having taken over sole possession of first place in the ACC Coastal Division. Georgia Tech (7-3, 4-3) sits behind the Hurricanes in second place.
If the Canes win out, they will head to Tampa on Dec. 6 for their first ever ACC championship game.
Still, the Hurricanes have something to prove.
“We still feel it’s us against the world,” junior running back Javarris James said. “People look at us, some at the beginning of the season and thought we’d have a disappointing season. We just worry about these guys in the locker room. We’re not going to get too relaxed. We realize that the way we got here was working and finishing, and we have to continue to do that.”
It has been tough for Miami over the past two and a half years, as they missed out on the last 41 Top 25 polls. Miami has not been ranked since a Sept. 16, 2006, loss to Louisville, 31-7. Prior to the Louisville loss, the then-No. 15 Hurricanes had been ranked each week since a Dec. 4, 1999, win over Temple.
While Hurricane nation is feeling the excitement of being ranked, head coach Randy Shannon downplays the significance of the ranking, even after the long absence.
“I don’t look at it,” Shannon said. “That’s good, no big deal. We have a game we have to win. I really don’t look at it that way. I really don’t look at it.”
The Hurricanes are coming off a 16-14 win over Virginia Tech in their home finale, running their winning streak to five games. This is the longest winning streak since 2005, when the Hurricanes won eight in a row.
Freshman defensive end Marcus Robinson received his second career start and finished with three sacks. Redshirt freshman quarterback Robert Marve completed 7-of-16 passes for 121 yards and ran for 44 yards.
Marve is looking forward to the challenge that awaits him when the Canes face off against the Yellow Jackets.
“It’s going to be a crazy atmosphere,” Marve said. “We’re going to have fun and get ready for the game. It’s another great defense on a big stage. We’re excited about what position we’re in now in the ACC.”
In the words of freshman quarterback Jacory Harris, “That Georgia Tech defense is really young but can play. They’re an awesome defense and have a lot of talent all around the board. We have to just execute.”
After holding Virginia Tech to only 59 yards in the second half, the Hurricane defense is now ranked 10th in the nation. The Canes have allowed just one touchdown in the second half of the last three games. This week, Miami will see the triple option that Georgia Tech features.
The last time Shannon faced a triple option offense was back in 1991. He has plenty of faith that if his team plays disciplined and executes the right assignments, the triple option will not be a factor.
In the end, however they do it, the Hurricanes simply look to walk out of Georgia with a win.
“We just want to show the rest of the nation what we’ve got,” James said. “We want to win out.”
Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field:
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