After the clock struck 0:00 in Hard Rock Stadium, the Miami Hurricanes found themselves still undefeated and in the drivers seat for the ACC coastal division. The win in the final seconds sunk Georgia Tech and moved the Canes to 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the ACC. The win also vaulted Miami into the top ten in the AP for the first time this season, moving up from 11 to 8th in the nation. In the Coaches Poll, Miami is not ranked 7th. The question now is whether the Canes are legit.
This is two weeks in a row where Miami needed a last minute drive to win the game. Obviously at this point we can conclude that the team has a lot of guts, especially QB Malik Rosier. I think it’s abundantly clear that Rosier is the all out leader of this team. You can even tell by his body language on the sideline. He doesn’t seem to be rattled when he makes a bad throw or misses a read or has a bad series. He just goes back out there and hits the reset button. Clearly he enjoys the pressure too as we have seen some amazing plays.
In the final minutes of the Georgia Tech game, the offensive scheme completely changed, which is a testament to the coaching staff as well as Rosier’s ability to execute. The Canes moved the ball down the field using primarily bubble screens, which is something they didn’t do much of the entire game. It worked obviously as the Canes kicked the field goal to seal the victory.
Another thing to look at was how the Miami defense which got gashed for 172 yard in the first half, pretty much allowed only half that input in the second half. Despite creating no turnovers, the defense made it difficult for the Yellow Jackets to move the ball, making key adjustments at the half to keep from giving up long drives. Again another sign of not only a well coached team, but players who are able to make these adjustments.
Let’s also be real and mention that Miami was missing five key starters, two of which were DBs who are always key with defending the triple option. On the offensive side missing their best receiver, best RB and arguably their best offensive lineman, and yet were still able to come up with a win. Again that speaks to the depth, but also mental toughness of this team as a whole. They aren’t willing to make excuses.
If we are looking at talent alone, Miami could indeed run the table. On paper at least none of their opponents are as talented as they are. The biggest challenge will likely be Virginia Tech and then Notre Dame to follow, but those are both home games.
Are the Canes legit? Right now the answer would be yes. Can they run the table and put themselves in position to make the College Football Playoff? That’s certainly possible too. They do posses a lot of the keys needed for this. We know they have an excellent coaching staff as has been proven in the past two weeks. We know they have a QB with ice water in his veins, which is always a huge advantage in late game situations. We already know they have one of the nation’s best defenses, which certainly helps anyone looking to win a conference title. We know they have mental toughness as they were able to overcome a bizarre schedule due to Hurricane Irma.
The intangibles are there for this to be a special season for Miami. A 5-0 start is not bad. A ten game win streak going back to last year, second in the national behind USF not bad either. Now they just have to remain focus and take care of business against Syracuse this week.