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Miami Hurricanes Get Set to Take on West Virginia Mountaineers in Russell Athletic Bowl

Ari Russell



(Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire)

Finally! Miami Hurricanes fans have some football to look forward to today. It has felt like six months since Miami ended the regular season on a four game winning streak. At 5:30pm ET in Camping World Stadium in Orlando, the Canes will tangle with the West Virginia Mountaineers in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

If your memory is still in tact, these two schools use to be in the Big East conference, but that was a distant memory. The last time these two teams squared off was on October 2, 2003, when the Canes squeaked by a 22-20 win. Thirteen years later the two former conference foes square off in Orlando. Mountaineers come in 10-2 and Miami 8-4.

This is a cool match up for many reasons. Let’s start with the Mountaineer offense which averaged over 500 yards per game, which was 12th best in the country. The Hurricanes have one of the better defenses, giving up around 350 yards per game, 27th in overall defense in the nation.

It will be interesting to see how the Canes handle the prolific Dana Holgorsen offense, which likes to move quickly and spread the ball around. It’s led by QB Skyler Howard who threw for 3194 yards 26TDs/10 INTs. He’s also a running threat running for 400 yards and 9Tds on the ground. RB Justin Crawford could also pose problems, he rushed for 1168 yards averaging 7.4 yards per carry. Cleary the Miami freshman linebackers, who have been studs the entire season, will have to step up big time against this back field, which is deadly.

For the Canes on offense, they will be led by QB Brad Kaaya, who has an up and down season, but settled in during the last four games. The Canes have a lot of offensive weapons too. RBs Mark Walton, Joe Yearby and Gus Edwards all have big play abilities. WRs. Ahmmon Richards and Stacey Coley make it very difficult to double team either wide out as both can burn you. TE David Njoku could indeed be the ex-factor in this game, as the redshirt sophomore TE has turned out to be one of the most difficult skills position players to handle in the nation. They just need to feed him the ball.

It should be a fun one in Orlando this evening. Also Canes fans will find out after the game whether Kaaya and Njoku will turn pro. Both players said they will make the announcement after the game and have left zero clue on their plans.  

Born in the Nation’s Capital, Washington D.C., Ari Russell watched the rise of the 1980’s Miami Hurricanes and knew that he had to be part of the “U” someday. After graduating from Coral Gables, Ari rose through the ranks of the former XM Satellite Radio and then Sirius/XM as college football executive producer. He later spent 2 seasons as the publisher of the website “Beyond U Sports” focusing on major college football/basketball. Ari brings a great perspective on everything Miami, including the Dolphins to F.F.I.

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