Hurricanes face adversity head on after Irma

Written by Derek Robbie
​Due to Hurricane Irma, the Miami Hurricanes were forced to take an extended break from football that lasted a total of 20 days. In addition to the 20-day break, the Canes had a nine-day period where they did not partake in any running, working out, or practicing at all. The breaks the Canes had to take is something that is completely unprecedented at any level of football.

Hurricane Irma caused Miami to cancel the scheduled game at Arkansas State on September 9, which was the first cancelled game due to weather in the program’s history. They also had to reschedule the game at Florida State from September 16 to October 7.  The rescheduling of the Florida State game is only the fifth game in the history of the program to be postponed, which is astonishing when one considers how vulnerable Miami and the rest of South Florida are to hurricanes.

In the first quarter, the Canes came out of the gate scoring a touchdown on their first drive, and kicking a field goal on their second drive of the day. By the second quarter it started to become obvious the Hurricanes were struggling with their conditioning and fitness, especially on defensive side of the ball. Defensive Coordinator Manny Diaz had this to say about the defense in the second quarter:

“We were having a hard time in the second quarter putting 11 functioning defensive football players on the field because getting back to just the conditioning level of being able to play in a game. We couldn’t think straight. We couldn’t do a base coverage. We could hardly do anything for probably the second half of the second quarter. A lot of that was self-inflicted because of staying on the field on 3rd downs.”

With all that being said, Miami was only down by 6 points going in to halftime. In the locker room at halftime, Defensive Coordinator Manny Diaz wrote on the white board “We’re gonna win this game!”. Coach Diaz knew with all the adversity the team had gone through over the past 20 days and the first half of the game that there was no way the team would allow themselves to be beaten by the Toledo Rockets.

After halftime, Miami started off well offensively by scoring two touchdowns in the third quarter. Their defense also started the second half well by not allowing the Rockets to score any points in the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter, the Canes’ offense kept finding it easier and easier to score as the game progressed. UM scored an impressive four touchdowns in the final quarter of the game to ensure the victory. Additionally, the Miami defense started to show signs of fatigue similar to what they showed in the second quarter. In the fourth quarter the defense gave up another two touchdowns, and probably was on the field longer than they would prefer.

With all being said, it will be interesting to see if this Miami win over the Toledo Rockets will be a defining moment for the Canes this season. Winning games such as this game after the adversity the Hurricanes had to go through can turn a whole season around. It will be intriguing to see if “The U” can carry the momentum and swagger they earned in this game to their matchup this Friday at Duke on September 29 at 7:00 p.m. ET. On paper Duke looks to be a more difficult matchup for the Canes compared to the Toledo game.

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