Miami, FL- The No. 8 Miami Hurricanes (5-0, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) are showing the nation that Hurricane football is back on the map and a contender for the College Football Playoff. The Syracuse Orange (4-3, 2-1) are coming off one of the biggest wins in program history, upsetting the defending CFP National Champion, No. 2 Clemson Tigers 27-24. The Hurricanes are currently on a 10-game winning streak from last season and are looking make it 11 against the Orange this Saturday, at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.
It will be the the first meeting between the two schools since 2003, back when they were in the Big East conference. Miami owns the series 15-7, including a five-game winning streak from 1999 to 2003. The last time Syracuse won against Miami was when a quarterback named (future NFL) Donovan McNabb helped lead the Orange to a 66-13 victory in 1998 and won their second consecutive Big East Conference. The Hurricanes last victory against the Orange was a score of 17-10 in the Orange Bowl Stadium.
If there’s one takeaway that happened last week game with the Orange upsetting Clemson, it’s that the odds do not mean anything to Syracuse. The Orange come into this game as a two-touchdown underdogs, whereas the week before against Clemson, they were a thirty-point underdog.
Miami Hurricanes head coach Mark Right said, “obviously what happened last Friday was pretty remarkable. When you think about what happened the year prior – I think they lost 54-0 to Clemson – then Clemson comes to their house and they come out with a victory, it’s just so impressive to have that kind of turnaround in that short of a time. Coach Dino Babers is doing a superb job offensively, defensively, special teams…very well-coached team.”
The Miami defense knows they will be facing an up-tempo offense that averages over 460 yards per game, but also going up against one of the worst offensive lines in the ACC. The Orange gave up six sacks to Clemson last week. The Miami offense has been averaging over 470 yards per game and both teams are averaging over 30 points per game. Syracuse senior quarterback Eric Dungey leads the ACC in completions per game, has over 2,083 passing and over 386 rushing yards on the season. Miami quarterback Malik Rosier has 1,371 passing yards and junior running back Mark Walton 428 yards rushing on the season.
Both teams have similarities in scoring points this season. This game will be a testament to see which defenses can stop the other. Syracuse has proven it can compete and beat the big dogs in the ACC, but they have not won back-to-back games against ranked opponents since 1983. The last two victories for the Hurricanes have come down to the wire, 24-20 against FSU and 25-24 against Georgia Tech. The Hurricanes will need to have dominate performance in this game, not only make another statement for the College Football Playoff committee, but make sure they do not give the Orange a chance to stay in this game. If the Orange offensive can put up points and stay in the game by the 4th quarter, they will have a chance to do something they never have done in program history and that is to have two wins against top 10 opponents back to back games. Two old Big East rivals collide, Miami Hurricanes vs. Syracuse Orange this Saturday at 3:30 pm est on ESPN.