Midseason report: Miami

October, 11, 2011
10/11/11
8:30
AM ET
MIAMI

Record: 2-3, 0-2 ACC

There was talk of the death penalty before the season even began.

The only thing that appears to have flatlined, though, are Miami’s chances of winning the Coastal Division this year.

First-year coach Al Golden walked into a mess at Miami, and the troubles have only been compounded by the Canes’ winless start in conference play. What looked like a season filled with promise and talent quickly turned into survival mode after Miami’s NCAA investigation became the center of college football news this summer. With eight players suspended for the season opener against Maryland, Miami couldn’t find a way to beat the Terps and entered the bye week already having abandoned Stephen Morris in favor of veteran Jacory Harris as the starting quarterback. A 24-6 win against then-No. 17 Ohio State in Week 3 made Miami look like a contender again. Five of the suspended players had returned, the Canes played a complete game, and Miami looked capable of a special first season under Golden.

And then they flopped against Kansas State.

While the loss to K-State doesn’t look so bad anymore, the value of the win over Ohio State has since decreased.

Miami’s inconsistency has been troublesome to Golden this season, and a significant amount of injuries have kept the defense from repeating a strong performance against the Buckeyes. Miami’s run defense has been one of its glaring weaknesses, but the Canes managed an all-out effort performance on the road against Virginia Tech in the league’s most exciting game of the first half. It still wasn't enough to win.

Miami was picked by the media to finish second in the Coastal Division standings this year, but the Canes have yet to win their first ACC game.

Not the kind of bienvenido a Miami Al Golden was expecting.

Offensive MVP: RB Lamar Miller: He ran for 166 yards against Virginia Tech, the fifth-straight game he eclipsed the 100-yard mark. He became just the fourth Hurricane to accomplish the feat, joining Edgerrin James (7), Willis McGahee (6) and Clinton Portis (6). He also caught his first career touchdown pass against the Hokies. Miller leads the ACC with 135.4 yards per game, and is averaging 7.2 yards per carry. He has six total touchdowns and is third in the ACC in all-purpose yards with 170.8 per game.

Defensive MVP: LB Sean Spence: He is fourth in the ACC in tackles for loss with seven, and is second in the ACC with 10.2 tackles per game. He also has two sacks and one forced fumble. He had 13 tackles at Virginia Tech, the second time in the past four games he reached double-digit tackles.

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