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Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Midseason report: Miami

By Heather Dinich


Record: 4-3, 3-1 ACC

Even Miami coach Al Golden called his team the “Cardiac Canes” at one point this season.

Miami came up short twice on the road against ranked opponents and was beaten soundly by both No. 21 Kansas State and No. 9 Notre Dame, but the Canes have still found a way to be relevant in the Coastal Division race. With almost an entirely new starting lineup on offense, the young Miami team beat Georgia Tech on the road in overtime, and beat NC State at home, 44-37, with 19 seconds remaining. Even with Saturday’s loss to North Carolina -- the Canes’ first ACC loss of the season -- Miami is still a contender in the division.

The season-opening 41-32 win at Boston College set the tone for the season (for both programs), and gave the Canes the much-needed cushion in ACC play and confidence heading into a September stretch that included three of four games on the road. To be able to win at BC and at Georgia Tech showed that the Canes were playing with heart and emotion, and buying in to Golden’s philosophies. The defense has been the team’s weakest link, as its inability to stop the run has caught up with it.

Offensive MVP: QB Stephen Morris. In his first season as full-time starter, Morris has been a game-changer. In the win over Georgia Tech, he passed for 436 yards and rallied the Hurricanes from a 36-19 deficit. Against NC State, he threw for an ACC-record 566 passing yards and five touchdowns. He ranks second among ACC quarterbacks in passing yards per game (284.4) and is second in total offense (296.6).

Defensive MVP: Eddie Johnson. He made his first career start at Kansas State and had seven tackles. He had seven tackles, two forced fumbles and a sack in the win over NC State. He also had a game-high nine tackles at Georgia Tech. He is second on the team with 39 tackles, including 5.5 for loss and one sack. He is tied for the ACC lead with three forced fumbles.