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Final: Miami 49, Duke 14

11/5/2011

It's time to start talking about Florida State.

Miami quickly put its home loss to Virginia in the rearview mirror with a 49-14 drubbing of Duke, but the test now is if Miami can play that well two weeks in a row. Miami's offense was unstoppable against Duke, racking up 467 yards, 265 on the ground. Lamar Miller scored twice. Mike James scored twice. And Jacory Harris threw three touchdown passes to three different players.

Can the Canes keep that pace against Florida State's dominant defense? In Tallahassee?

One of Miami's biggest problems this year (much like the rest of the league) is playing with any consistency. Coach Al Golden will be the first to tell you his team has yet to get the same effort in back-to-back games. Bowl eligibility shouldn't be a problem for Miami at this point, as the Canes have three more chances to hit the six-win mark with games against FSU, South Florida and BC remaining, but the Noles will be their biggest obstacle.

For Duke, a team devastated by close losses in recent weeks, this was a reality check. Those within the program were so sure that they were on the brink of turning the corner. And now this. To become bowl eligible, Duke must now win out at Virginia, against Georgia Tech, and on the road at North Carolina. It's not impossible, but it will be if the Blue Devils don't play more like they did against Virginia Tech and less like they did against Miami. Duke has returned to its familiar place at the bottom of the Coastal Division standings, but Duke still has a chance to finish strong. How the Blue Devils handle this loss will determine whether or not they stand a chance on the road at Virginia.