Duke vs. Miami Preview
Miami, FL - The best Miami can hope for now is its first 10-win season since 2003.
The No. 21 Hurricanes look to bounce back from their third loss as they play their home finale Saturday against surprising Duke.
Oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGLOBAL.com have made Miami –19.5 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 70% of bets for this game have been placed on Miami –19.5 (View College Football bet percentages).
Miami (7-3, 4-3 ACC) had its hopes of reaching the conference title game dashed when Georgia Tech clinched the Coastal Division crown with a 49-10 rout at Duke (5-5, 3-3) last weekend. Not far away and a few hours later, the Hurricanes fell in their visit to Tobacco Road with a 33-24 loss at North Carolina.
That leaves the Hurricanes fighting for a lesser bowl when they try to improve to 5-0 all-time in ACC play against the Blue Devils.
"Our next game is on senior day and our focus has to be on Duke and having seniors go out with a win at home," coach Randy Shannon said. "That's our biggest focus this week and we'll start with that."
Another focus will be getting Jacory Harris to cut down on his mistakes. Harris has a Football Bowl Subdivision-high 16 interceptions, including a career-high four last week against the Tar Heels.
He also had a career-high 50 pass attempts with 28 completions, one touchdown and 319 yards in the loss.
"We don't blame Jacory at all for that loss," Shannon said. "It was a total team effort. We had some plays on defense that we could have held them on, a couple of plays on punt returns that if guys stay on their blocks, we probably could have had touchdown opportunities. For us as a team, we blame ourselves."
Miami teammates chose to defend Harris, but the sophomore did not agree. He also refused to cite a sore throwing hand and arm as excuses for his performance.
"Without me making those mental mistakes," he said, "we wouldn't be in this situation."
In last year's 49-31 victory at Duke, Harris threw a career-best four touchdowns and was picked off twice as he completed 18 of 28 passes for 185 yards. He also ran 10 times for a career-high 53 yards and one score.
The Blue Devils are an improved team from last season's 4-8 squad as they seek their first bowl berth since the 1995 All-American Bowl. Duke, though, has lost two straight and must win its final two games to become bowl-eligible.
Thaddeus Lewis become Duke's all-time leader in completions by breaking Ben Bennett's 26-year-old school record of 825, but little else went right last weekend. The Blue Devils grabbed a 10-0 lead before Georgia Tech scored seven unanswered touchdowns.
Lewis completed 22 of 35 passes for 212 yards, one touchdown and one interception one week after he failed to lead the Blue Devils into the end zone in a 19-6 loss to the Tar Heels.
"We have to get these guys together and rally," Lewis said. "It's not over. We still have two games left, and we have a great opportunity ahead of us. We obviously have to have a short-term memory and keep moving."
Coach David Cutcliffe said Monday that offensive guard Mitchell Lederman and backup quarterback Sean Renfree are out for the year. Lederman started seven of nine games at left guard while Renfree tore the ACL in his right knee in the second half last week in relief of Lewis.
The Hurricanes, who were ranked as high as No. 8 this year, don't have much sympathy for the Blue Devils' plight.
"Our goals are still high around here," Shannon said. "We have two games left here. We can't sit back and sulk and feel bad for ourselves."
Posted: 11/17/09 7:30PM ET