Photo courtesy of Miami athletics
If ever there was a statement game for Miami to assert itself as truly “back”, it’s this weekend.
The seventh-ranked Hurricanes will make the trip to Memorial Stadium to take on No. 1 Clemson on Saturday. The Tigers have won the ACC in each of the last five seasons, reaching the College Football Playoff each time.
At 3-0 on the season, Miami is two weeks removed from a 52-10 beatdown of rival Florida State. Fueling Miami this season has been impact transfers. That includes quarterback D’Eriq King, who has yet to throw an interception. Through three games, King has passed for 736 yards, rushed for 157 yards and has seven total touchdowns compared to no interceptions.
Behind King is a deep stable of backs, led by Cam’Ron Harris. Harris has 311 yards rushing an an ACC-high five touchdown runs for a Miami team that averages 232 yards per game on the ground. Tight end Brevin Jordan is one of the nation’s best and enters Saturday with team-highs of 15 catches, 212 yards and three touchdowns.
The only quarterback in the ACC with a higher passer rating than King is Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence. Through three games, Lawrence has 848 yards passing and seven touchdowns. Running back Travis Etienne has more than 400 yards of total offense through three games and three total touchdowns. Amari Rogers is the top receiver for the Tigers with 206 yards and three touchdown receptions.
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Defensively, Clemson is giving up just 12 points per game although Virginia had some success in last week’s 41-23 victory for the Tigers. Clemson is tied for second in the ACC with 13 sacks, led by Myles Murphy’s two. Tyler Davis, who is a load in the middle, will be back for Saturday’s contest. Baylon Spector leads Clemson with 20 tackles.
Even without Greg Rousseau, the Miami defensive line is one of the best in the nation. Transfers Quincy Roche and Jaelan Phillips have made huge impacts so far. Senior Zach McCloud leads the corps of linebackers for Miami while Amari Carter and Bubba Bolden are a hard-hitting tandem of safeties. Al Blades Jr. leads Miami with two interceptions on the young season.
As a whole, Miami leads the ACC in tackles for loss per game at more than 10.
The Hurricanes will look to be the first team to beat Clemson during the regular season since Oct. 7, 2017 when it was upset by Syracuse. The Tigers have not lost a home game since falling to Pittsburgh in November 2016.
Miami is 6-5 all-time against Clemson. Saturday’s contest begins at 7:30 p.m. ET and will air on ABC.
Prediction: Clemson 34, Miami 24
Other Games Across the State
No. 4 Florida (2-0) at No. 21 Texas A&M (1-1)
Saturday, Oct. 10 at 12 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher was 7-1 against Florida during his time at Florida State, but will face the No. 4 Gators for the first time at Texas A&M. Florida will look to start 3-0 for the second straight year.
Prediction: Florida 35, Texas A&M 30
Middle Tennessee (0-4) at Florida International (0-1)
Saturday, Oct. 10 at 4 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
Middle Tennessee is 0-4 for the first time since 2007. Florida International is looking to avoid a second straight 0-2 start. The home team has won the last three in the series.
Prediction: Florida International 34, Middle Tennessee 17
Florida Atlantic (1-0) at Southern Mississippi (1-3)
Saturday, Oct. 10 at 4 p.m. ET (Stadium)
Florida Atlantic and Southern Mississippi each got their first wins of the season last week. Nick Tronti accounted for three total touchdowns in his debut for the Owls. The Golden Eagles are currently giving up 40 points per game.
Prediction: Florida Atlantic 38, Southern Mississippi 26
East Carolina (0-2) at South Florida (1-2)
Saturday, Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
South Florida has managed a grand total of seven points in two games against FBS competition, but there is good news. East Carolina is giving up 50 points per game. The Bulls have won the last five in the series.
Prediction: South Florida 29, East Carolina 24
Florida State (1-2) at No. 5 Notre Dame (2-0)
Saturday, Oct. 10 at 7:30 p.m. (NBC)
Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis will make his first career start for the Seminoles on Saturday. Notre Dame has allowed just 13 points through two games. FSU has not defeated a top-5 team since 2014 when it defeated the Fighting Irish in Tallahassee.
Prediction: Notre Dame 41, Florida State 20
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1) at Chicago Bears (3-1)
Thursday, Oct. 8 at 8:20 p.m. ET (NFL Network/FOX)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ quarterback Tom Brady looked like his old self last week, throwing five touchdown passes as Tampa Bay overcame a 17-point deficit to beat the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chicago Bears rank in the top 10 in the NFL in both total and scoring defense. Tampa Bay hasn’t started 4-1 since 2005.
Prediction: Tampa Bay 23, Chicago 17
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3) at Houston Texans (0-4)
Sunday, Oct. 11 at 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
The Jacksonville Jaguars will face the Houston Texans in Houston’s first game post-Bill O’Brien. Both the Miami Dolphins and Cincinnati Bengals got their first wins of the year against the Jaguars. Houston will look to do likewise on Sunday.
Prediction: Houston 31, Jacksonville 24
Miami Dolphins (1-3) at San Francisco 49ers (2-2)
Sunday, Oct. 11 at 4:05 p.m. ET (CBS)
It’s unclear who will start for the San Francisco 49ers at quarterback on Sunday, but Ryan Fitzpatrick will remain under center for the Miami Dolphins. The 49ers are giving up the third fewest points per game in the NFL. Miami hasn’t won a game in the state of California since the 2017 opener against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Prediction: San Francisco 24, Miami 13