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Miami defensive end Chad Thomas (left) and Duke quarterback Daniel Jones (right). (Source: Getty Images)

Preview: No. 14 Miami Hurricanes vs. Duke

The No. 14 University of Miami Hurricanes will travel to Duke to take on the Blue Devils Friday at Wallace Wade Stadium.

Kickoff: 7 p.m.

TV Broadcast: ESPN

Weather Forecast: 70 degrees; Clear (Precipitation: 0 percent)

Miami Hurricanes

Head Coach: Mark Richt (2nd season)
Record: 2-0 (0-0 ACC)
Ranked: No. 14 (AP); No. 13 (Coaches Poll)
Top Players: RB Mark Walton; WR Ahmmon Richards; LB Shaquille Quarterman; LB Zach McCloud; LB Michael Pinckney; TE Christopher Herndon IV; DT Kendrick Norton; DT RJ McIntosh; DE Chad Thomas; DE Joe Jackson; QB Malik Rosier; OL Navaughn Donaldson; WR Braxton Berrios; WR Darrell Langham.

Duke Blue Devils

Head Coach: David Cutcliffe (9th season)
Record: 4-0 (1-0 ACC)
Top Players: QB Daniel Jones; LB Ben Humphreys; WR T.J. Rahming; RB Shaun Wilson; RB Brittain Brown; LB Joe Giles-Harris; DT Mike Ramsay.

The Storyline
Miami opens up ACC play with a trip to Durham, North Carolina to face the undefeated Blue Devils on a Friday night. The Hurricanes had to rally from a halftime deficit to defeat Toledo this past week and should face an even tougher test with Duke this week.

The big storyline wasn’t the rally, it was the health of Canes running back Mark Walton – who injured his ankle against the Rockets. Walton went on to finish the game – even recording his first career 200-yard rushing game – but he played with what he called “a pain like he’s never felt before”. Walton and his coaches have confirmed he will play, but he probably won’t be 100 percent.

Many will recall the ending on UM’s 2015 win over Duke, an eight-lateral play that was easily one of the most bizarre and awesome plays in college football history, but both teams are different and both teams are in better places now.

Duke has one of the country’s best point-differentials – averaging just over 40 points per game while allowing just 15. The Blue Devils have strong leaders on both sides of the ball with quarterback Daniel Jones and linebacker Joe Giles-Harris.

While Miami is the only ranked team in this matchup, fans should expect a tight game between a pair of the ACC’s top teams.

Key Injuries
+ Miami running back Mark Walton (ankle) is PROBABLE
+ Miami wide receiver Ahmmon Richards (hamstring) is PROBABLE
+ Miami linebacker Jamie Gordinier (knee) is OUT for the season
+ Duke running back Brittain Brown (shoulder) is PROBABLE
+ Duke linebacker Ben Humphreys (leg) is PROBABLE
+ Duke offensive lineman Will Taylor (leg) is OUT for the season

Miami Keys To Victory
+ Stay ahead of the chains – Miami has to get productive yardage on first and second downs as to stay away from third and long situations.

+ Put pressure on Daniel Jones. The Hurricanes have to generate pressure on Duke’s athletic quarterback with their defensive front seven. Miami’s defense hasn’t created the kind of pressure that many expected it would up to this point in the season – that must change.

+ Take shots in the passing game. Because of his injury, opposing teams are going to be keying on Mark Walton and they will be looking to test the stability of his ankles with sweeping tackles to his lower body. Quarterback Malik Rosier will have to take advantage of the loaded box looks that he’ll see and take shots downfield.

They Said It
Duke head coach David Cutcliffe…
“Miami will be the most talented team we play this season. This is about focus & team. You win games like this as a team.”

Duke’s South Florida Connections
Terrell Lucas (90) – Sophomore defensive end went to Miramar High School.

Edgar Cerenord (92) – Redshirt junior defensive lineman went to Plantation American Heritage.

Nicodem Pierre (6) – Redshirt junior running back went to Miami Coral Reef High School. He played quarterback for the Barracudas before switching positions in college.

Chris Taylor (82) – Redshirt junior wide receiver played at Nova Southeastern University School.

Trevon Lee (84) – Redshirt junior wide receiver played at Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons.

Score Projections
Miami (-5.5) over Duke

J.T. Wilcox = Miami 33, Duke 27

About J.T. Wilcox

J.T. Wilcox is an award-winning sports journalist that has worked in South Florida for more than a decade. He authors "The Bald Predictions" Blog and "The Baldcast" Podcast. J.T. Wilcox joined the Football Hotbed staff in 2017.

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