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Preview: No. 14 Miami Hurricanes vs. Toledo

The No. 14 University of Miami Hurricanes will host Toledo Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium.

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m.

Weather Forecast: 89 degrees with scattered thunderstorms (Precipitation: 60%)

Miami Hurricanes
Head Coach: Mark Richt (2nd season)
Record: 1-0 (0-0 ACC)
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.

Toledo Rockets
Head Coach: Jason Candle (2nd season)
Record: 3-0 (0-0 MAC)
Top Players: QB Logan Woodside; WR Cody Thompson; RB Terry Swanson; Diontae Johnson; LB Ja’Waun Woodley; PK Jameson Vest.

The Storyline
The University of Miami returns to the field after a long layoff due to the impact felt statewide by Hurricane Irma. The Hurricanes had its game against Arkansas State (Sept. 9th) canceled and its game against Florida State (Sept. 16th) moved to a later date.

Toledo has been one of the country’s highest-scoring offenses this season (46 PPG) and is led by senior quarterback Logan Woodside.

UM, which practiced in Orlando, Florida this past week, will have to show that its ACC pedigree and lean on the natural talents of its playmakers to avoid being upset by a confident Toledo squad.

Key Injuries
Miami wide receiver Ahmmon Richards remains QUESTIONABLE with a hamstring injury.

Miami defensive end Demetrius Jackson is OUT with an undisclosed injury.

Miami Keys To Victory
+ Run The Ball: Mark Walton will always be among the top five best players on the field anytime he steps on the grass. Miami would be wise – especially if the weather takes a wet turn – to put the ball in his hands as much as possible.

+ Pressure Woodside: Although Toledo has put up decent rushing numbers, the Rockets want to come out and spread the ball around through the air. It’ll be up to the Canes defense to not only get sacks on Woodside, but also create havoc in the pocket and make him uncomfortable – which will aid the UM secondary as it tries to keep up with receivers.

+ Strike First: Miami cannot allow the Rockets to gain confidence by allowing the score to remain close throughout. The Hurricanes need to set an early tone with productive offensive drives and physical defense. If Toledo gets a sense that it can “play with Miami”, momentum can turn and the Canes could find themselves in a tough fight.

They Said It
Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz…
“It’s going to be 3:30, and I’m sure Toledo will have concerns over that because they won’t be used to the heat. But you can’t simulate game day and you can’t simulate game day tempo. This is where our depth matters. Toledo has a very fast-paced offense. They’re going to come after us. We have the ability to play multiple people at every position, which is going to help us regardless of if we have played or have not played over the last couple weeks.”

Toledo’s South Florida Connections
Kedonis Haslem (69) – freshman offensive lineman played at Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas and is the son of Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem.

David Hood (96) – freshman defensive tackle played at Miami Carol City High School.

Neru N’Shaka (15) – freshman wide receiver played at Hallandale High School.

Desmond Phillips (10) – sophomore receiver played at Miami Jackson High School and was a University of Miami commit for three weeks in 2015 before de-committing and choosing Toledo.

Keelen Roberts (32) – freshman cornerback played at Miami Carol City High School.

Score Projection
Miami Hurricanes (-12) over Toledo

J.T. Wilcox = Miami 30, Toledo 21

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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