Week 3 Roundup: Is “The U” back?

Danny Coale's 80-yard catch against Nebraska set up the game-winning score in Virginia Tech's 16-15 win — and a big showdown with resurgent Miami next Saturday.

Danny Coale's 80-yard catch against Nebraska set up the game-winning score in Virginia Tech's 16-15 win — and a big showdown with resurgent Miami next Saturday. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Since its 33-17 dismantling of Georgia Tech on Thursday night, Miami has stirred up talk about whether “The U” is back in championship form.

Through their first two games, the Hurricanes have been the most impressive team in the ACC. The offense has been firing on all cylinders, and after a shootout against Florida State in the season opener, the defense effectively shut down the Yellow Jackets’ option attack. The national press has certainly taken notice, moving Miami up to No. 9 in the most recent Associated Press poll.

But let’s also keep some perspective. Florida State was a dropped pass in the end zone away from winning the opener, and Georgia Tech was playing its third game in 12 days. Miami also has two huge games coming up against conference favorite Virginia Tech and national title contender Oklahoma.

The Miami Herald’s Greg Cote gives a pretty good summary of where Miami football is at the moment:

[T]here is early speculation about a national championship and even a Heisman for [QB Jacory] Harris. The key word there is “early.” Let’s see how Harris and UM get through the next two games, at Virginia Tech and vs. Oklahoma, before we start clanging those bells. Say this, though: Miami has put itself in a position to think national title and Heisman.

Canes’ strong start also has brought on much talk about whether UM football is “back.” What do we mean by that? To me, the program will be “back” when every opponent on the schedule seems beatable, when the ACC crown is in play every year. and when UM is a top-10 fixture in the national-title hunt most every season.

Game of the Week

Virginia Tech 16, Nebraska 15. The 19th-ranked Huskers more or less controlled this game, but the Hokies’ defense held Nebraska out of the end zone. Down 5 late, QB Tyrod Taylor hit Danny Coale for an 80-yard completion, setting up the game-winning score with 21 seconds left.

Player of the Week

Jacory Harris, Miami. The Hurricanes’ quarterback might be a permanent fixture here if he keeps putting up those Heisman Trophy-like numbers each week. Harris looked even better against Georgia Tech than he did against Florida State, completing 20 of 25 passes for 270 yards and three touchdowns.

Team on the Rise

Florida State. It’s hard to believe the FSU team that demolished No. 7 BYU 54-28 on Saturday is the same one that almost lost at home to a I-AA team last week. The Seminoles look like a legitimate conference title contender as long as they don’t get caught playing to the level of their competition again.

Team on the Decline

Boston College. The Eagles managed just 55 yards of total offense in a 25-7 loss to Clemson that took nearly five hours to complete because of lightning delays. To BC’s credit, the final margin could have been a lot worse — the Tigers had to settle for six field goals in this one.

Extra Points

  • After two lackluster weeks in nonconference play, the ACC finally got a couple of signature wins over ranked opponents thanks to Virginia Tech and Florida State. Add North Carolina’s 31-17 victory over a tough East Carolina team, and the weekend was, on balance, a good one for the conference.
  • We’re admittedly a little biased at IoT, but congratulations to N.C. State QB Russell Wilson for breaking the NCAA record for consecutive passes without throwing an interception. Wilson has now thrown 329 straight passes without a pick and, so far, has shown few signs of taking a step back.
  • Following a 32-31 home loss to Middle Tennessee, Maryland’s Ralph Friedgen has joined Virginia’s Al Groh on the coaching hot seat — assuming he wasn’t already there.
  • As we mentioned during Thursday’s live blog, Georgia Tech looked physically and mentally spent against Miami. The Jackets need the extra couple of days of rest that they’re getting to prepare for the Tar Heels.
  • VT RB Ryan Williams appears to be a more-than-capable replacement for Darren Evans, who the Hokies lost for the season with a torn ACL. The freshman rushed for 107 yards on 21 carries against Nebraska and is averaging 6.8 yards per carry through three games.

3 Responses to Week 3 Roundup: Is “The U” back?

  1. James C. says:

    I’ve been surprised at how poorly conditioned GT is. It seems like in every game I’ve seen them in this season, even prior to their third-in-12, they looked gassed before the end of the third quarter. Nesbitt in particular looks like he’s dragging well before crunch time in the fourth.

    Something to keep an eye on the rest of the season.

  2. […] against a tired Georgia Tech team, launching a round of “Is The U Back?” stories. Like this one. Here’s hoping they’re more spot-on than those “The magic is back at Notre […]

  3. […] 21-20 and improving to 3-1 — all against ranked teams. I’m still not ready to declare “The U” is back, but the ‘Canes should be a factor nationally deep into the […]

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