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Miami must bring their A game when it comes to containing Hendon Hooker.
Miami sits at 6-1, and with four games to go they have a chance to have their 1st 10 win season since 2017. The Canes came from behind in rousing fashion to knock off NC St 44-41 on Friday night and will face Virginia Tech Saturday at Noon in Blacksburg VA. The Hokies have been very up and down all season long and are coming off a stunning loss to Liberty. Virginia Tech has historically brought their A game when the Hurricanes come to town so Miami will need to match the intensity.
Miami leads the all-time series 22-15 but VT won the most recent meeting 42-35 last season in Miami.
Hendon Hooker 65-98 870 yards 7 TDs 3 INTs
Khalil Herbert 96 carries 803 yards 6 TDs (hurt against Liberty)
Tre Turner 23 catches 344 yards 1 TD
D’Eriq King 143-224 1831 yards 16 TDs 4 INTs
Cam’Ron Harris 81 carries 408 yards 5 TDs
Mike Harley 35 catches 497 yards 5 TDs
Matchup to Watch
Miami has historically struggled with dual threat QBs who can run and beat you with their arm, and Hendon Hooker fits exactly that description. Hooker burst onto the scene one year ago against Miami when he accounted for 4 TDs and 260 total yards from scrimmage. At 6’4” and 228lbs, Hooker is a load in the RPO game, and the Hokies will implement that quite a bit. Miami must get stellar play from their LBs and will most likely have to send some controlled pressure to make Hooker uncomfortable. Miami has struggled at LB all season long with miss fits in the running game and lackluster play guarding TEs and backs. One year ago the Hokies ran multiple TE delays to wide open players as the Canes LBs kept misreading the play. Hooker is finding his groove after early season injury but could be without RB Khalil Herbert who suffered a hamstring injury in the loss to Liberty.
Can Miami get a solid game out of Zach McCloud, Bradley Jennings Jr. or maybe Corey Flagg Jr. and Sam Brooks Jr.? These kids will have to bring their A game to slow down an explosive Virginia Tech offense. Miami should be able to score at will against a lackluster defense but Hooker must be contained or it’ll be a long game. This is a game where the LBs can make everyone forget about the less than spectacular play throughout the season if they slow down Hooker and the VT running attack.
I predict a shootout, but one that the Canes should win 38-35.