What’s On Tap: Miami Hurricanes vs Boston College Eagles

Miami is seeking their first win in Chestnut Hill since the 2001 season. (Robert Mayer-US PRESSWIRE)

The Miami Huuricas open the 2012 season this weekend against the Boston College Eagles in Chestnut Hill, MA. The last time Miami fans saw the Canes take the field, it was against the same opponent, resulting in a 24-17 loss in the final game of the 2011 season.

2012 vs 2011 Contest

Canes’ fans will find comfort in knowing a few faces are missing from this year’s match up:

UM QB Jacory Harris (4 INT): Harris threw four picks, one of which was returned for a touchdown, against Boston College last November.

BC LB Luke Kuechley (9 Tackles, TFL, INT, TD): The nation’s top linebacker escorted a Harris interception forty five yards into the end zone and recorded a tackle for a loss.

BC TE Chris Pantale (4 Rec. 70 yards, 2TD): The Senior tight end caught two touchdowns vs the Canes in 2011, and is out with a broken foot.

BC WR Bobby Swigert (4 Rec. 67 Yards): The Eagles leading receiver in 2011 injured his leg in practice this week and will be out for several weeks.

Meet Your 2012 Miami Hurricanes:

Miami may start up to eleven freshman and sophomores vs BC. Canes fans are going to be referring to a lot of players by their jersey numbers early on this season. By the final whistle, most of these numbers will turn into names. Some heroes, some goats. Either way, it’s about time we’re properly introduced.

Coach Al Golden on Boston College Game:

-Expects 14 or 15 true freshman to see playing time vs BC.

-Duke Johnson will play, but Mike James and Eduardo Clements will receive the bulk of Saturday’s carries.

-Starting receivers will be decided this week, but expect to see a lot of wide-outs play against BC.

-“I don’t think there’s any question. We’re going to learn a lot. You could say that every year, but I think we’re going to learn a lot about whether these guys can really hold it together and play with poise and trust their technique. … We aren’t putting any undue pressure on them. I think what they were told during recruiting and what they were told when they got here and what they’re being told on game week is all congruent.” – via SunSentinel.com

Why The Canes Will Win:

Boston College allowed an average of 151.1 rushing yards per game in 2011. I can’t imagine Luke Kuechly’s departure improved their run defense, and Miami has the weapons to expose it. UM running backs Mike James, Eduardo Clements, and Duke Johnson should have a field day on the ground and contribute through the air as well. Behind an effective rushing attack, the play action will open up and Hurricane QB Stephen Morris won’t have to play hero just yet.

The Canes defense is young and inexperienced, but they could not have asked for a more favorable season opener. The Eagles’ offense, which isn’t intimidating to begin with, will play without their top wide receiver and starting tight end. Miami’s defense will flash their immaturity a few times on Saturday, but their athleticism will ultimately prevail against a weak and depleted Eagles’ offense.

Why The Eagles Will Win:

The Hurricanes haven’t won in Chestnut Hill since 2001 and will play in front of a passionate Boston College crowd. The Canes’ young players won’t have the luxury of playing their first college game in their own stadium and may struggle to settle in.

The possibility remains that the Hurricanes’ inexperience on defense will prove to be a bigger problem than expected. The Eagles hired a new offensive coordinator this off-season and may have improved under a new system. Without any game film of this new look offense, the Canes’ young defense will have to play with maturity and adjust on the fly.

[Related: ACC Games You Don’t Want to Miss in 2012]

Despite Luke Kuechly’s absence, the Eagles are confident in their linebackers and believe they can chase down UM’s talented trio of running backs. If the Canes fail to establish a running game, it will be up to Stephen Morris and an unproven receiving corp to produce. This is not a plan the Canes should, or want to, rely on this season.

The Bottom Line

The Canes defense gets a pass this week. The Eagles will play without their top two receiving options and replacing their production won’t be easy. The Hurricanes defense may lack experience, but they are athletic and talented enough to hang with any equally unproven offense.

Miami will wear down the Eagles’ defense with a three running back rotation, each of whom are a constant threat to break a long run. Meanwhile, Stephen Morris will play with discipline and safely manage the game.

We do not know a lot about this Hurricanes team, and neither do the Eagles. Both teams have had a hard time scouting each other, which bodes well for the bigger and faster Canes.

Prediction: Miami 28 Boston College 17

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