Few around the country expected much out of The University of Miami during the 2013 season after they had compiled a 13-11 record and dealt with a self-imposed bowl ban during the past two seasons . But after starting the season with a 34-6 win over Florida Atlantic, excitement around the team began to simmer, and after an incredible 21-16 win over the No. 12 ranked University of Florida, the excitement was palpable.
Miami’s defense stole the show, forcing Florida to turn the ball over five times and holding them to 6-16 on third and fourth down attempts. Four of these turnovers came when Florida was into Miami’s redzone, showing that they were not going to give up in any situation. Limiting the damage in the redzone allowed Miami to only let up 16 points, despite giving up 413 total yards and being on the field for 38:20. Miami’s defense was able to be successful against Florida due to their ability to match their speed on both sides of the ball, and they never showed any signs of fatigue.
Meanwhile, on the offensive side of the ball Miami showed that they have what it takes to capitalize on their chances in the redzone and get points on the board, even when they are facing a very good defense. Despite only compiling 212 total yards (162 passing yards and 50 rushing yards), and being on the field for only 21:40, the group was able to get three touchdowns; two came from quarterback Stephen Morris throwing the ball and the third and final touchdown came from running back Duke Johnson with 3:29 left that sealed the game.
But what really stuck out more than what was happening on the field, was the atmosphere it created. The stadium was filled to the brim and was rocking like it was 1987. For a university that had not filled its home field to capacity since 2004, this is a remarkable achievement and a signal that the local fans believe that this will be a year to remember. Having this 12th man can be the difference in big games, and very well may have been the difference on Saturday afternoon.
Picking up a win over a team that is as good as Florida is a huge accomplishment for Miami, and will give them the confidence that they can beat any team in the country. They may not be the in your face, high scoring machine that made “The U” so famous in the 1980′s and 1990′s, but they are a genuine threat to win the ACC and force their way back into a BCS bowl in 2013.
The U is back.