While the Miami Hurricanes may feel like they let the ACC title race slip through their fingers with a three-game losing streak in November, they still accomplished a great deal in restoring the program to their former glory. They finally came out from under the cloud of a long NCAA investigation to get back into the postseason where they will take on the Louisville Cardinals in the Russell Athletic Bowl. To make their return to bowl season a successful one, they will need a game-breaking performance from wide receiver Allen Hurns.
The senior led Miami in receptions this season and was second in the ACC in yardage with 60 receptions on the season for 1,138 yards and six touchdowns as the favorite target for quarterback Stephen Morris this season. He ranked as one of the most explosive pass-catchers in the conference this season, averaging 18.97 yards per reception, the fourth-highest average in the ACC in 2013. He provided a consistent presence in the passing game over the top all year long.
Against Louisville, Miami will need someone to step up to provide a spark on offense. While the press surrounding the Cardinals in 2013 has been centered on quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, Charlie Strong has enjoyed the No. 1 defense in the AAC this season and No. 2 defense in all of college football in yards allowed. They have provided a major boost to the Louisville campaign even on night where their offense has stumbled. They get after the football and make things difficult on opposing offenses all season long.
Louisville’s ability to press on defense makes it imperative for Miami to have someone step up and win one-on-one opportunities and provide a big play to jumpstart the offense. Hurns has been an offensive leader all season long and will be counted on again to lead the Canes in the Russell Athletic Bowl. Will he be the difference-maker?