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Miami Hurricanes Vs. Florida Atlantic Owls Free Pick 8/30/13

Florida Atlantic Owls (3-9) at Miami Hurricanes (7-5)

College Football: Friday, August 30, 2013 at 8:00 pm (Sun Life Stadium)

The Line: Miami Hurricanes -31 --- Over/Under: 58 See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPNU

The Miami Hurricanes welcome in the Florida Atlantic Owls to start off the 2013 season.

Head coach Al Golden and the Miami Hurricanes return 14 players who started at least seven games last year, 9 on offense and 5 on defense. The biggest weapon for the Hurricanes coming into this season has to be RB Duke Johnson, who became Miami’s most explosive offensive threat last year. Johnson was ninth in the nation in all-purpose yards per game and averaged 10.7 yards every time he touched the ball in 2012. Johnson will not only be a threat in the backfield, he will also be a huge asset in the return game. QB Stephen Morris returns after passing for 3,354 yards, the fifth highest total in program history. Morris will have WR Phillip Dorsett and WR Rashawn Scott, the team’s leading receivers last season. Miami will welcome in a new offensive coordinator, James Coley, who is coming over from Florida State. Coley will call plays for the Hurricanes this season, but he may not want to change much as the Hurricanes return 9 starters from a solid offense. Defensively, the Hurricanes need help all over after having one of the worst units in the ACC last year. The Hurricanes have a chance to improve on the defensive line, with DE Anthony Chickillo and DE Shayon Green returning up front, both players started all 12 games for Miami last year. Linebacker and defensive back will see the most changes of any position on the team. Miami lost one full-time starter at both linebacker and cornerback, LB Eddie Johnson has been suspended, and CB Thomas Finnie has also left the team. S Deon Bush would have been the newcomer of the year in 2012 if it wasn’t for Johnson’s incredible season. Bush finished with 34 tackles, 3 pass breakups, and 3 forced fumbles last season. If the Hurricanes were to take one positive from last year’s squad, it would be that Miami’s defense forced three or more turnovers in four games last year.

Miami Hurricanes Vs. Florida Atlantic Owls Free Pick 8/30/13

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

 

The Florida Atlantic Owls finished 3-9 last year after an awful 1-11 record in 2011. FAU is a senior and junior laden-team, but the offense will be in the hands of a new quarterback. They do return Jonathan Wallace, a senior RB who had over 600 yards and 6 touchdowns last season, and a stable of talented guys at wide receiver. The star of last season’s offense was junior WR William Dukes, who finished with 63 catches and 979 yards last season. One of the Owls favorite weapons is senior TE Nexon Dorvilus, the team’s third-leading receiver and its favorite option in the red zone. The offensive line returns only two starters, OT DeAndre Williams and C Mustafa Johnson. The rest of the line is a mess and will be huge liability this season. On defense, Florida Atlantic would like to see some improvement from a defense that gave up over 30 points a game last season. The defensive line will be made up of sophomore DT Trevon Coley, senior DT Brandin Bryant, senior DE Martin Wright, and senior DE Cory Henry. Wright is the leader up front and Henry, a converted linebacker, can give this pass rush a boost. Getting more pressure on the quarterback is an issue, but nothing looms larger than this run defense. It’s FAU’s biggest issue heading into 2013. Losing David Hinds at linebacker hurts, but FAU returns enough experience, as does the secondary unit. FAU returns senior CB Keith Reaser and junior D’Joun Smith at cornerback. Big plays are needed in the secondary, FAU did not do a good job forcing turnovers in 2012, and that must improve in 2013.

Miami and FAU have never faced each other. In reality, this game should not be much of a contest. Miami is an experienced and talented team, and FAU is trying to recover from a bad few years. There is a little extra drama heading into this game, as FAU’s coach Carl Pelini made a comment accusing Miami of sending people to the stands to watch their spring game. This would violate NCAA regulations if it actually was true, but it was later dismissed. I don’t think Golden likes anyone questioning his methods, especially when those questions invoke a violation when Miami is already waiting for the NCAA to untangle their hands. Miami will come into this game with a chip on their shoulder and I think they will win big, but this may be too many points to lay anything on.  

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MIAMI -31 (lean)

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