MIAMI – It's been a heartbreaking start to the 2019 season for Miami and new head coach Manny Diaz. But after coming up short in the final minute to both Florida (24-20) and North Carolina (28-25), the Hurricanes head back to South Florida to regroup and get ready to open a much-needed five-game homestand, beginning with Saturday's visit from FCS opponent Bethune-Cookman.
TV: 4 p.m. ET, ACC Network
"Everybody's ready to play next week and the week after that," Hurricanes linebacker Shaquille Quarterman told reporters. "It feels good going home to our crowd and our stadium and it gives us time to reflect." There are plenty of positives on both sides of the ball for Diaz to build on and the team showed resilience rallying from a 17-3 deficit against North Carolina, but the losses very easily could have been wins if the Hurricanes held on to leads in the fourth quarter. "When we get a lead, we can't relax. We can't take our foot off their necks," said redshirt freshman quarterback Jarren Williams. "We got up and I feel like we got a little complacent. Guys started relaxing a little bit. That's something we have to address. When we get up, we can't stop. We have to keep beating, keep beating, keep beating and keep going until the game's over with." Bethune-Cookman only has one game under its belt after last week's matchup with Southeastern Louisiana was canceled due to Hurricane Dorian, but that one performance was impressive as the Wildcats came back from a 9-0 deficit to defeat Jackson State 36-15, the school's highest opening-day output since 2012.
ABOUT BETHUNE-COOKMAN (1-0)
The Wildcats were held scoreless in the first half against Jackson State but they stormed back and scored the game's final 29 points to give fifth-year head coach Terry Sims his first win in a season opener. Bethune-Cookman wound up heavily outgained (506-277), but the Wildcats proved opportunistic with four takeaways - including a 50-yard pick-six sparking the team's comeback and a 96-yard fumble return for a touchdown capping the scoring. Senior quarterback Akevious Williams threw for 144 yards and a touchdown and ran for 53 more with a 20-yard score, while Isaac Washington led the way on the ground with 61 yards.
ABOUT MIAMI (0-2)
Williams has shown promise in his first two games as the starter, throwing for 214 yards and a touchdown against Florida followed by an even better outing at North Carolina with 309 yards passing (30-of-39) and two touchdowns - with no picks in either contest. Running backs DeeJay Dallas and Cam'Ron Harris are developing into a strong one-two punch and they figure to have success behind an offensive line that stepped up last week after some needed juggling following a disappointing effort in the opening loss to Florida. The defense has come up big at times but is struggling to slam the door on opponents in key spots and the unit failed to record even a single turnover against North Carolina, halting a streak of 13 straight games with at least one takeaway.
1. Miami is 4-0 since the series with Bethune-Cookman began in 2011, with all four matchups coming at home, including a 41-13 victory in the last meeting in 2017.
2. The Hurricanes haven't lost a home opener since 2006.
3. Dallas is one of just four running backs in the ACC averaging more than 100 yards per game (100.5).
PREDICTION: Miami 40, Bethune-Cookman 10