MIAMI – After opening the season with two losses by a combined seven points, Miami (Fla.) got the breather game it desperately needed last weekend. Now after romping past Bethune-Cookman 63-0 at home to give Manny Diaz his first head-coaching victory, the Hurricanes look to make it two in a row against another non-conference foe as they welcome Central Michigan to South Florida Saturday.
TV: 4 p.m. ET, ACC Network. LINE: Miami -29.5
"I think that we have confidence now that we have a win," Diaz told reporters. "Teams need to win because you want the reward for the hard work, but there is no one in the locker room that is satisfied. Now we have a chance to improve, move on and try and get this feeling week in and week out." One thing the Hurricanes must improve on is their slow starts as they were forced to rally in opening losses to Florida and North Carolina and they weren't sharp out of the gate against Bethune-Cookman either. Miami failed to score on four of its first six drives, going 0-for-5 on third downs, but then the Hurricanes scored 14 points in the final minute of the second quarter to take a 28-0 lead at the half. Central Michigan also had issues in the first quarter last week, producing just a single field goal before rolling to a 45-24 win over Akron, and the Chippewas proved heavily overmatched the last time they went on the road and the last time they faced a Power Five team as they were whipped at Wisconsin 61-0 two weeks ago.
ABOUT CENTRAL MICHIGAN (2-1)
After senior quarterback Quinten Dormady tweaked his knee against Wisconsin, junior college transfer David Moore made his first start for the Chippewas last Saturday, throwing for 316 yards and two touchdowns to lead the school to its first Mid-American Conference victory since Nov. 24, 2017. Moore will have a far greater challenge against the aggressive Hurricanes, as will sophomore running back Kobe Lewis, who also made his first career start last week in place of injured Jonathan Ward and he churned out 183 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns as the Chippewas amassed 533 yards in total offense. The defense figures to have its hands full with a Miami offense that produced 590 yards against Bethune-Cookman but the unit showed an ability to create havoc up front against Akron with seven sacks and 13 tackles for loss.
ABOUT MIAMI (1-2)
Quarterback Jarren Williams continues to improve in his first season as the starter and he took full advantage of the competition last time out, completing 19-of-24 passes for 254 yards and three touchdowns, even connecting on some deep balls. The ground game remains a big help to Williams with DeeJay Dallas reaching the century mark for the second straight outing (108 yards, three TDs) and he is averaging a whopping 8.35 yards per carry - eighth best in the nation. The defense showed some weaknesses the first two weeks, particularly in the clutch, but the unit gave up just 137 yards in the shutout of Bethune-Cookman and it will look for a similar effort against a Central Michigan team that managed a paltry 58 yards in the drubbing at Wisconsin.
1. Miami has never faced Central Michigan but the Hurricanes are 7-0 against the MAC, including a 49-24 victory at Toledo last season.
2. The Hurricanes are in the midst of a five-game homestand, its longest stretch at home in a single season since 1987.
3. Dan Enos, Miami's new offensive coordinator, served as Central Michigan's head coach from 2010-14.
PREDICTION: Miami 51, Central Michigan 3