Oct 26, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Hurricanes running back Duke Johnson (8) runs the ball against Wake Forest Demon Deacons linebacker Mike Olson (41) in the second quarter at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Husker Football 2014 Opponent Preview: Miami (FL)

Whether or not Husker football has a 3-0 record at this point, this is the game that could either help it rebound or rocket it into the spotlight. A primetime game on ABC, likely in alternate uniforms with an outside chance of the College GameDay set showing up.

What could make this tilt any better?

Oh yeah, the Miami flippin’ Hurricanes are coming to Lincoln. This is the game every Nebraska fan young and old has dreamed about. Every time a custom OOC schedule was made on NCAA Football (past tense, thanks Sam), Miami was on it. The historical thorn in Nebraska’s side finally swims in the Sea of Red.

A shame it’ll likely not be snowing. Then again, they’re playing in Lincoln, NE. Nothing’s a given.

Fans know the name Duke Johnson. They also likely know he’s been dinged up since last November and has been rehabbing this spring.

If Miami’s going to do damage against a Nebraska defense that looks stout against the run, it needs him back to 110 percent.

To make matters worse, quarterback Ryan Williams was expected to step in for last season’s starter Stephen Morris. Then he tore his ACL on June 6.


Fortunately (?), the calvary has arrived in transfer Jake Heaps, who was a hit at neither BYU or Kansas. Unless Heaps sucks out loud, he should be able to hold off Kevin OlsenGray Crow and incoming freshmen Brad Kaaya and Malik Rosier.

Back to Johnson. He seemed pretty upbeat during an interview with Susan Miller Degnan of the Miami Herald:

“I’m back running,” he said. “It couldn’t feel any better right now. I’ll just take these next couple of months to get in tip-top shape and make sure I heal 100 percent and am ready for the season. There’s nothing difficult right now because my ankle wasn’t a cutting injury. I didn’t hurt my ankle cutting — somebody fell on it and it just happened to break.

Wide receiver Stacy Coley‘s another weapon that the Hurricanes will likely try to heat up against the Huskers, but the biggest X-factor is the offensive line. The most experienced players, also known as the entire right side, graduated. Think Nebraska fans can expect to see some blitzes?

On defense, only four players have their positions on lock: MIKE linebacker Denzel Perryman, safety Jamal Carter and cornerbacks Tracy Howard and Artie Burns. If the way last season ended is an indication, competition should be wide open elsewhere.

The Hurricanes allowed at least 31 points in five of their last six games. To take the embarrassment a step further, they had a defense ranked No. 90 overall (No. 78 vs. the run, No. 92 against the pass and No. 66 in scoring). I could go on, but need I?

Bottom Line: The Golden Nugget has Husker football winning by a field goal as of June 13. Considering Bo Pelini’s record under the lights regardless of venue, I don’t think that number changes much.

Nebraska will know what it’s facing once Al Golden’s team comes to town. Miami opens its season at Louisville before taking on Florida A&M and a very scrappy Arkansas State team.

They’ll either come into Lincoln drained or with a renewed sense of purpose. Regardless, I think Pelini and company will have the universe on their side during Miami’s first visit ever.

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