After dispatching of Boston College in the season opener last week in Chestnut Hill, MA your Miami Hurricanes will travel well outside the footprint of the Atlantic Coast Conference and take their road game to Manhattan, Kansas to face the #21 ranked Kansas State Wildcats in the second game of the 2012 season.
Not to be confused with its big brother in New York State, the "Little Apple" is not known for its big business, bright lights and broadway stars but for its small, college town appeal and its consistent, steady and successful brand of football under long time head coach Bill Snyder (160-83-1).
Snyder has been doing Manhattan way before Manhattan was cool. And, after 20 years at the helm of the Wildcats program there is no doubt that the old, sly, silver fox knows a thing or two about coaching college football. Miami will face a disciplined, well-coached team that executes a solid game plan.
That means that second year Hurricane head coach Al Golden (along with coordinators Jedd Fisch and Mark D'Onofrio) really has his work cut out for him today. Golden lost last year's head-to-head match-up with Snyder 28-24 in the Orange Bowl in a game the hinged on two big plays.
Late in the fourth quarter Wildcat RB John Hubert busted loose for a 47-yard run on third-and-1, catching UM in a goal-line defense with just about everyone on the line of scrimmage. After that momentum building burst Kansas State went the full 80 yards on eight plays capped by Hubert's score from 2 yards out and putting Miami in need of late game heroics.
Miami did manage to drive the distance of the field with little time left in the game but Kansas State's defense rose up and stopped UM QB Jacory Harris at the goal line on fourth down with :49 seconds left in the game to seal the victory for the Wildcats.
This year Golden and company are hoping for a much different outcome in Kansas. This year's Hurricane football team, although much younger and less experienced than last year's team, are bigger, stronger and faster thanks to another year of the "UTough" conditioning program instituted by Golden and managed by long-time UM strength and conditioning coach Andreu Swasey.
This UM team is much more dangerous and has more weapons, some of them even top secret, to work with (seen below). We have reason to believe that the term "Wildcat" does not just refer to a team from Kansas, but of course that is just be wild speculation on our part.
The question still remains: Will that be enough to get the 'Canes across the goal line late in the fourth quarter when needed? Only time will tell, but we have reason to believe that it will.
This year we expect to see OL Seantrel Henderson lined up at fullback (yeah I said it!) in front of hard-charging RB Mike James carrying the ball and not lanky QB Jacory Harris trying to desperately nose the ball across the goal line.
In a line from a song titled "I Know A Little" performed by legendary Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd there is a line that goes a little something like this:
"The bigger the city well the brighter the lights,
The bigger the dog well the harder it bites."
As everyone knows Miami, FL is by far much bigger and much brighter than Manhattan, KA. So we say: LET THE BIG DOG EAT!
Canespace Prediction: Big Dog Canes 34, Little Kitty Cats 31