At long last, the 2017 season is here. Miami opens up with a familiar FCS opponent, and looks to get its act together before a tougher test in Week 2 (at Arkansas State) and a much, much stiffer challenge in Week 3 (at Florida State).
MIAMI vs. BETHUNE-COOKMAN
Time: 12:30 p.m.
Where: Hard Rock Stadium (64,767)
TV: ACC regional networks (locally, Fox Sports Florida), streaming at WatchESPN.com or Watch ESPN app
Radio: 560-WQAM; 990 AM ESPN Deportes (Spanish)
Forecast: 89 degrees, thunderstorms
Post pick: Miami 42-0.
TEN NUMBERS OF NOTE
1 — There will be at least one new starting quarterback in this game. Miami turns to redshirt junior Malik Rosier, and BCU appears to be going with redshirt sophomore Akevious Williams over redshirt senior Larry Brihm. Williams, a dual-threat, produced 699 total yards and 12 touchdowns last year. He was a 49 percent passer. Brihm was the MEAC’s third-most efficient passer (139.07) and threw for 1,370 yards and 11 scores on 57.1 percent accuracy. He was named second-team preseason All-MEAC.
2 — Since Howard Schellenberger took over the program in 1979, Miami has lost a pair of home openers: 1985 to Florida (35-23) and 2006 to Florida State (13-10). UM has won the other 15, including wins over FSU (2004, 1988) and Florida (1987, 1981).
4 — The number of games in which Miami put up double-digit tackles for loss in 2016. UM posted a season-high 15 in its opener against FCS Florida A&M, a 70-3 win. The Hurricanes finished with 108, its most since it led the country with 115 in 2010, and ranked fifth in TFL per game (8.31). Four players — ends Joe Jackson (11.5) and Chad Thomas (11), linebacker Shaq Quarterman and tackle Kendrick Norton (10 each) had double-digit years, while tackle RJ McIntosh and end Trent Harris (9.5) were close.
4.25 — Sack-adjusted yards per carry UM allowed to six dual-threat quarterbacks last year: Georgia Tech’s Justin Thomas, North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky, Virginia Tech’s Jerod Evans, Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer, Duke’s Daniel Jones and West Virginia’s Skyler Howard. Of those, Evans (106 yards, not including sacks, and a touchdown on 13 carries) and Howard (105 and a touchdown on 21 carries) did by far the most damage.
10 — The number of true freshmen who appeared on UM’s preseason depth chart. All are likely to play, and right guard Navaughn Donaldson, receiver Mike Harley and punter Zach Feagles in line to start.
19 — Takeaways Miami recorded in 2016, ranking 67th in the nation. Despite that middling total, UM still ranked 14th in turnover margin (plus-0.69) because its offense took care of the ball. Brad Kaaya threw seven interceptions and UM lost three fumbles. With former backup Rosier under center, Miami’s coaches challenged its defense to create more turnovers.
24 — Miami’s defense is trending down — in the sense that it has allowed 14 points, 10 points and zero points in its three previous games against the Wildcats.
56 — The number of Florida natives on the Wildcats’ roster, a list that includes Brihm (Village Academy), top receiver and punt returner Frank Brown (Palm Beach Gardens) — a second-team All-MEAC pick who had 439 yards and seven touchdowns last year — cornerback DeAndre Bozeman (Dwyer), defensive lineman Todney Evans (Atlantic) and the memorably named Tupac Isme, a running back from Naples.
90.0 — Combined winning percentage of the Hurricanes and Wildcats over their final five games of 2016. UM won its last five, including its first bowl victory since 2006, to finish 9-4. BCU lost six in a row to start the year but won four of its next five to finish 4-6.
135-0 — The combined score of UM’s last two home openers, against Bethune-Cookman (2015) and Florida A&M (2016). The Hurricanes have allowed FCS teams three touchdowns and a field goal in five games over the last five years.