Despite the undeniable dominance the SEC has had over the college football arena in the last decade, the first two weeks of the season have proven that a few ACC programs are not about to roll over for anyone just yet. After Georgia fell to Clemson in Week 1, the latest ACC-over-SEC upset occurred this past weekend when Miami beat in-state rival Florida 21-16.
Often times when an ACC team defeats a proficient SEC program, many may look to discrepancies in the offensive or defensive productivity of a team like Florida. The Hurricanes and the Gators have not met since 2008 when Miami was unable to put a touchdown on the board and Florida was under the leadership of the Tebow-Meyer dynasty. A lot has changed down in Gainesville since then, including Will Muschamp as Meyer’s successor and Jeff Driskel as the Gators’ inconsistent quarterback.
Although Driskel could shoulder much of the blame for the Gators’ loss on Saturday, Miami and its defense should be credited with defeating Florida and propelling the program into the AP Poll, specifically to spot No. 15, for the first time in three years.
The ACC Player of the Week title was awarded to two Miami defenders following the game against Florida. Linebacker Denzel Perryman, who forced Matt Jones to fumble the ball early in the first quarter, and defensive lineman Anthony Chickillo shared the honor. Miami’s D won the game by forcing Florida to turn the ball over five times, which included three forced fumbles and two interceptions.
Because Miami’s offense did not have exceptional numbers on the ground or in the air–50 and 162 total yards, respectively–the defense came up big by keeping Florida from making any play that would have shifted the momentum in their favor.
Miami was able to hold the lead for all four quarters and win a game that knocked Florida from No. 12 to No. 18 in this week’s AP Poll.
The win against Florida is just what Miami needed to boost itself back into national recognition after the program’s heavily publicized fall from grace.
And with Savannah State and South Florida lined up as Miami’s next two match-ups, college football fans could see the Hurricanes suddenly in the Top 10 by the beginning of October and in time for their first conference game against Georgia Tech.
***The options to hyperlink, bold, and so on were not popping up for me (I tried to refresh the page multiple times) so the links I was going to include are below.