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UM vs. BCU: Matchups to Watch

UM vs. BCU: Matchups to Watch

By David Villavicencio
HurricaneSports.com
 
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The Miami Hurricanes open the 2017 season Saturday against Bethune-Cookman.
 
The No. 18 Canes and Wildcats will meet for the fourth time in history. The Hurricanes are 3-0 all-time against Bethune-Cookman, with each previous matchup serving as Miami’s season opener.
 
Here are three matchups to watch in Saturday’s game.
 
Miami TE Christopher Herndon IV vs. Bethune-Cookman S Diquan Richardson
 
Herndon is one of the top tight ends in the country, as the senior standout was named to the 2017 Mackey Award preseason watch list prior to the start of the season. The 6-4 native of Norcross, Ga., made 12 starts a year ago, catching 28 passes for 334 yards. Herndon averaged 11.9 yards per reception and snared a pair of receiving touchdowns for the Canes.
 
While Herndon is likely to be a key contributor for Miami in the passing game, as well as blocking in the running game, he may face off against one of the top safeties in the MEAC when he goes up the seam. A 5-11, 167-pound senior safety, Richardson led BCU defensively with 60 tackles and four interceptions a year ago. The transfer from Paine College also recorded six breakups and a blocked kick. Richardson was a first team Preseason All-MEAC selection and was named to the 2017 Black College Football Player of the Year Watch List, an award presented annually to the most outstanding football player from a Historically Black College & University.
 
Miami DB Dee Delaney vs. Bethune-Cookman WR Frank Brown

Delaney’s Miami debut could feature a lot of time against one of the best receivers in the MEAC. A two-time FCS All-American at The Citadel, Delaney is expected to be Miami’s top corner in 2017. As a senior in 2016, Delaney recorded 35 tackles, six interceptions and eight pass breakups. He also helped The Citadel win back-to-back Southern Conference championships in 2015-16. A native of Beaufort, S.C., Delaney started the final 36 games of his career at The Citadel and ranks second in career interceptions with 13 and fourth in passes defended (32).
 
But the 5-11 Brown is a talented receiver that will likely play a key role for the Wildcats on Saturday. A first team Preseason All-MEAC selection, the redshirt senior led Bethune-Cookman in receptions last season with 29, averaging 15.1 yards per catch on 439 total yards. He added a team-best seven touchdown receptions and averaged 48.8 yards per game. 
 
Miami’s interior offensive line vs. Bethune-Cookman DT Kevin Thompson
 
The Hurricanes will feature a new combination of interior players on the offensive line in 2017, as left guard Trevor Darling, center Tyler Gauthier and right guard Navaughn Donaldson will play their first game together on Saturday. The group features good size, with each player measuring at least 6-4 and weighing at least 300 pounds, but they will face a talented defensive tackle in their first outing of 2017.
 
Bethune-Cookman’s Kevin Thompson was a first team Preseason All-MEAC selection entering his final collegiate season. A 6-4, 230-pound redshirt senior defensive lineman, Thompson produced 34 tackles a season ago for the Maroon and Gold, using 14 solo stops combined with 24 assisted tackles. He pulled in a team-best 9.5 tackles behind the line, as well as two quarterback sacks.

Kickoff against the Wildcats is set for 12:30 p.m., from Hard Rock Stadium. Click here for ticket information.