Hurricanes Announce 2020 Football Schedule
CORAL GABLES, Fla. — As part of a league-wide schedule release from the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Miami Hurricanes’ 2020 football schedule was announced Wednesday.
Click here to view the schedule page. Christy Cabrera Chirinos breaks down the schedule game by game below.
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By Christy Cabrera Chirinos
Already, the work of preparing for a new season has begun.
Days after returning from their winter break, the Hurricanes welcomed new teammates, met new coaches and began their offseason strength and conditioning program in the weight room.
Now, they can look ahead to the fall with a more concrete reminder of why they’re working.
Miami already knew the opponents they’d face this fall, including the likes of Michigan State, rival Florida State and defending Coastal Division champion Virginia, among others.
Now, though, the Hurricanes know exactly what their schedule looks like.
It will feature an opener against a familiar former Big East foe, a three-game homestand to start the season, a mid-October off week and two late-season road trips that could go a long way in shaping the final Coastal Division standings.
Here, a look at the matchups on Miami’s 2020 schedule.
Sept. 5, vs. Temple
Hard Rock Stadium
For more than a decade when they were both in the Big East, Miami and Temple met annually. After the Hurricanes joined the ACC, however, the series was paused. When it resumes this fall, it will bring with it plenty of interesting storylines with it.
Among them? The game will feature the debut of Miami’s new spread offense, a system offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee has described as being “fast and physical” and is expected to be a showcase for the speedy playmakers on the Hurricanes’ roster. The opener will also mark the first time several new faces don orange and green, from highly-recruited freshmen to graduate transfers.
The Hurricanes hold a 13-1 all-time lead in the series, their lone loss against the Owls coming in 1930 in Philadelphia. Since, Miami has dominated, winning 13 straight over Temple by an average margin of 34 points.
Sept. 12, vs. Wagner
Hard Rock Stadium
The second game of Miami’s season – and its three-game season-opening homestand – will feature a matchup against FCS Wagner, which posted a 1-11 mark last season.
The Seahawks’ lone win in 2019 was a 24-14 victory over Long Island University in which Wagner scored 17 unanswered points in the second quarter.
This will be the two schools’ first meeting, but the game will mark Wagner’s second straight September visit to South Florida in as many years. The Seahawks traveled to Boca Raton in 2019 to face Florida Atlantic, with the Owls picking up the win.
Sept. 19, vs. UAB
Hard Rock Stadium
For the second straight week, the Hurricanes will face off against a new opponent for the first time. This time they will host a reborn UAB team that was reinstated a mere six months after school officials decided to disband the program in 2014.
Since returning from a two-year hiatus that spanned the 2015 and 2016 seasons, the Blazers have been one of Conference USA’s more consistent teams, winning the conference title in 2018 and earning three straight bowl berths under coach Bill Clark.
Last fall, UAB posted a 9-5 mark and went 6-2 in conference play. But the Blazers struggled in road games, going 3-4 away from Legion Field in Birmingham. Redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Johnston III, who passed for 2,250 yards and 17 touchdowns last season will return for the Blazers next fall, as will senior linebacker Kristopher Moll, who had a team-high 104 tackles and played high school football not far from UM’s campus at Coral Gables High.
Sept. 26, at Michigan State
Spartan Stadium, East Lansing
After three games at home to open the season, the Hurricanes’ first road trip of the year will come in late September. That’s when Miami will travel to East Lansing to close out its non-conference slate with its first game against Michigan State since 1989.
After enduring a five-game losing streak through the middle of the 2019 season, the Spartans closed the year with three straight wins, including a 27-21 victory over Wake Forest in the Pinstripe Bowl to finish 7-6.
They’ll face plenty of questions next fall with the biggest coming at quarterback after the departure of three-year starter Brian Lewerke, who accounted for 9,548 yards of total offense during his Michigan State career. That number ranks first in program history. The Spartans do return redshirt sophomore running back Elijah Collins, who was one of Michigan State’s breakout players last season, rushing for 988 yards and five touchdowns.
While Miami and Michigan State haven’t faced each other in three decades, their limited matchups have been close, the last three meetings in the series all decided by six points or less. The Hurricanes won all three of those games and hold a 4-0 lead in the all-time series.
Oct. 3, vs. Pittsburgh
Hard Rock Stadium
After wrapping up their four-game non-conference slate in East Lansing, the Hurricanes return home to open ACC play against Coastal Division foe Pittsburgh.
Last fall, the Hurricanes put together one of their most memorable finishes of the season against the Panthers when former receiver K.J. Osborn caught a 32-yard touchdown pass with 58 seconds left that helped lift Miami to an 16-12 win.
While the Panthers will come in looking to avenge two straight losses to Miami, the Hurricanes’ defense will look to keep up a remarkable streak against Pittsburgh, which went 8-5 last season. In each of their last two meetings, Miami has kept Pittsburgh out of the end zone, holding the Panthers to just four field goals in 2019 and one field goal in 2018.
Oct. 9, at Wake Forest
BB&T Field, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Miami’s first ACC road game will come at a place the Hurricanes haven’t visited often – Wake Forest. The Hurricanes haven’t played in Winston-Salem since 2009, a game where they edged the Demon Deacons 28-27.
Wake Forest was one of the ACC’s surprise teams last season, winning seven of their first eight games and climbing as high as No. 19 in the AP Top 25. But any hopes of earning a potential Orange Bowl berth ended when the Demon Deacons dropped three of their last four and fell out of the rankings. Wake Forest closed the year with a 27-21 loss to Michigan State in the Pinstripe Bowl and finished 8-5.
Expectations in Winston-Salem are that Wake Forest will have to make adjustments after the transfer of quarterback Sam Hartman, but a strong defense could help the Demon Deacons earn their fifth straight bowl berth.
Though they have played just 11 times in program history, the Hurricanes hold an 8-3 all-time series against Wake Forest and have won seven straight against the Demon Deacons, including most recently a 24-21 win at Hard Rock Stadium in 2013.
Oct. 24, vs. North Carolina
Hard Rock Stadium
After their road trip to Winston-Salem and an off week, the Hurricanes return home Oct. 24 to face another one of 2019’s surprise ACC teams.
In Mack Brown’s first year back at North Carolina, the Tar Heels improved from being a two-win team in 2018 to posting a 7-6 mark last fall and closing the year with a dominant 55-13 win over Temple in the Military Bowl.
The Hurricanes, who have won two of their last three against North Carolina at Hard Rock Stadium, will look to avenge last year’s heartbreaking 28-25 loss to the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill.
To do that, though, the defense will have to find a way to contain one of the nation’s top young quarterbacks, sophomore Sam Howell, who completed 61 percent of his passes, threw for 3,641 yards and 38 touchdowns last season and is already generating buzz as a potential Heisman Trophy candidate if he can duplicate last season’s success.
Oct. 31, at Virginia
Scott Stadium, Charlottesville
The Hurricanes have won four of their last five against Virginia, including last year’s 17-9 upset of the then-19th-ranked Cavaliers.
But Miami has struggled in games at Scott Stadium, something defending Coastal Division champion Virginia will be looking to capitalize on when it hosts the Hurricanes on Halloween.
After last year’s meeting, Virginia rebounded to close out the regular season with wins over Duke, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Liberty and Virginia Tech to win the division and earn berths in both the ACC Championship Game and the Orange Bowl.
As successful as last year’s 9-5 campaign was for the Cavaliers, though, they’ll have to deal with the loss of quarterback Bryce Perkins and receiver Joe Reed. The Hurricanes, meanwhile, will be looking to notch their second straight win over Virginia and add to their 10-7 lead in the all-time series.
Nov. 7, vs. Florida State
Hard Rock Stadium
After a maddening stretch that saw the Hurricanes drop seven straight to the Seminoles from 2010-2016, it’s Miami that now has the winning streak in one of college football’s most storied rivalries.
The Hurricanes have won three straight against FSU, with last year’s 27-10 win marking the largest margin of victory in the series over the course of the last six matchups.
There was no need for any last-second heroics last November with the Hurricanes jumping to a 17-3 halftime lead and then scoring 10 points in the fourth quarter.
Jarren Williams threw for 313 yards and two touchdowns in the win, while receiver Dee Wiggins had a breakout game, catching four passes for 74 yards and a touchdown. Defensively, Greg Rousseau gave the Seminoles fits, notching eight tackles and four sacks in the win.
While their recent matchups haven’t had the championship implications of years past, no matter the standings or records, expect lots of big hits, a frenzied crowd and plenty of emotion when Miami and Florida State meet.
Nov. 14, at Virginia Tech
Lane Stadium, Blacksburg
When Miami and Virginia Tech last met, the Hurricanes managed to score 21 fourth-quarter points – but it wasn’t enough to help them overcome an early four-touchdown deficit.
Ultimately, the Hokies escaped Hard Rock Stadium with a 42-35 win that left Miami’s coaches and players frustrated, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.
Expect coach Manny Diaz, defensive coordinator Blake Baker and their players to try and prove that showing against Tech was an anomaly when Miami heads to Blacksburg to face a team that is already being discussed as a potential preseason favorite to win the Coastal Division crown.
Quarterback Herndon Hooker, who accounted for 273 yards of total offense and four touchdowns in last year’s game against Miami, returns, as does a veteran offensive line. But a solid Hurricanes defensive front will be looking for redemption and Miami has proven it can win at Lane Stadium, notching victories there in both 2014 and 2018.
Nov. 21, at Georgia Tech
Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta
The Hurricanes will play back-to-back road trips just once in 2020, the first of those games coming Nov. 14 at Virginia Tech, the next, a week later at Georgia Tech.
And in much the same way the Hurricanes will be looking for redemption against the Hokies, they’ll want more of the same against the Yellow Jackets, who struggled to a 3-9 record in 2019, but stunned the Hurricanes at Hard Rock Stadium last October.
Georgia Tech nabbed an overtime win after redshirt junior Jordan Mason was able to gash the Hurricanes defense on three straight carries in overtime to put the Yellow Jackets ahead. He finished with a game-high 141 yards and will, more than likely, be a focus for the Miami defense in Atlanta. Hurricanes running back Cam’Ron Harris countered with 136 yards of his own, but it wasn’t enough to get Miami the win.
Georgia Tech has proven not only a tough opponent for Miami of late, but their matchups in Atlanta have been especially tough for the Hurricanes, who are just 5-10 there. That said, Miami did win at Bobby Dodd in 2016 and if the Hurricanes want to make a run at another Coastal Division title, they’ll likely have to find a way to get past the Yellow Jackets in their final road game of the regular season.
Nov. 28, vs. Duke
Hard Rock Stadium
The Hurricanes will close out their regular season and honor their seniors during a post-Thanksgiving matchup with the Blue Devils, who like the Yellow Jackets, have been a challenge for Miami in recent years.
The Hurricanes closed out the 2019 regular season with a 27-17 loss at Duke in which the Blue Devils scored 14 unanswered fourth-quarter points to notch their second rain-soaked win over Miami in as many years and just their fourth win over the Hurricanes in 17 meetings.
While it will be the regular-season finale for both teams, it’s not out of the realm of possibility, given how things have played out in the Coastal Division in recent years, that the matchup could have an impact on which of the division’s teams will head to Charlotte for the ACC Championship Game.
If the Hurricanes hope to be that team, snapping their two-game losing streak to the Blue Devils would be critical.