college football 2021

NBC 6 Football Preview 2021: Miami Hurricanes Determined to Prove ‘The U' is Back

Head coach Manny Diaz is set to return a team into play that had the most wins last season since 2017

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20 years ago, the Miami Hurricanes football team was preparing for a season that ended with the fifth national title in program history.

In the eyes of some fans, the 2021 edition of the ‘Canes could be the best since that championship squad.

Head coach Manny Diaz is set to return a team into play that had the most wins last season since 2017 – led by a quarterback who is arguably the most likely Heisman Trophy candidate in the entire state.

While D’Eriq King will be expected to lead an offense that was not afraid to score points last season, the ‘Canes will have some questions to answer on a defense that lost several big names to the NFL and also weren’t afraid to give up points last season.

Is this finally the year ‘The U’ can officially say they are back after two decades? Will the past struggles against inferior opponents hurt the ‘Canes this season? Here’s our breakdown of the 2021 Miami Hurricanes.

Miami quarterback D'Eriq King looks for a receiver as Oklahoma State defensive tackle Sione Asi rushes during the first half of the Cheez-it Bowl
John Raoux/AP Photo
Miami quarterback D'Eriq King (1) looks for a receiver as Oklahoma State defensive tackle Sione Asi (99) rushes during the first half of the Cheez-it Bowl NCAA college football game, Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020, in Orlando, Fla.

Most Important Player: King

It’s pretty obvious by now that the fate of the 2021 season for Miami will rest on the right arm of a man who threw for over 2,300 yards and 20 touchdowns last season for the ‘Canes.

It’s also pretty obvious that fans, Diaz and everyone else in orange and green will be holding their breath until King takes his first hit of the season following a devastating knee injury in last season’s Cheez-It Bowl. If King’s knee can withstand a season of hits, it’s a season that could end with big things for Miami.

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DURHAM, NC - NOVEMBER 30: Quentin Harris #18 of the Duke Blue Devils celebrates after throwing for a 49-yard touchdown against the Miami Hurricanes in the fourth quarter of the game at Wallace Wade Stadium on November 30, 2019 in Durham, North Carolina. Duke defeated Miami 27-17. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Biggest Question: Can the Hurricanes avoid a letdown loss to an opponent they should have beat?

It’s something that has plagued the ‘Canes over much of the last few seasons: FSU in 2016, Pitt in 2017, Duke in 2018 and 2019, FIU in 2019…all teams Miami was usually better than when it came to talent, but not when it came to the final scoreboard.

Miami knows the tougher games on its schedule, like the opener against Alabama, which they need to watch out for. But have they overcome the mental blocks that have hindered them in past seasons against teams they should beat this season, like N.C. State or Florida State?

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CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA - SEPTEMBER 07: Scott Patchan #71 of the Miami Hurricanes pursues Sam Howell #7 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game at Kenan Stadium on September 07, 2019 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. North Carolina won 28-25. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Most Important Game: October 16th at North Carolina

Betting odds are against Miami pulling off the upset in the opener against the defending national champs - but after that, this might be the only game standing between the ‘Canes and the second ACC Championship Game in program history.

After last season’s blowout loss in the regular season finale, Miami will be hungry for a chance at redemption against a team that racked up nearly 800 yards of offense on them.

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