MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Watching the Miami Hurricanes play defense this season has been quite the horror show for defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio. But, even amidst the disaster that is UM's defense, Miami is in control in the ACC Coastal division and one of just three unbeaten teams in ACC play.
The fact that Miami has remained undefeated in conference play with this defense is nothing short of amazing. The Canes' defense is giving up 34.7 points per game, ranking them 103rd out of 124 Division I schools, according to cfbstats.com.
But the hits just keep on rolling against the Canes defense. The Canes are ranked 119th in run defense, allowing 250.7 yards per game and ranked 95th in pass defense giving up 259.3 yards per game through the air.
Overall, Miami is rated 122nd in total defense this season, giving up 510 yards of offense per games and 6.57 yards per play. That's not just bad, it's abysmal.
Still, despite one of the worst defenses in the nation, UM is still poised to make some serious noise in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
"We're in the tournament right now," Miami coach Al Golden said.
"It's there for the taking," Miami running back Mike James said. "But it goes to show you, it's not about what people write down or who's writing the books. Look where they wrote us to be. It's all about who's the best team on that day."
At least in ACC play against unranked opponents, thus far that has been Miami. However, when UM has played ranked opponents this year, the results have been hideous. UM lost to Kansas State last month 52-13 and was destroyed by Notre Dame last weekend 41-3.
Then again, UM pulled out a last second victory over the North Carolina State Wolfpack two weeks ago, who followed that loss up with a shocking 17-16 victory over then-third ranked Florida State University. So as bad as Miami's defense is, it's not been wise to overlook them in conference play.
"They got talent," North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora insisted. "They're as talented as any team in the league really….They've got the players there."
Miami is currently on pace to give up more than 6,000 yards of total offense this season. The current record for most yards allowed in a season by UM was 4,369 in 1997. The good news for Miami is that they will spend the next month at home after several road tests to start the season.
"We need our fans, we need our students, we need to have a home-field advantage," head coach Al Golden said. "It should be a lot of fun."
Miami welcomes in North Carolina on Saturday and if they can pick up a victory there to move to 5-2, it will only enhance the marquee of the October 20th matchup with arch-rival Florida State at Sun Life Stadium.
(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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