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Canes Set To Send Off Seniors Against Virginia

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Hurricanes will bid farewell to its senior class Saturday at Sun Life Stadium when the team plays its final home game of 2013 against the Virginia Cavaliers.

What started out as a solid season for the Hurricanes, 7-0, has fallen on tough times in recent weeks as the Canes are in the midst of a three-game losing streak. The streak got started after Florida State blew out the Canes on November 2nd and UM lost star running back Duke Johnson for the season.

But all is not lost for the Hurricanes. There's still an outside shot of getting to the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game and even if the ACC championship is unattainable; Miami can still win its final two games and still play in a big bowl game for the first time in two years.

When the Canes take the field at Sun Life, all eyes will be on a defense that has struggled to stop anyone over the last three weeks.

The Canes have given up 131 points to Florida State, Virginia Tech, and Duke in the last three games. During the losing streak, the Canes have lost by an average of three touchdowns per game. But defensive struggles are not new this season for the Canes.

Overall, Miami is allowing 25.5 points per game which ranks the Canes ninth in the 14 team ACC. It's the second most points the Canes defense has allowed dating back to 2008. (The worst was 2012 when UM allowed 30.5 points per game.)

The defensive struggles have fans calling for the ousting of defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio. However, head coach Al Golden has come to his defensive leader's defense in recent weeks and a change doesn't appear to be imminent.

Luckily for Miami, the Canes will be playing one of the worst defenses in the ACC. The Cavaliers have allowed a league-worst 33.8 points per game and were blown out by Clemson and North Carolina in back-to-back games before having a bye week last week.

If Miami wants to run the football, Virginia is definitely the ACC team one would want to be playing. The Cavs rank dead last in rushing defense, allowing an average of 183.2 rushing yards per game. Virginia also has allowed 26 rushing touchdowns in 2013 and gives up an average of 4.55 yards per carry to opponents.

The Cavs have also been gashed by big running plays this season. Virginia has given up 58 running plays of at least 10 yards, 24 of at least 20 yards, 15 of at least 30 yards, and 4 plays of at least 40 yards this season.

The Cavs' pass defense is a marginally better, ranking 10th in the 14 team ACC, allowing 234.3 yards through the air per game. Virginia also has given up twice as many passing touchdowns as it has intercepted in 2013.

The Canes and Cavs are set to kickoff at Sun Life Stadium at noon. The game will also be broadcast on ESPNU.

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