There was an interesting phenomenon in Central Connecticut State this week.
Some players with lingering pain and sore ankles, conditions that could prevent them from training for other weeks, appear to have recovered quickly. Looks like everyone wants to make sure they can play this week.
The lower division Blue Devils (1-2) visit the now unranked, battered and shaken Miami Hurricanes (1-2) on Saturday, a game that, even amid Miami’s current struggles, should be a one-sided shift.
“This one is easy to motivate,” said USCC coach Ryan McCarthy. “It shouldn’t be like that, but they’re 18 to 22 year olds. Believe me, I won’t have to say much to get them ready to play this one.
The last time CCSU – who went 11-2 in 2019, then didn’t play last season due to the pandemic – faced a Power Five team, they lost 43 points to Syracuse in 2017. They lost a 46-point game against Southeast Louisiana last weekend, at its 5,500-seat stadium in New Britain, Connecticut, with about half the seats unfilled.
This week, they’re playing in an NFL palace that regularly hosts Super Bowls, on TV, against a program with five national championships and a whole slew of alumni who make millions playing on Sundays. And while there will be some wide eyes when CCSU heads to Hard Rock Stadium for its Friday visit, McCarthy is preparing for this game just like he does any other.
“What will be will be,” said McCarthy. “I know, really, there’s not a lot of pressure per se because we’re not supposed to win this game. We’re supposed to come down, play a game, obviously make the Miami fans happy for a few days before they play against another team and cash the check. Well, that’s not why you got into this business. You enter this business to compete.
Quarterback D’Eriq King (shoulder) is in pain and is unlikely to play, which means either Tyler Van Dyke or Jake Garcia will get their first career start for the Hurricanes. Miami coach Manny Diaz has said both of these quarterbacks will play. King started all 13 regular season games in Miami, as well as last season’s bowl game, since arriving on campus in 2020.
Miami, as you might expect when an FBS school plays against an FCS school, is going to have a major size advantage in the trenches. The Hurricanes have 20 players weighing 300 pounds or more on their roster; CCSU has eight players who register at 300 or more. The Hurricanes’ total roster weighs about two tons more than that of the CCSU, with a Miami player averaging about 15 pounds more than his CCSU counterpart.
THE LAST TIME
The schools never met, but CCSU’s last game against an FBS opponent almost came as a big surprise. The Blue Devils led Eastern Michigan 29-28 after a 68-yard touchdown pass with 2:05 left to play, then recovered the ball after an interception with 1:15 to play. But the assured CCSU training ended in disaster, with a blocked punt and UEM pushed him back 30 yards for the winning touchdown with 10 seconds left on the clock.
Miami has just five days after that game to prepare for the Atlantic Coast Conference opener against Virginia. The Hurricanes plan to use a slew of young players against CCSU, hoping to get some early rests before the conference game.
FOR THE EFFORT
Miami is paying CCSU $ 650,000 to play in this non-conference game.
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