DURHAM, N.C. (CBSMiami) – When the final seconds of Duke’s upset victory of the Miami Hurricanes ticked off the clock Saturday night, it showed how far Blue Devils head coach David Cutcliffe had brought his team and how far Al Golden still has to go to get the Canes back to the top.
Cutcliffe is no stranger to success, especially at the quarterback position. He was the offensive coordinator for Peyton Manning at the University of Tennessee and the head coach at Ole Miss when Eli Manning played his college football for the Rebels.
But when he came to Duke, Cutcliffe had plenty of work ahead of him. While the Blue Devils have a legendary basketball program; the football program was traditionally the doormat of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
“I remember when I first got here, the team hadn’t won a game in, like, three years,” running back Josh Snead said. Cutcliffe told him: “‘Just believe. Believe in the process.’ We got a lot of guys that believe in this process, and we’re here today.”
Consider, Duke is currently 4-2 in conference play in 2013. Ted Roof, who preceded Cucliffe at Duke won a total of three conference games in five years. The coach before Roof, Carl Franks, also won just three ACC games in five years as head coach.
When Duke beat Miami on Saturday, it was the first time the Blue Devils had tasted victory against the Hurricanes since 1976. Not only that, but UM had cruised to victories over Duke since 1976 with an average margin of victory of 21 points.
Duke flipped the script Saturday, thumping Miami 48-30 and running up 358 rushing yards against the once-vaunted Hurricanes defense.
The Blue Devils’ victory over Miami, the school’s second over a ranked team in 2013, pushed its record to 8-2 on the season. Duke plays against a woeful Wake Forest team and an average North Carolina team over the final weeks of the season.
If Duke wins both of those games, the Blue Devils will win the ACC Coastal Division championship and move on to play Florida State in the ACC Championship game…in football.
While Duke was celebrating, a Miami team ravaged by injuries continued to look towards the future. Head coach Al Golden had his team at 7-0 heading into the rivalry game against Florida State earlier this year.
After a thumping at the hands of the Seminoles, and losing star running back Duke Johnson for the season, the Canes have run off back-to-back losses to Virginia Tech and Duke. The losses dropped Miami from the Top 25 in the latest poll.
Miami had reached as high as seventh in the week before the three-game losing streak began.
Head coach Al Golden has problems with a lack of explosiveness on the offensive side of the ball due to injuries and a defense that struggles to keep teams from scoring.
Miami’s defense is ranked ninth in the conference in scoring defense, allowing 25.5 points per game in 2013. The run defense is allowing 4.2 yards per carry and gives up 172.5 yards per game on the ground, which ranks the rush defense 11th in the conference.
The pass defense is roughly the same, giving up 228 yards per game, good for ninth in the conference. Miami’s pass defense has also only pulled down eight interceptions on the season, but is ranked sixth in sacks on the season with 26.
And even though Miami is struggling in the last three games, the team is still 7-3 on the season and where Golden is having his biggest impact is on rebuilding the talent level across the roster through recruiting.
Golden’s current class of prospects is ranked fourth best in the nation by Rivals.com and his latest recruits include a 330-pound defensive tackle from a junior college and 6’4”, 292 pound defensive tackle Anthony Moten from Fort Lauderdale, who is considered a four-star recruit.
Golden’s focus has been heavily on the defensive side of the ball, but he still has pulled in two four-star running back recruits in this class and a four-star quarterback from California.
Duke had the last laugh on Saturday with the 48-30 victory. The Blue Devils’ ascension has been nothing short of miraculous from the depths the program used to occupy. But, Miami is on the rise and with another season or two, could be back on top of the college football world again.
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 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.)