LOUISVILLE (CBSMiami) – It’s been over eight months since the Miami Hurricanes last played a down of football. The wait for a new season may have seemed longer due to the way that the Hurricanes ended their 2013 campaign.
Back in December, the Canes faced off against Louisville in the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando, Florida. The Cardinals embarrassed Miami, routing the Hurricanes 36-9 to cap off a season that started out full of promise but ended in disappointment.READ MORE: Martin's 26 Points Lead Heat To 104-92 Victory Over Blazers
Now it’s a new year full of potential for Miami, but they’ll first have to get past the team that denied the Hurricanes of their first bowl win since 2006.
In a rematch of last season’s bowl game, Miami and Louisville will battle in each team’s season opener at 8 p.m. on Monday at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.
The Hurricanes are coming off of a 9-4 season in which they started with seven consecutive wins before dropping three straight to Florida State, Virginia Tech and Duke, with the last one all but ending Miami’s hopes of a berth into the ACC Championship Game.
Now they’ll face a Louisville team coming off a 12-1 season that had them ranked 13th in the final AP and USA Today coaches’ polls.
Unlike last year when the Canes didn’t’ play their first conference opponent until the 5th game of the season, Miami opens their new campaign against the latest team to join the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Monday’s game will mark the debut of Louisville in the ACC.
It will also be the debut of the Hurricanes’ true freshman quarterback, Brad Kaaya. The 18-year-old beat out senior transfer Jake Heaps for the starting job during the Canes training camp and will become the first true freshman to start at quarterback since Jacory Harris in 2008.
Kaaya joined the Hurricanes as a 4-star prospect out of West Hills, California and was the seventh-best pro-style quarterback in the nation based on the rankings of 247Sports.READ MORE: Florida Abortion Bill Passes First Hurdle
He had a big year during his senior season at West Hills Chaminade, leading them to a state championship while throwing for 3,853 yards, 27 touchdowns, six interceptions and one rushing touchdown.
Kaaya was an All-American at Chaminade and graduated with a 4.0 GPA. He’ll turn 19 years old on Wednesday.
Now he takes over a Miami squad looking to build off of the positives of 2013 and start rebuilding the program into the powerhouse that it became known for.
One thing that will certainly take some of the weight off of Kaaya’s shoulders is a healthy Duke Johnson.
The electrifying tailback will play on Monday for the first time since breaking his ankle during the Canes loss at Florida State last year. Johnson managed to rush for 920 yards despite missing the final five games last season.
Johnson is 133 yards away from becoming just the ninth player in Hurricanes history to rush for 2,000 yards.
The offensive weapons don’t end with Johnson though. Kaaya will have several talented receivers to throw to, all of whom have big-play ability.
Phillip Dorsett, Stacy Coley, Herb Waters and tight end Clive Walford make up a receiving corps that can be one of the best in college football. Whether or not Kaaya can take advantage of that remains to be seen, but we’ll get a good idea of how the Hurricanes offense is going to run on Monday night in Louisville.MORE NEWS: Federal Government Sets Aside $1.1 Billion To Restore Ailing Florida Everglades
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