MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Last season, the Tigers lost 84-0 to Oklahoma State and 55-0 to Florida State, that game ending 24 minutes early because of lightning. This year, Savannah State has already been beaten 77-9 by Georgia Southern and 66-3 by Troy, a pair of teams that went out and promptly lost their respective league openers.
So sure, a lopsided win by 16th-ranked Miami is the only logical expectation.
And that's the sort of talk that Hurricanes coach Al Golden has painstakingly tried to avoid this week.
"There's innumerable things that we're trying to fix right now that nobody is aware that they're even issues yet, and we're trying to get them fixed before they get exposed," Golden said. "I didn't worry about the spread or anything like that when we played Florida two weeks ago. We didn't worry about the other team. We trusted the process. We prepared. We made the week about us, and to be honest with you, this week is no different."
Savannah State is getting $375,000 for playing this game, though coach Earnest Wilson insists his program is going to get far more out of this experience than a nice check. For his team, it's another chance to see what the next level is all about.
"I'm not even looking for the check," Wilson said. "Like I tell everyone, we have three different helmets, we've got three different uniforms, we've got everything that everybody else has."
Then again, they also have something almost nobody else has ever had — the chance to be a 60-point underdog.
That's the spread on this game in some sports books this week. And keep in mind, Miami didn't score 60 points in its first two games combined this season — not to mention hasn't scored that many in any game since 2001, some 139 contests ago.
"I like where we're at right now," Golden said. "And hopefully we have a whole organization right now that's not worrying about spreads."
Here's five things to watch when Savannah State plays No. 16 Miami:
MIAMI'S STARTERS: How long will Miami quarterback Stephen Morris or running back Duke Johnson play? Odds are, probably not too long, though there will probably be some tough decisions for Golden to make on Saturday night. For one thing, Miami is coming off a bye, so the Hurricanes will want to get their starters some reps again. But Golden will also be weighing risk versus reward, and he doesn't seem like the sort who will give any thought to running up big individual numbers.
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