Midseason report: Miami

Miami’s biggest question heading into the season was whether or not the beleaguered defense would improve enough to make the Hurricanes a legit contender to win the Coastal Division.

That question was answered in Week 2.

Miami and its defense made a statement with a 21-16 upset of then-No. 12-ranked Florida. The defense was the difference, as Tyriq McCord buried Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel at the Florida 17-yard line, forcing a fumble that set up Miami's final touchdown. Florida had five turnovers, and Miami had a marquee win.

Now the Canes are 5-0, ranked No. 10 in the country, and barreling down the path toward an undefeated showdown against rival Florida State on Nov. 2. Miami has 18 sacks through five games, and has allowed two passing touchdowns, tied with Florida for the fewest in the nation. The Canes are No. 9 in the country in scoring offense at 45.2 points per game, and No. 9 in scoring defense at 16 points per game. The biggest question surrounding the Canes in the first half has been the health of quarterback Stephen Morris, who suffered a bone bruise in his ankle on Sept. 21 against Savannah State. The Canes and Morris have had a bye week to heal heading into Thursday night’s game at North Carolina, though, and expectations have only risen with the Canes’ latest ranking.

Offensive MVP: RB Dallas Crawford He leads the Canes in scoring with eight touchdowns, but what’s impressive is that he’s done it on 28 total offensive touches. Crawford has scored seven times on 25 carries. He also has one receiving touchdown.

Defensive MVP: (tie) LB Denzel Perryman (team-high 34 tackles, three pass breakups), LB Jimmy Gaines (29 tackles, two fumble recoveries, 1 touchdown) and DL Shayon Green (21 tackles, 5 TFL, 2.0 sacks, 1 forced fumble).