I can remember the last 34 meetings with Miami. I think this one ranks No. 3 for me, behind the 1993 win and the "Dexter Carter" win over what was one of Miami's best teams.
Some thoughts on positives, negatives, and areas where I'm still not sure.
THE GOOD (OR GREAT)
O-line -- I'm not sure if it was Datko making a big difference or what, but they were strong and nasty and dominant. Hudson was back to 2009 form and I don't believe Ponder was sacked. If this becomes the standard for this group, my win percentages will climb.
Lonne Pryor -- I said after the first time that I saw him he looked like an Edgar Bennett clone -- he is only reinforcing that view. Frankly, I think he needs to get the ball more, but his blocking is ferocious and he is becoming a key part of this team's foundation.
Mister Alexander -- perhaps no player exemplifies the difference between the prior and current regimes. He was maginalized as situational pass rusher last year. This year, he is a complete outside linebacker who is our fiercest hitter and is a leader on this team.
Mark Stoops -- if this is where we are after just SIX GAMES ... imagine where we will be in 2012!
Christian Ponder -- he did a lot of good things, but it's amazing what we're doing without him being "on." He is not throwing accurately on the run, still make some poor decisions and just doesn't seem to have found a groove all season. I'd like to see a wide view on the interception -- Miami blitzed and B. Reed was triple covered -- surely somebody was open. He's certainly not playing horribly and his toughness can not be questioned, but if he could regain last year's mid-season form, this team would be scary.
Nick Moody -- His stock is rising with me. I know he is still learning the position and gets caught out of position. But I think there is real intangible value in having such a heavy hitter at safety. Perhaps a few of the Canes' drops could be attributed to footsteps???
Pass rush -- I know it might seem ridiculous given our sack stats, but there were too many times when our four-man rush really generated no pressure at all.
NOT SO GOOD
Bert Reed - Continue to be unimpressed with Reed. He is not making tough catches and his not showing elusiveness. Of particular note was his weak effort on the reverse when he basically just dove in a fox hole when confronted by Miami defenders.
Lamarcus Joyner -- He's going to be fine, but enough with the "X" hand signal after a pedestrian defensive play
This game was MUCH closer than the score indicated -- we were terrific in red zone and the fumble play was huge. This game is a HUGE step, but I think caution is still wise. We've still gof four games on our schedule we can easily lose. Still, there is no getting around the importance of this victory. N.C. State game becomes huge. A win there would virtually lock up the ACC. Will be interesting to see the team's attutude against a terrible BC team.