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Until a week ago, Morris thought this would be a redshirt season. And with Harris still just a junior, it stood to reason that the Hurricanes wouldn’t have asked Morris to play a big role until 2012.

One hit _ the one that knocked Harris out of the game in Virginia _ changed everything.

“We’re not looking for Stephen to win the game,” Shannon said. “We’re looking for Stephen Morris just to manage the game, and some guys around him have to really step up and play some good defense.”

Against Maryland, that’s probably a good idea.

The Terrapins are one of only three major college teams to score 60 or more points twice in a game this season. Oregon has done it three times, Oklahoma State twice, and Maryland put up 62 against both Morgan State and Wake Forest.

Then again, Maryland isn’t always an offensive juggernaut, either, averaging 328 yards in conference games this season _ ninth-best in a 12-team league.

“It’s been a crazy ride … but right now we need to get ready for Miami,” O'Brien said. “And that’s where my focus is right now.”

Miami’s focus might be all over the map right now.

Losing at Virginia cost the Hurricanes control of the Coastal race, top running back Damien Berry will miss Saturday’s game with a sore quadriceps muscle (though he’s expected back next week), and even the weather _ game time temperatures are supposed to be unseasonably cool, around the low 60s _ doesn’t seem to be on Miami’s side.

The Hurricanes say they’re undeterred.

After their final practice of the week, every Miami defensive player hopped on the back of someone from the offensive side of the ball for a 50-yard piggyback ride.

They whooped. They hollered. They slapped each other’s helmets.

Watching it, one would never know their ACC title hopes are at stake.

“I don’t think they’ll be tight this week,” Shannon said. “I think they’ll play great.”