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Miami's QB focuses on present, not past

“It’s a big game because it’s an ACC game,” said Jacory Harris, who sustained a concussion last year against Virginia. “It’s not big because of what happened last year.”

Associated Press (2010)

“It’s a big game because it’s an ACC game,” said Jacory Harris, who sustained a concussion last year against Virginia. “It’s not big because of what happened last year.”

MIAMI — Jacory Harris isn't out for revenge tonight against Virginia. In fact, he says what the Cavaliers did to him in 2010 might have set the tone for his stellar play in 2011.

The quarterback was knocked out of the Hurricanes' game at the Cavaliers a year ago with a concussion. And when Harris returned, he struggled, including throwing three first-quarter interceptions against Notre Dame in the Sun Bowl.

This season, he's clicking with 12 touchdown passes and only four interceptions entering tonight's home game against Virginia, in which Miami seeks its first three-game win streak since October 2009.

"It's a big game because it's an ACC game," Harris, a 6-foot-4 195-pound senior, said. "It's not big because of what happened last year. Last year is last year. Things happen. I got hit; got knocked out. But it was a great thing. It helped me, I guess, find the next level and start really recognizing a lot of things in life."

Harris threw 32 interceptions as a sophomore and a junior. But he had gone more than 17 quarters without one before a deflected pass during the fourth quarter of Saturday's win over Georgia Tech.

"He'll just continue to get better, I believe," Virginia coach Mike London said. "He's already got the height and the arm strength and the skills. His touchdown-to-interception ratio has dramatically increased because he can read the roads and he can put the ball and place the ball where it needs to be placed."

At 2-2 in the ACC, Miami (4-3) sits one game back of Virginia Tech in the Coastal Division. But because they lost to the Hokies on Oct. 8, the Hurricanes can't afford another loss if they hope to reach the conference title game. Virginia (4-3, 1-2) also cannot afford another ACC loss.

And the game comes after a short week of preparation, both teams getting only four days to recover from Saturday's games.

Miami (15-2 on Thursdays) will play without starting right tackle Jon Feliciano, who injured an ankle during a touchdown celebration against the Yellow Jackets. Malcolm Bunche will start in his place.

The teams have split the past four meetings. That includes Virginia's 48-0 win in 2007, Miami's final game at the Orange Bowl.

"This will be a good test for us," Miami coach Al Golden said. "Virginia's done a nice job against us in the last couple years. We're both coming off a short week, so it'll be a challenge mentally."

Harris said he's ready for the challenge.

"I know what people have been saying about me the last couple years," Harris said. "I might not show it all the time, but I remember. I'm just trying to do my part and help this team."

>>Tonight

Miami vs. Virginia

When/where: 8; Sun Life Stadium, Miami

TV/radio: ESPN; 1470-AM

Line: Miami by 131/2

Weather: 82 degrees, 40 percent chance of rain

Miami's QB focuses on present, not past 10/26/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 7:51pm]
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