Happy Holidays Canes Fans! I’m sure most of you have been busy this time of year as I have as well. I apologize for not posting sooner but with a week before kick-off for the Canes Bowl game, I figured I better put some things aside and get this article done.
Way back in the days after Randy Shannon was relieved, then president Donna Shalala received a newspaper marking the his dismissal. It was from a friend Donald Trump. On it he wrote in marker across the article,”You should have hired my friend Mike Leach!” OK, thanks but no thanks. Leach runs an offense that is wide open. Not something that would go to well with the Canes faithful. Yes there are other issues/reasons we probably stayed away from Leach but I won’t get into them. What I do want to discuss is some of the players that have lead the Cougars to not only an impressive 8-4 mark in 2015, but also what one would consider some quality wins over teams such as Oregon, UCLA and Arizona Sate but also suffered some head scratching loses to Portland State and Washington. Like we have seen to many times over the past few seasons in the Canes, wondering what team will show up for Washington. Let’s look at a few of the players who will take the field for the Cougars and need to play well for them to have success in the Sun Bowl this coming Saturday at 2:30 eastern.
Quaterback – Luke Falk. After suffering a severe concussion in late November, Falk will lead the offense labelled “The Air Raid”. Falk earned all-conference QB honors and has lit up the scoreboard this season throwing for 4,266 yards and 36 touchdowns despite missing the final game. As much as he passes having only 8 interceptions shows how he has developed over his short career.
Receivers – As mentioned when you have an air raid type offense, your receivers are going to show some big numbers as well. Gabe Marks enters the game with 99 receptions for over 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns. Along side Falk also has Dom Williams who checks in with 73 receptions for 997 yards and 11 scores.
Running Back – The Cougars aren’t necessarily a run oriented team but when they due it is usually in the form of Gerald Wicks who has just about 600 yards rushing for the season. He is a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield and has 36 receptions.
The Cougars will yield about 200 yards rushing and 225 yards passing on average per game. There defense usually sees a lot of time due the nature of the offense. What is impressive as I look through the defensive stats is the amount of tackles for loss they have, 96 for the season or 8 per game. Two players may reach the 100 tackle plateau for the season. As mentioned they will see a lot of time on the field.
Peyton Pelleur – Peyton is a 4th generation player for the Cougars. He leads the team with 98 tackles with 11 for a loss. Very impressive numbers for a sophmore.
Jeremiah Allison – Entering this contest with 91 tackles, Jeremiah has a shot at hitting the century mark in tackles. He also has 5 tackles for a loss. Side note on Jeremiah, he was heavily recruited by Yale. Bright future for him.
Shalom Luani – A Juco transfer, Shalom from American Samoa, starts as a Junior in the safety position. He checks in with 86 tackles and also 3 interceptions. Seems like he covers a lot of ground.
I believe if Miami is to be successful against the Cougars, they will have to play a slow tempo game. If this game turns into a shoot-out it will play into the hands of the Cougars. As much as I hate to admit it, this team compares well to the Cincinnati team Miami faced on a Thursday night early on in the season. The Canes are a better team now then they were at that point. These two team should provide what a lot are expecting to be one of the more exciting bowl games of the season.