WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Jacory Harris isn't thinking about the way Miami got off to a strong start against a difficult schedule. Instead, the quarterback is focused on keeping his Hurricanes in the Atlantic Coast Conference title hunt.
Coming off an overtime home loss to Clemson, No. 18 Miami travels to Wake Forest today knowing it can't miss out on any wins in a crowded division race.
"Everybody's been running around full speed in practice this week, acting like 'This can't happen again,'" Harris said. "We've said that before, but now we've dug ourselves too deep a hole.
"We can't let it go any deeper."
The Hurricanes (5-2, 2-2) had won three consecutive games before the 40-37 loss to the Tigers. That dropped them back in the Coastal Division race behind one-loss teams Georgia Tech, Duke, Virginia and Virginia Tech, though that was before the Hokies' surprising home loss to North Carolina on Thursday night.
While the Hokies have the tiebreaker on the Hurricanes by winning the head-to-head matchup, the Hurricanes handed the Yellow Jackets their only loss in September and still have home games against the Blue Devils and Cavaliers.
Then again, none of those games matter much if the Hurricanes can't win their cross-divisional game against the Demon Deacons (4-4, 2-2). Coach Randy Shannon is refusing to talk about trying to finish the regular season at 10-2 because "that's when you lose focus on the next game, and that's what we can't do right now."
Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe feels the same way. His team is trying to ride the arm of four-year starter Riley Skinner - who led the Demon Deacons to the ACC championship as a freshman - to a bowl game for the fourth straight year.
But Wake Forest has lost two in a row and has seen its offense go from among the league's best to struggling to get into the end zone, which only puts increasing pressure on its young defense.