CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- With hair still wet from his postgame shower at Florida State, Eric Winston's mind already was focused on Clemson.
''A must win for us," the Miami Hurricanes' left tackle said. He may be right.
Not since 1978 has a Miami team opened a season with two straight losses, and if the Hurricanes are to extend that run, they'll need to go into No. 20 Clemson's home stadium and knock off the unbeaten and confident Tigers (2-0) tomorrow afternoon.
''We know there's a lot lying on this game," Hurricanes quarterback Kyle Wright said.
September may only be half over, but the Hurricanes certainly know that two losses at this point may doom their hopes of winning the Atlantic Coast Conference and returning to the Bowl Championship Series.
''We don't talk about losing at the University of Miami," said Hurricanes coach Larry Coker, whose team lost its season opener at Florida State, 10-7, on Labor Day and hasn't played since. ''We're not even thinking about losing. We're going there to prepare and win the football game. That's our mentality."
Coker's team was a heavy favorite to beat Clemson a year ago and seemed well on its way, taking a 17-3 halftime lead inside Miami's Orange Bowl. But the Tigers got three touchdown runs from Reggie Merriweather -- the last in overtime -- and beat Miami, 24-17, sending the Hurricanes to their second straight loss.
Miami simply cannot afford to have Clemson send it on another two-game slide.
''This is a game we need to win, without question," Coker said. ''Is it do or die? No, we lost two last year and we didn't die until Virginia Tech. It's a very, very important game for us, but to say it's do or die, I wouldn't say that at this point."