By: Shasky Clarke
Miami 21, Florida 16
QB Stephen Morris 12/25 162 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
RB Duke Johnson 21 car., 59 yards (2.8), 1 TD
WR Allen Hurns 4 rec., 60 yards
WR Phillip Dorsett 1 rec., 52 yards, 1 TD
QB Jeff Driskel 22/33 291 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT
RB Matt Jones 18 car., 47 yards (2.6)
RB Mack Brown 10 car., 29 yards (2.9)
WR Solomon Patton 6 rec., 118 yards, 1 TD
WR Quinton Dunbar 7 rec., 98 yards
It wasn’t pretty but, on a national stage, Miami closed out the biggest win the program has had in years with its victory over #12 ranked Florida. Florida was the better team for much of the game. Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel shouldered his offense for most of the game, passing for almost 300 yards at a 67% completion percentage.
After a hot start, Miami’s offense struggled to move the ball with any kind of consistency. The offense converted a mere one of their eleven third downs. The rushing attack averaged less than two yards per attempt.
Even though their defense came up huge against a potent run game, Florida dominated in time of possession and moved the ball well between the 20’s. The Hurricanes, however, were the beneficiary of a whopping five Gator turnovers, with a number of them terminating Florida scoring opportunities.
Miami didn’t play well, but it made big plays. A Phillip Dorsett 52 yard bomb against broken coverage, a Jeff Driskel overthrow to an open receiver on a slant in the end zone, two interceptions and three key fumble recoveries allowed Miami to overcome being outplayed on both sides of the ball. However, the Gators are a member of the Southeastern Conference’s elite and were a top twelve team with a top defense and NFL-caliber quarterback.
The game served as a good litmus test for Miami’s roster. They could still use an elite quarterback, a bonafide number one receiver and more overall talent on defense. But this win should cement the #15 ranked Hurricanes as a ten-game winner in 2012. And, after such a huge home victory in front of 77,000 on national television, they should enjoy even more success in recruiting.
Miami Run Defense
The Miami front seven had a tall task entering the Florida game and far exceeded expectations with their performance. The team placed its focus primarily on stopping the run and, outside of some Jeff Driskel read-option runs, succeeded all game. Miami’s defensive front bulked up this offseason and it appears that it has paid off.
Led by the stoutness and physicality of defensive tackles Curtis Porter, Olsen Pierre and Luther Robinson, Miami’s defense held Florida to under three yards per carry. Junior linebacker Denzel Perryman, who has 19 tackles through two games, displayed his range and physicality, appearing around the ball all game. Florida’s banged up offensive line was exposed and failed to generate any push or running room, hindering their offense in the red zone and leaving the ball in the hands of a passing game lacking great outside weapons.
Miami Passing Game
Miami’s lack of an efficient pass game must be addressed if it wants to maximize what 2012 can be. Stephen Morris has been inconsistent, and the pass protection hasn’t always been seamless. But the good news is that all of the main Hurricane pass-catchers flashed on Saturday.
Slot receiver Herb Waters took advantage of man-to-man against a safety, catching a touchdown on a corner route in the end zone. Phillip Dorsett showcased his elite wheels, completing a 52 yard deep ball over the middle of the field for the team’s second touchdown. Allen Hurns was again terrific after the catch, breaking tackles on shorter passes as the team’s leading receiver. Tight end Clive Walford moved the chains, similarly showing open field elusiveness.
An often vertically-focused pass offense, the Hurricanes would benefit from an increased focus on executing a short passing attack. The team only had twelve completions, a paltry sum for such a deep, explosive and dangerous cast of open-field runners, including their best player, running back Duke Johnson. Stephen Morris is a great deep ball passer, but the lack of execution and precision so far this season is hurting the offense’s efficiency, often leading to low-percentage third-and-longs and short possessions.
DE Tyriq McCord 6’3” 236 So.
In game one, freshman end Al-Quadin Muhammad played the role of dynamic edge rusher in nickel packages. Against Florida, it was sophomore Tyriq McCord who utilized his speed, quickness and flexibility to victimize both the left and right tackles. Up 14-9 in the fourth quarter, and in the signature play of the game, McCord abused fill-in left tackle Max Garcia for a sack and forced fumble that gave Miami the ball. Though they ought to add more bulk over time, Muhammad and McCord could be a very productive dynamic edge rushing duo over the next few years.
Miami: Next week- Bye. Saturday, 9/21, vs. Savannah State
Florida: Next week- Bye. Saturday, 9/21, vs. Tennessee