POSTED SEPT. 21 AT 5 P.M.
The Hurricanes have not seen such solid quarterback play from Kyle Wright for a long time. He threw two touchdowns and no interceptions and was 21-of-26 for 275 yards. If it were not for the fumble he gave up while scrambling for a first down and a bad throw or two, he would have aced this game.
Running Backs: C-
Excluding a 30 yard run by Graig Cooper and two direct snaps, one by Cooper and the other by Javarris James, the running game was almost ineffective, averaging just 3.2 yards per carry. James and Cooper chipped in with one rushing touchdown a piece, but two lost fumbles by Cooper hurt the team.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: A
Seven different players got involved in this unit, including James and Cooper. Sam Shields had a career-best 117 yards on the day, including 51 and 36 yard receptions. Additionally, Lance Leggett caught a 40 yard reception, while Chris Zellner and Cooper had touchdown receptions. The units also kept drops to a minimum.
Offensive Line: B+
They were solid protecting Wright and give him time to throw, allowing only two sacks. The problem lied in their ability to open up holes for Cooper and James. Overall, though, this unit had a very solid game.
Defensive Line: B+
The group put constant pressure on A&M quarterback Stephen McGee, sacking him twice. They did allow 98 yards on the ground, but it was on 3.0 yards per carry. Additionally, Eric Moncur chipped in with a forced fumble, while Calais Campbell recovered an A&M fumble.
The linebackers had another solid game. Colin McCarthy led all Hurricanes with seven tackles. He also came up with an interception, which he almost turned for a pick-six. Spencer Adkins got involved with two tackles and one sack.
The secondary did not allow big plays, with the exception of a 33 yard touchdown pass in the waning minutes of the game, which came against UM’s second and third string defenders. Although the unit did not see much action all game, Willie Cooper was able to record a sack and force a fumble.
Special Teams: C
Besides Willie Cooper’s forced fumble on a kick return in the second quarter, things were rather lackluster for this unit. It seems the days of Santana Moss and Devin Hester are long gone, made evident by UM’s inability to get things going on punts and kicks. Francesco Zampogna hit two out of three field goals, missing a 36 yard attempt. The punting game was nothing special either.
Randy Shannon and his staff called a good game. They took some chances, converting 3-of-3 fourth downs, and got creative with a number of direct snaps. Additionally, the fact that the ‘Canes only had two penalties, says something about the way the coaching staff prepared and disciplined their players for this game.
Pravin Patel may be contacted at email@example.com.