On opening night, it looked like it was just too easy for the No. 13 Miami Hurricanes.
Every time junior quarterback Jacory Harris took the field, the offense was in the end zone as Miami pummeled Florida A&M, 45-0, at Sun Life Stadium.
With the win, the Hurricanes improve to 4-0 in season openers under head coach Randy Shannon and 8-1 against FAMU.
Shannon was inspired how his team played opening night.
“They played physical,” said Shannon, who recorded his first shutout as a head coach. “Guys flew around. This was a different opponent then last year. We didn’t take FAMU lightly. We did some good things out there.”
Miami’s offense simply couldn’t be stopped even though it was real vanilla. Throughout the first half, the Canes ran a no huddle offense and didn’t miss on a third down conversion. The Hurricanes scored on every possession in the first half.
Miami’s 35 first half points were the most for the Canes since there 56-45 win over then-No.14 Virginia Tech on Dec. 7, 2002 in the Orange Bowl.
Harris finished with 210 yards on 12 of 15 and had three touchdowns.
Harris moved into eighth place in Miami history with 39 passing touchdown moving pasted Kyle Wright. This was the fifth time Harris has thrown for three touchdowns in a game.
“I went out there and took care of my business,” Harris said. “I would have liked to play second half but it didn’t happen.”
It just looked like a staple of running backs out there for the Hurricanes.
Senior Damien Berry recorded his first career touchdown reception on a 32-yard catch in the second quarter. Berry finish with 45 yards on six carries.
Redshirt freshman Lamar Miller led the Hurricanes with 65 yards and scored his first touchdown.
Shannon felt comfortable with his running backs against the Rattlers.
“They all did a good job out there,” Shannon said.
Senior wide receiver and captain Leonard Hankerson recorded his second career 100-yard receiving and his first multi-touchdown game. Both of his touchdowns came on seam routes.
The surprise was senior running back Graig Cooper returning. Cooper entered the game at the 5:07 mark in the third quarter after tearing his knee apart in the bowl game against Wisconsin.
Cooper’s first carry went for eight yards and finished with 24 total yards.
Harris and Shannon praised Cooper for working so hard to come back.
“Any other person would take the year off,” Shannon said. “He did a good job. He got bang around a little bit which is good.
Said Harris, “It felt very good to have him out there. It felt good to hear the crowd say ‘Coop.’”
The defensive line was stellar. Sophomore Olivier Vernon was a force on the line recording a career high 3.5 sacks.
In the secondary, sophomore safety Ray-Ray Armstrong finally made his splash in the turnover game. Armstrong returned a 22-yard interception, his first interception of his collegiate career.
“I saw the end zone,” Armstrong said. “I felt like I was in high school again on offense.”
Now the Hurricanes have to shift every moment of focus into next week as they travel to Horseshoe to face No. 2 Ohio in the first game since the 2002 National Championship lose. Shannon wants his team to remain focused.
“[This week] everyone is going to praise you,” Shannon said. “Too many times we looked ahead last year. Now, It’s going to be all over the television. They have to get past that and be focus. They have been in this situation before.”
Lelan LeDoux may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.