Through spurts of heavy rain, it was a half of offense for both teams. The Hurricanes are up on the Pittsburgh Panthers 27-21 after racking up 326 yards of total offense in the first two quarters combined.
Junior quarterback Brad Kaaya showed what he could do with time in the pocket, completing his first 13 passes. He dominated the half, completing 19 of his 28 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns. Kaaya even rushed in for a one-yard score late in the second quarter.
Miami came out of the gate running on Saturday afternoon with a six play, 75-yard touchdown drive that took just 2:14 off the clock. The drive was highlighted by two plays: a 41-yard Kaaya bomb to freshman receiver Ahmmon Richards to get the offense in the red zone and a 12-yard pass to junior tight end David Njoku who flipped into the end zone for the score.
The euphoria for Canes fans would not last long. On the following kickoff, Pittsburgh returner Quadree Henderson would not be touched as he flew 100 yards through poor Miami coverage to reach the end zone, thus tying the score at 7-7.
Miami would rebound, coming right back with an 11-play, 77-yard scoring drive that culminated in a Kaaya touchdown pass to senior wideout Stacy Coley. Kaaya lobbed up a perfect fade pass that allowed Coley to rise up and make a play, snagging the ball with both hands.
Defense was a struggle for both teams, with no sacks and only four tackles for loss combined in the entire first half.
The Panthers took the lead for the first time on a 23-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Nathan Peterman to fullback George Aston, but the Canes fired back with a 71-yard touchdown drive to get back in front.