Once again, the Miami defense shut down its opponent in commanding fashion. The ‘Canes first team defensive unit did not surrender any points to the new division 1-A foe UConn, proving that this team did not look ahead to the FSU game.
“Whether people want to believe us or not, we never look ahead,” said UM senior defensive end Andrew Williams. “We took care of business and now we can start thinking about the FSU game.”
Williams was a major factor in the Miami 48-14 victory on Saturday, as he scored his first career touchdown on a 56-yard fumble recovery in the second quarter.
“It felt great to get in the end zone,” Williams said. “However, as a team, we would have liked to finish them off in the second half and have them put up a goose egg.”
The Huskies did manage to score 14 points in the second half, seven of which came on a blocked punt return for a touchdown. The UConn scores came against mostly UM reserves, but the team as a whole still wants to play their best game until the final buzzer sounds.
“We played solid defense in the first half, but definitely could have played better in the second half,” UM junior middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma said. “We better play four solid quarters next week if we want to beat a tough FSU squad.”
One of the biggest questions coming into this season for the Hurricanes was whether the offense would establish a second wide receiver option for Ken Dorsey after Andre Johnson.
Junior wide receiver Kevin Beard answered the calling with a career game against the Huskies in which Dorsey found him twice in the end zone in the first half. Beard finished the game with five receptions for 51 yards and two touchdowns. Beard was proud to have a good showing, but understands its only one game.
“It felt really good to go out there and make some big plays,” Beard said. “If you practice hard all week, it will pay off on Saturdays. One game doesn’t make you a good player though. I just want to make plays for the team and become better as the season moves on.”
Left defensive end Jerome McDougle made his first start of the season, after backing up Cornelius Green in Miami’s first four contests. McDougle earned the starting role after a strong performance against Boston College. The decision paid off, as McDougle recorded two sacks and four tackles.
Last year, McDougle started all 12 games.
On the offensive side of the ball, freshman tight end Eric Winston made his first career start, replacing Kellen Winslow Jr. on Saturday.
The start was only for the first series however, as Winslow made his first appearance on Miami’s second drive. Coach Larry Coker said that Winslow violated team policy earlier this week.
With an attendance of 52,131 on Saturday, Miami is on pace to break the average home attendance record this season…Dorsey was sacked for the fifth time this season. Last year, Miami only surrendered four sacks…Redshirt freshman Quadtrine Hill made his fifth consecutive start at fullback. Coker said last week that Kyle Cobia would get the start, but Cobia wound up not dressing due to a stinger injury in his neck…Freshman Glenn Sharpe started his third game of the season.
You can reach Brian Poliakoff at b.poliakoff at umiami.edu.