Devin Hester returned two punts for touchdowns and Tyrone Moss scored twice as Miami (2-0, 1-0) cruised to a 48-0 victory over Louisiana Tech (2-1, 0-0) in front of 53,721 fans Saturday at the Orange Bowl.
Hester’s first return, a 51-yarder, came with 10:57 left in the second quarter to give the Hurricanes a 24-0 advantage, and his second, a 92-yarder in the fourth quarter, increased the ‘Canes’ lead to 48 points.
“Obviously, Devin is a pretty special player,” Head Coach Larry Coker said. “We need to work on his role and get him more involved on the defensive side too. Basically, he’s learning, and he will be a special player for us.”
Moss scored the first two touchdowns of the game for Miami from four and 15 yards out, finishing with 69 yards on seven carries. Frank Gore added 64 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown.
“I am really pleased with the play of Gore and Moss,” Coker said. “Those two look like what we’d like to see them look like. They’re a dynamic tandem.”
Quarterback Brock Berlin completed 10 of 14 passes for 122 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Back-ups Derrick Crudup and Kyle Wright played most of the second half, combining to go 2-for-8 for 45 yards.
While the offense showed improvement from last week’s overtime win over Florida State, the defense continued its dominance in shutting out the Bulldogs and holding the nation’s leading rusher, Ryan Moats, to 81 yards on 14 carries. The Hurricanes have not allowed an offensive touchdown this season.
Coker said he was more than satisfied with his team’s all-around performance.
“It was a good win for us,” Coker said. “This was a game that, on paper, we were supposed to win and we were able to learn a lot more about ourselves.”
Miami got on the board late in the first quarter when Moss scored a four-yard touchdown after Berlin completed a 30-yard pass to tight end Greg Olsen. On the ensuing drive, Moats coughed up the ball for Louisiana Tech, which Antrel Rolle recovered and returned 47 yards. Three plays later, Moss scored his second touchdown to give the Hurricanes a 14-0 lead.
Jon Peattie connected on a 33-yard field goal attempt on the ‘Canes’ first drive of the second quarter to make the score 17-0. After the defense forced a Bulldogs three-and-out, Hester did not let the offense get back on the field, returning Matt Butler’s punt for a 51-yard touchdown to make it 24-0.
Both offenses stalled for a few series before Thomas Carroll sacked Louisiana Tech quarterback Donald Allen, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Teraz McCray. Four plays later, Berlin connected with Darnell Jenkins for an 11-yard touchdown. Peattie added another field goal after the Bulldogs fumbled Brian Monroe’s kickoff to make the halftime score 34-0.
The second half was much less eventful, as both teams emptied their benches during garbage time to give the starters some rest. Wright entered the game late in the third quarter to a standing ovation from the Hurricane faithful. He was sacked twice, going 1-for-3 for six yards.
Up next for the Hurricanes is a trip to Houston, where they will take on the University of Houston Thursday at 7:45 p.m.
Eric Kalis can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org