Special teams set tempo for Hurricanes

Devin Hester recorded his first career punt return for a touchdown in the second quarter when he ran 51 yards for the score. His second punt return of 92 yards in the fourth quarter tied Roscoe Parrish for the longest punt return in school history.

“I give all the credit to the blockers for holding up the guys and giving me a chance to find a hole and make a play,” Hester said.

The Hurricanes have had success on special teams against Louisiana Tech. Hester’s return marked the third consecutive game against the Bulldogs that the Hurricanes returned a punt for a touchdown. In addition, Hester’s 143 punt return yards puts him second all-time on the Miami single game list, behind Kevin Williams, who had 152 yards on four returns against Penn State in 1991.

Hester’s two returns marked the first time since 2000 that the Hurricanes returned two punts for a touchdown, when Santana Moss and Daryl Jones took back punts for scores against Boston College. Hester was flagged on the 92-yard punt return for taunting.

“I don’t really count the second one because I made a stupid mistake with the penalty and it was a learning experience for me. I got a little excited and it won’t happen again,” Hester said.

Peattie sets marks

Jon Peattie converted all four of his extra point attempts in the first half, which moved him into fifth-place on Miami’s all-time list with 42 consecutive PATs. He has never missed a PAT in his UM career. Also, he recorded field goals of 33 and 36 yards, moving him into a tie for eighth place on Miami’s all-time list with 25 career field goals.

Miami’s defense dominates

Miami’s defense only gave up 81 yards to Ryan Moats, the nation’s leading rusher. The Hurricanes have played seven straight games without allowing a 100-yard rusher. They shut out Louisiana Tech, marking the Hurricanes’ first shut out since Nov. 17, 2001, when they shut out Syracuse 59-0. Miami’s defense has yet to allow an offensive touchdown. The last time Miami opened the season without allowing an offensive touchdown in the first two games was in 1994. That season, the ‘Canes opened up with a 56-0 win over Georgia Southern and followed with a 49-10 win over Arizona State. Arizona State had two field goals and recorded two safeties in that game.

The 10 points allowed to open the season are the fewest for the Hurricanes since 2001 when Miami defeated Penn State 33-7 and Rutgers 61-0.

Wright debuts

Kyle Wright’s first snap of his Miami career occurred at the 2:45 mark in the third quarter. Wright’s first series resulted in two sacks and an incompletion when Wright skipped the ball off the ground.

“I wasn’t nervous, I just wasn’t used to it…I have been waiting for this day for a while and it was nice to get my first college snap,” Wright said.

In his second series, Lance Leggett dropped a pass before Wright finally completed a six-yard pass to Akieem Jolla.

“I’ll be in the newspaper tomorrow,” Wright said. “I’ll be in the little box with one completion, so that is pretty cool. I haven’t taken a hit since high school so it was just nice being out there.”

Offense improves

Miami’s offense scored 34 points in the first half, which were the most points the unit has scored in a first half since 2002, when it scored 35 in a 56-45 win over Virginia Tech.

The Hurricanes gained 204 yards on the ground in 35 attempts, a 5.3 average per attempt. Tyrone Moss had 69 yards on seven attempts and Frank Gore totaled 64 yards on 12 attempts.

Moss’s two touchdown runs tied his career high for touchdowns in a game. Greg Olsen had a career-long 30-yard reception and Jolla had a 13-yard reception in the first quarter, which was his first catch since 2002 against Connecticut.

Finally, Ryan Moore has now caught at least one pass in 15 straight games for the Hurricanes, which is the longest active streak on the team.

Darren Grossman can be contacted at d.grossman@umiami.edu.