It took five games for No. 9 Miami to dominate an opponent from start to finish, which the Hurricanes accomplished in a 52-7 rout of Duke at the Orange Bowl on Saturday.
Quarterbacks Kyle Wright and Kirby Freeman combined for five passing touchdowns to five different receivers and running back Tyrone Moss added two scores on the ground to help UM (4-1) coast to victory.
Miami’s defense was unforgiving, holding the Blue Devils (1-5) to 128 yards of total offense, with 81 coming on a Ronnie Drummer touchdown run and five first downs. Duke quarterback Zack Asack, making his second career start, completed only four of 15 passes for eight yards.
Wright went 18-for-31 for 255 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. He was lifted midway through the third quarter for Freeman with Miami on top 38-7. Freeman hooked up with Ryan Moore and Chris Zellner for touchdowns to complete the scoring.
“I felt like I was back in high school, getting taken out of the game so early,” Wright said. “It’s definitely encouraging to see not only quarterbacks get some time, but some young offensive linemen and running backs as well.”
The Hurricanes blew an early chance to score when Wright’s pass was dropped by Moore into the hands of cornerback Chris Davis for an interception at Duke’s five-yard line. The offense got another chance after defensive end Eric Moncur recovered a Drummer fumble on Duke’s seven-yard line. Moss rushed for a touchdown on the next play to give UM a 7-0 lead.
After a 21-yard Jon Peattie field goal early in the second quarter, Wright found Lance Leggett for a 29-yard touchdown to increase Miami’s lead to 17 points.
The Blue Devils failed to move the ball on their next possession, and Devin Hester burned Duke with a 43-yard highlight-reel punt return. Two plays later, tight end Greg Olsen made a nifty one-handed touchdown catch, eluding the grasp of cornerback John Talley and running 18 yards for a 24-0 Miami lead.
“It turned out to be a good play,” Olsen said. “I just stuck my hand out there and caught it. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do to get into the end zone, so I just tried to avoid [Talley] and it worked.”
Sinorice Moss got involved in the first half scoring frenzy with a 26-yard touchdown catch on the next Miami possession.
The Blue Devils tried to sneak back into the game in the third quarter. Facing third-and-12 at the Duke 18, Drummer fooled UM’s defense on a draw play, breaking through for an 81-yard touchdown, Duke’s longest play of the season.
Miami erased any thoughts of a comeback with a 10 play, 80-yard drive, ending in a one-yard Moss touchdown plunge with 6:57 left in the third quarter. Up 38-7, UM Head Coach Larry Coker emptied the bench, and the second offense responded with two late touchdowns.
“This was really what we needed,” Coker said. “We played a lot of people today. I expect the morale to be good [this week] when we go to practice.”
Eric Kalis can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.