The four touchdowns Miami scored in the first half all came on possessions that lasted less than a minute. The drives combined took 1:53 off the clock. Saturday marked the breakout of a Miami offense that had been stagnant for much of the year, and seeing quick scoring strikes pleases the players and coaching staff.
Wide receiver Lance Leggett said the offense still has some things to work on.
“It’s something to build on,” Leggett said. “Even though it was Duke, we still have to go out and beat them, and we did. But we have to keep getting better.”
HESTER MOVES ON UP
Devin Hester moved into seventh place on Miami’s career list for punt return yards after his 43-yard return in the second quarter. Hester totaled four returns for 101 yards in the first half and for his career has 486 yards on 28 returns. Hester would have had 30 more yards when he scored a touchdown on a punt return, but it was called back due to a penalty. Hester did not play at all in the second half due to dehydration and cramps, something that he has been experiencing quite a bit over the last couple of weeks.
Wide Receivers Get Going
After being almost non-existent in the team’s first four games, Miami’s wide receiving corps woke up in a big way. Leggett, Sinorice Moss and Ryan Moore all caught touchdown passes. Moore and Leggett each equaled their career bests for receptions against Duke. Moore caught seven passes for 87 yards, which was his best performance since 2003, when he totaled 101 yards against Virginia Tech. Moore also extended his consecutive games with a receptions streak to 25 games. Leggett had four receptions for 65 yards. Miami starting quarterback Kyle Wright totaled 255 yards with three touchdown passes and backup Kirby Freeman added two more.
Defense Continues Domination
Miami’s defense held Duke to just eight yards passing which marked the lowest total allowed since the Hurricanes won their first national title in 1983. Miami has now allowed 77 yards passing in the last two games combined, after giving up 69 to South Florida last weekend. The Hurricanes held Duke to just five first downs, which is the lowest total since 1999 against Rutgers.
The lack of yardage tells the story of the game, with Miami finishing with 557 yards to Duke’s 128.
Miami defensive tackle Baraka Atkins said the defense had a strong performance, but there is still work to be done as the season progresses.
“It’s always great to go out and perform like we did out there today,” Atkins said. “But we strive for perfection, and giving up seven points isn’t perfection.”
Douglas C. Kroll can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.