Different players, same results.
Even with sophomore quarterback Jacory Harris sitting out the second half, the Miami Hurricanes (4-1) handled Florida A&M (4-1) with ease, 48-16 Saturday night at Land Shark Stadium in front of 47.859. The Canes scored on five of their first six possessions and six different Hurricanes scored a touchdown.
The Canes moved up two spots in the rankings to No. 9.
“It was a good win for us tonight,” head coach Randy Shannon said. “I think we came out focused as far as starting the game fast. But we still have to get better as a football team. We have a long ways to go to be where we want to be as a football program.”
The tale of the game came from the supporting cast of the Hurricanes. With junior running back Graig Cooper out with a hip injury and senior running back Javarris James playing two series, it was junior running back Damien Berry’s opportunity to shine.
Berry carried the ball for the first time in his career and gained 165 yards in 14 attempts. On consecutive plays, Berry broke a 49-yard run and a 35-yard touchdown.
It marked the most running yards by a Hurricane since Tyrone Moss racked up 195 yards on the ground since 2005. Also it was the second straight game a Hurricane back has rushed for more than 150 yards.
“I was a little nervous,” Berry said about receiving his first career carry. “My heart was going 150 miles an hour. After I got in and I got used to it, everything went great.”
Berry converted from safety to running back last season and spent the majority of his time on the scout team and special teams.
“He did a great job for us, really responded,” said Shannon about Berry’s strong performance. “Anytime you have an opportunity you have to capitalize on it. He did a great job of going downhill, getting us positive yards for the offense to keep moving.”
With Harris watching on the sideline, freshman quarterback A.J. Highsmith made his debut and went 3-for-3 for 38 yards. He played the entire second half.
Despite the 32-point drubbing, two huge concerns loom for the orange and green.
Sophomore receiver Aldarius Johnson suffered a shoulder injury in the opening series against FAMU after grabbing two consecutive catches. He left the game nursing his right shoulder in a sling.
According to Shannon, sophomore defensive tackle Marcus Forston has been plagued with numerous injuries and might be done for the remainder of the season.
“It’s a sign that he might be done,” Shannon said about Forston. “Forston has been nicked up the whole camp. It isn’t getting better [anytime] soon, so you have to move on. It’s just a situation where you have to keep going.”
Miami will now hit the road to Orlando to face the University of Central Florida (3-2), a team that is coming off a bye week.
Lelan LeDoux may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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