Cover, Football, Sports

Hurricanes defense ties program record in ACC-opening victory over Tar Heels

Mark Richt knew who would start under center for Miami’s Atlantic Coast Conference opener against North Carolina.

But the Hurricanes’ faithful found out when N’Kosi Perry ran onto the field for Miami’s first drive, which was met with a roar of cheers.

However, it was the Hurricanes’ defense — which entered the game ranked second nationally in total defense — that stole the show.

Miami’s defensive unit tied a program record with three touchdowns and forced six turnovers to lead the No. 16-ranked Hurricanes to a 47-10 victory over the Tar Heels at Hard Rock Stadium Saturday, Sept. 29.

The last time Miami scored three defensive touchdowns was Sept. 23, 2000 at West Virginia.

“It was a sight to see,” defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said. “We always say turnovers, they seem to come in bunches. Once the first one came out, guys were pouncing and making plays. The fact that we could turn defense into offense on those was quite a sight.”

Drive after drive, Diaz’s defense swarmed North Carolina’s offense, finishing with three interceptions, three fumble recoveries and 14 tackles for loss. The Hurricanes (4-1, 1-0 ACC) held the Tar Heels (1-3, 1-1 ACC) scoreless across the final three quarters.

North Carolina coach Larry Fedora tried to shuffle Nathan Elliot and Chazz Surratt at quarterback, but Miami contained the Tar Heels’ offense.

Jonathan Garvin donned the “Sebastian the Ibis” Turnover Chain twice with a pair of fumble recoveries and scored once on a 9-yard, scoop-and-score touchdown. In the second quarter, fellow junior defensive lineman Joe Jackson picked off Surratt and returned it 42 yards to the house.

“Well, the first thing is, we made a position change,” Richt joked. “Joe Jackson is now a tight end. That was pretty spectacular.”

Yet, the Hurricanes’ defense wasn’t done.

Jhavonte Dean intercepted Surratt in the closing minute of the first half for Miami’s third takeaway to set up a 28-yard field goal from Bubba Baxa to put Miami up 33-10 heading into the locker room.

Romeo Finley joined the party with an 83-yard, pick-six touchdown to open up the fourth quarter, before Bradley Jennings Jr. closed out the defensive showcase with a fumble recovery late in the contest.

Miami scored 21 points off of those six takeaways to lessen the load in Perry’s first career start.

The redshirt freshman completed his first five passes before finishing 8-of-12 for 125 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

“It was good, but it can always be better,” Perry said, who found out he was starting several days before kickoff. “Always room for improvement.”

Redshirt senior Malik Rosier, who had started 17 consecutive games, relayed signals on the sidelines rather than directing the Hurricanes on the field.

“He was disappointed,” Richt said of Rosier. “He showed class, though. He had his head in the game and he was doing a lot of the signaling and things of that nature. I saw him talking to Kosi about things that were happening in a positive way. He was trying to be a good friend and a good mentor and it’s not that easy to do that. I spent my whole life behind a guy named Jim Kelly. It’s not fun to be in that position. I understand the feeling, but he showed a lot of class. I was proud of him.”

Perry received help from the Hurricanes’ two-headed rushing attack of Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas.

Dallas notched a career-high 114 rushing yards and one touchdown, while Homer tacked on 88 yards on the ground.

“Travis is my mentor and I really look up to Travis because he does everything right,” Dallas said. “It’s really just a vet and a semi-vet trying to become a vet. That’s how we complement each other. He leads me and I lead the other guys.”

Miami will return to action against rival Florida State 3:30 p.m. Oct. 6 at Hard Rock Stadium.

“We take everybody seriously, so we’re excited,” Garvin said. “It’s always a serious game versus us. It can be something versus somebody else, but versus us, they’re going to bring everything, everything they have, everything they don’t even have, they’re going to bring it to the table. We have to be on our P’s and Q’s and really do our thing.”

September 27, 2018


Josh White

Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Friday was strange for Gino DiMare. It wasn’t because his whole family went out to the mound at Alex ...

One thing was obvious to Wayne Younger the first time he got his hands on Ladarius Tennison: The ath ...

Though it’s early, UM already has assembled an outstanding nine-member 2020 recruiting class, a grou ...

Three days before they open their season against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, the Miami Hurricanes h ...

The first half of Wednesday night’s game was as lousy as the weather outside the Watsco Center, as t ...

UM alumna Alina Mayo Azze, who has covered a myriad of topics during her 37-year career, has been a ...

Happiness and well-being scholar Tal Ben-Shahar is UM’s newest Distinguished Presidential Scholar. ...

The University of Miami will host the first symposium to explore LGBTQ human rights across the Ameri ...

UM experts react to a new ban that prohibits people in Key West from using certain types of sunscree ...

A matchmaker extraordinaire, Ricardo Cepeda, the manager of the UM Zebrafish Facility, is passionate ...

The University of Miami baseball team opened the Gino DiMare era with a record-setting victory over ...

The Canes open the 75th season in program history and first under the direction of head coach Gino D ...

Game time is 6 p.m. in Chestnut Hill, Mass. ...

The No. 20 Miami women's basketball team will play its second top-five foe in a span of three g ...

The University of Miami golf team heads to the Big Easy to open competition Sunday at the 2019 Allst ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.