While the Canes did defeat Central Michigan, it wasn’t pretty.
The Hurricanes only scored 17 points against a team that lost 61-0 against Wisconsin. If it weren’t for the strong defensive showcase, Miami could have easily gone 1-3 in their first four games of the Manny Diaz era.
“Obviously, it was our fourth game of the season, and tonight was our second win and probably our fourth-best performance of the four we’ve had so far,” head coach Manny Diaz said. “With all that being said, the only thing that we could accomplish today was beating Central Michigan, which, after the course of 60 minutes, when everything was added up, that’s what we got done.”
One of the major problems for the Canes was a lack of rushing yards. Running back DeeJay Dallas only tallied 40 yards on 14 rushing attempts.
“The answer is to get back to the fundamentals, understanding who you are,” Diaz said. “What runs were there, and what did we miss? Where did the breakdown occur? And part of that is evaluating our run game in general, which we thought was showing a lot of really good signs. Today, I don’t think that we ran the ball very well and not just in terms of our stats but also in terms of the way we hit things and the way we blocked things up; it was substandard.”
Despite the lack of a running game, redshirt freshman quarterback Jarren Williams continued his spectacular run as Miami’s starting quarterback. He went 17-for-24 with 250 passing yards and a touchdown.
His offensive line, however, did not shine and allowed Williams to be sacked four times.
“Just getting the ball out of my hands quick,” Williams said. “Just working those quick routes, just taking what they were giving us. I felt like when we started doing that it was really good and we were executing. I feel like we left a lot of plays out there; we’re definitely not complacent. We’re happy with the win but we know we got to get better.”
The defense held up strong against CMU. The turnover chain appeared three times on the sideline, the most in one game throughout the 2019 season.
“It was really cool, really a blessing,” defensive end Gregory Rousseau said about earning the turnover chain for the first time in his career. “All of the hard work that I put in after being hurt last year, I’m just so grateful. I’m just really blessed.”
Penalties did plague Miami throughout the contest. The Canes finished with 13 flags while the Chippewas ended up with nine.
“It’s the name of the game,” linebacker Shaq Quarterman said. “You’ve just got to put the play behind you. We call it having amnesia. You have a good play, you still have to forget about it because they’re about to snap the ball. If you have a bad play, you have to forget about it. They’re about to snap the ball. Regardless of it being aggravating and redundant, we just line it up every play that we could until we couldn’t anymore.”
With a bye week approaching, the Hurricanes need to strap up before they face Virginia Tech in their second Atlantic Coast Conference matchup of the year.
“I think it is what it is,” Diaz said. “Obviously, we need to practice and we need to keep playing. Part of that is that we have some guys, like Jarren [Williams], that need to play. He’s doing a really nice job, but the more he plays, the better he is going to be, like all of our guys.”
The Miami Hurricanes will face the Virginia Tech Hokies Oct. 5 at Hard Rock Stadium. The time is still TBA.