From the first whistle of the game to the last, the Miami Hurricanes never stood a chance against the Goliath-like Alabama Crimson Tide.
In a 44-13 loss to No. 1 Alabama, No. 14 Miami’s deep flaws were exposed on both sides of the ball Saturday afternoon in Atlanta.
“They are disappointed, they came here to compete,” Miami head coach Manny Diaz said. “They worked really hard for today.”
With almost double as many yards on offense – 501 yards – compared to Miami’s 266, the Alabama offense was no match for the Hurricanes defense, which struggled to tackle and put pressure on Alabama quarterback Bryce Young.
Perhaps part of the reason Young threw all over Miami’s defense is because they didn’t expect him to.
“We thought they would run the ball a lot more,” Diaz said point-blank when asked if he knew Young was going to throw the ball as much as he did. Young had only thrown nine passes in his career prior to the game today after he spent last season as Alabama’s backup.
The Crimson Tide scored 27 straight points, three touchdown passes from Young and two field goals from Bama kicker Will Reichard, in the first half. Young finished with 27 completions for 344 yards and four touchdowns.
Redshirt junior tight end Cameron Latu, who came into the game with very little game experience as well, torched Miami’s defense with two receiving touchdowns.
“I feel like we tackled like it was an opener and not like we had been doing it all through camp,” redshirt senior defensive end Zach McCloud said. “It wasn’t our worst performance as far as tackling goes, but definitely not where it needed to be. We’ll improve on that as the season goes on.”
Miami was without their defensive leader for most of the game after redshirt senior cornerback and team captain Bubba Bolden was ejected from the game in the first quarter on a targeting call.
Offensively, it took Miami until the end of the first half to put points on the board, and it was a 37-yard field goal kicked by freshman Andres Borregales, younger brother to Jose Borregales, last season’s star kicker for the Canes.
After back to back touchdowns sandwiching an interception thrown by Miami quarterback D’Eriq King, the redshirt senior threw his first and only touchdown of the game to freshman receiver Xavier Restrepo. The 29-yard touchdown pass capped off the only seemingly smooth and effective drive orchestrated by UM’s offense the whole afternoon.
“I thought he was brave, I thought he was sharp and I thought he made some excellent throws,” Diaz said on King’s performance, his first since tearing his ACL and meniscus in the Cheez-It Bowl last December.
King finished the game with 23 completions on 30 passing attempts, for 179 yards and a touchdown. Senior transfer receiver Charleston Rambo totaled six catches for 29 yards, freshman receiver Keyshawn Smith had five catches for 45 yards while Restrepo had three catches for 55 yards and a touchdown.
In front of 71,829 fans in attendance at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, the Canes showed they do not have the upper echelon of talent that is required to compete with a program like Alabama.
However, Alabama is the best football team in the country right now and Diaz knows more than anyone that the outcome of this game will not affect Miami’s future performances this season.
“College football is famous for overreactions after Week 1, but that’s not what this team is about” Diaz said. “If anything, what happened today will bring us even closer together. We’ve got a close knit group and we will get back to work tomorrow.”
The Canes return home to Hard Rock Stadium next weekend to take on Appalachian State on Sept. 11 at 7 p.m.