MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — An unusual start for Miami’s offense failed to prevent the unit from living up to its high-powered reputation Saturday.
The Hurricanes compiled 551 total yards in a 45-30 victory against ACC Coastal Division rival Georgia Tech at Sun Life Stadium.
That from an offense that spent nearly 22 of 30 first-half minutes on the sideline.
That from an offense that had three first-quarter possessions, each a duration of two plays. One drive ended in a touchdown, the other two ended with turnovers.
“We’re three turnovers away from having a real prolific game on offense,” said Miami coach Al Golden, adding in a red-zone pick of a Stephen Morris third-quarter pass.
Real prolific. Golden should put that phrase on the shelf and keep it nearby. His big-play offense with quick-strike capability likely will be deserving of those words at some point this season.
Miami’s offense makes it difficult to envision a game in which the Hurricanes (5-0), at the very least, don’t have a chance to win late. (Is it too early to anticipate a Nov. 2 visit to Florida State?)
When not turning over the ball or watching Tech’s clock-eating triple-option running game from the sideline, Miami mostly went up and down the field behind Morris, his receiving corps and running back Duke Johnson.
Johnson, whose first-quarter fumble was his third in two games, rushed for 184 yards on 22 carries.
“We expected (Tech’s large time of possession) coming in and playing Georgia Tech with the kind of offense they have,” Johnson said. “We expect them to eat up as much clock as possible. That’s why when we had the ball, we had to make the best of our opportunities.”
Morris completed 17 of 22 for 324 yards with three touchdowns and the two picks.
“We can’t give the ball up. The score and momentum would’ve been a lot different,” Morris said. “We need to do a better job with that. I put that on myself, making better reads and getting to my check downs quicker. I’m not worried about scoring points. We have a great coordinator and a great system right now.”
The senior played despite a lingering ankle injury originally suffered against Savannah State on Sept. 21.
“It’s hard not to think about it, you kind of feel it every single play, (the ankle) is kind of important,” Morris said of the injury. “This game meant a lot more to me and to this team than for me to worry about my ankle.”
Morris’ scoring passes included a 69-yard pass play with Allen Hurns in the third quarter, and a 40-yard connection with Phillip Dorsett on the Hurricanes’ second play from scrimmage that tied it at 7.
“We scored in two plays,” running back Dallas Crawford said. “We didn’t see that coming.”
Neither did the Hurricanes’ defense.
“When they’re on the field, we’re trying to make adjustments,” Miami middle linebacker Jimmy Gaines said. “I want them to be out there for a little longer so I can just catch my breath, but I’m glad for what they do.”
Miami’s offensive strength also showed on the offensive line. Starting right tackle Seantrel Henderson was suspended for a violation of team rules. No worry, left guard Jon Feliciano moved to Henderson’s spot and senior Jared Wheeler replaced Feliciano.
“There’s a lot of things we can do on offense, we have a lot of weapons,” Dorsett said. “It’s great. I’m on a great team right now.”