Miami Scores Early and Often, Beat FAMU 70-3

Brad Kaaya threw a four-yard touchdown pass to Fullback Marquez Williams 2:27 into the game and the Miami Hurricanes were off and rolling in the first game of the Mark Richt era and the first game at the newly renovated and renamed Hard Rock Stadium got out to an exceptional start as Miami throttled Florida A&M 70-3.

The Canes would score three more times in the first half and took a 28-3 lead into the half. Florida A&M got on the board with a 31 yard Austin Miller Field Goal. Joseph Yearby had two first-half touchdowns, including a scintillating 64-yard run and Kayaa threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Chris Herndon IV in between Yearby’s two touchdowns in a dominating first half.

The first half paled in comparison to what the Hurricanes did in the third quarter. They blitzed Florida A&M for a school record 42 point third. The ‘Canes needed only 6:40 of possession time in the third quarter to sprint to the 42 points.

Miami’s ground game was efficient, especially in the third quarter. The ‘Canes rolled up 199 yards on 14 carries in the third quarter alone. For the game, Miami rolled up 384 yards on 36 carries. It’s an encouraging sign after averaging only 119 yards per game last season. That wasn’t good enough to place in the top 100 nationally. We have to take into account who they were playing. Florida A&M is an FCS team that was 1-10 last season.

Yearby, Mark Walton and Gus Edwards all went over 100 yards on the ground. It marks the first time since 1987 that a trio of Miami backs eclipsed the century mark. Getting the ground game off and running will be important for the rest of the season. They take a big step up in competition each week until they begin a daunting four-game stretch in October that begins when the other team from Tallahassee makes their maiden voyage to Hard Rock stadium.

Kaaya finished the game 12-19 for 135 yards, four touchdowns, and an interception. Against Florida Atlantic next week we’re likely to see the need for a more balanced offense.Malik Rozier came in and relieved Kaaya in the third quarter. He completed one of three passes for 15 yards.

Manny Diaz’ new defense shined. After allowing 154 yards to the Rattlers in the first half, they held FAMU to just 43 total yards after halftime. The ‘Canes recorded only three sacks, but they held the Rattlers to only 2.9 yards per play overall.

Twenty-five players got in the game on the defensive side. It gave Manny Diaz a chance to evaluate a young front seven against real competition. Diaz was impressed with the play of the front seven:

“I was very impressed with the way we played up front, and I think what we wanted to be as a defense in terms of the way we’re getting our feet across the line of scrimmage, being disruptive making plays in the backfield.”

Aside from getting a punt blocked late, the special teams were exceptional. Braxton Berrios returned a punt 41 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter and the ‘Canes also blocked a punt. Richt was pleased with the performance on special teams. “Anyways, at the very end, getting a punt blocked wasn’t great, but I thought the rest of the special teams were outstanding. We blocked a punt and returned one for a touchdown, which was great”.

Miami plays Florida Atlantic hosts Florida Atlantic next week. The Owls won their opener 38-30 against FCS Southern Illinois.

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