No. 11 Miami cruises past Florida A&M

Published Oct. 11, 2009 10:24 a.m. ET

That didn't work either.

The referee threw a flag and sent two Rattlers to the sideline, and four plays later the Hurricanes scored another touchdown en route to a 48-16 victory Saturday night.

Jacory Harris led No. 11 Miami to 31 points playing only the first half, and the Hurricanes (4-1) made the most of the mismatch facing an unranked team for the first time this season.

"You need a game like this," coach Randy Shannon said. "We came out focused and started the game fast."

Florida A&M (4-1) lost to Miami for the seventh time in a row.

Among the Hurricanes reserves to see lots of action was fourth-string halfback Damien Berry, a former safety. He carried for the first time in his career and gained 162 yards in 14 attempts, including a 49-yard run and a 35-yard touchdown run on consecutive plays.

"I was a little nervous," Berry said. "My heart was going 150 mph."


Berry's rushing total was the largest by a Miami player since 2005.

Two long kick returns helped Miami take a 17-3 lead after 14 minutes, and Thearon Collier scored on a 61-yard punt runback in the second half.

"There's a reason they are No. 11 in the country," Rattlers coach Joe Taylor said. "We made some plays, but they certainly made more."

Harris went 16 for 24 for 217 yards, including touchdown passes of 5 and 7 yards. In the first half the Hurricanes totaled 303 yards and built a 31-3 lead, moving the ball so effectively an official had to stop the clock when the sideline chains broke.

"Overall we had a good night," Harris said. "I made a couple of mistakes, but we put up points and made a lot of plays."

Harris was intercepted twice, once in the end zone, but Miami didn't punt until he was replaced by A.J. Highsmith. The true freshman made his college debut to start the second half and went 3 for 3 for 38 yards while directing two scoring drives.

"I did well for my first game," said Highsmith, whose father, Alonzo, played for the Hurricanes in the 1980s. "I didn't do everything right. I still need to improve."

Six Hurricanes scored a touchdown apiece, and 12 caught at least one pass.

"When you have games like this, you've got to stay tuned to what you need to do," Shannon said. "If a guy doesn't respond, you go to the next guy."

Miami totaled 24 first downs, 215 rushing yards and 470 total yards. Cornerback Brandon Harris led the defense by intercepting one Rattlers pass and breaking up five others.

"We're pretty excited to get a win like this," he said. "It means a lot to avoid the letdown. We knew they would play hard. A lot of those guys wanted to be at the University of Miami."

Florida A&M's Curtis Pulley threw for 144 yards, ran for 81 and scored on a 26-yard run.

"I wouldn't call this a bad game," Pulley said. "We did a great job of competing."

Pulley completed a 27-yard pass to Adrian Smith on the first play from scrimmage, and the Rattlers moved 59 yards before settling for a field goal.

That was their lone lead. Mike James returned the ensuing kickoff 41 yards, and Miami went on to score on a 5-yard pass from Harris to Leonard Hankerson.

Travis Benjamin's 33-yard punt return set up another scoring chance in the first quarter, and Harris took advantage with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Graham for a 17-3 lead.

Harris hit Hankerson for 37 yards, and on the next play James scored on a 5-yard run. A 2-yard scoring run by Lee Chambers capped a 78-yard drive.

Even though the Hurricanes substituted early and often, their list of injured regulars grew. Receiver Aldarius Johnson was hurt on first drive and later had his right arm in a sling. Defensive end Eric Moncur hobbled out of the game in the third quarter.

Running back Graig Cooper did not play because of an injury to his lower extremity.