It was expected to be a close match-up between two undefeated ACC teams, and the fans were not disappointed. Miami dominated Duke in their conference opener. The Hurricanes held Duke to just six points, even though the Blue Devils have averaged 40 points per game prior to this conference contest.
In The Driver’s Seat
The first two drives from Miami, both ended with touchdowns and consisted of a five-play, 76-yard drive and a seven-play, 68-yard drive. Both of those drives gave Miami a cushion throughout the rest of the game because Duke never threatened them from a scoring standpoint. Malik Rosier started off blazing, completing his first nine passes. One of those passes went down the middle of the field to Braxton Berrios for a 27-yard touchdown. That marked the fourth consecutive game in which Berrios has reached the end zone.
Welcome Back Ahmon Richards
Perhaps the most welcomed addition into the Hurricane offense was the guy who broke Michael Irvin‘s freshman record last season, Ahmon Richards. Throughout training camp, he suffered from an injury that head coach Mark Richt described as a “severe pull” and thus limited him. Even after Hurricane Irma ravished south Florida, coaches weren’t sure where Richards was in terms of his recovery. Last week in the game against Toledo, he dressed out in full uniform but didn’t play any snaps.
Are you not entertained? pic.twitter.com/vbDRWGlnjp
Duke wishes Richards hadn’t play any snaps against them as well. It only took the sophomore sensation three receptions to get more than 100 receiving yards. He saved the best catch for last taking a 49-yard crossing pattern all the way into the end zone, outrunning the Duke secondary.
The offense certainly did their part but the Miami defense flew in from every angle. The defensive effort displayed was the ‘Canes best performance this season. Miami not only limited to the Duke offense to just six points but they took sophomore standout Daniel Jones completely out of the game plan. Statistically it was by far his worst game, in terms of completion percentage and quarterback rating.
There were several stars on the Miami defense but sophomore Michael Pinckney might have been the brightest on Friday night. He led the way with 10 tackles, one and a half of them going for a loss, and a sack. The coaches brought out the “Turnover Chain” after Pinckney’s diving interception.
You earned it, Pinck. pic.twitter.com/tryLvsgi68
As a whole, the Miami defense collectively had 11 tackles for loss, with five sacks. Pat Bethel was another player who got to wear the chain for causing a fumble after a sack in the fourth quarter. Joe Jackson, Trent Harris, and R.J. McIntosh all had sacks on Jones and pressured him to get rid of the ball before he was ready throughout the night.
The next game for the Hurricanes could be debated as the most important game on the schedule, Florida State. This is the rivalry that the players dream about from the moment they arrive until the two teams meet. Although Florida State is not ranked, they still hold the win streak over Miami and could put a huge dent in any playoff hopes Miami has. With a young freshman quarterback that is gaining confidence each week and a stingy defense, Miami will surely have to be prepared.