Jacksonville Sports Day

ACC: No. 22 Miami Storms Past Savannah State, 77-0

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The Miami Hurricanes were back at Hard Rock Stadium Saturday and they announced their presence in a big way.

The No. 22 Canes (1-1) beat Savannah State, 77-0, to set a new program record for margin of victory and tie the record for most points scored in a game in UM history. The victory also snapped a four-match losing streak dating back to last season.

“Winning is a lot more fun than losing,” Miami head coach Mark Richt said. “We lost four in a row, as everybody knows. Sometimes people like to remind us of that and I don’t blame them, but it was good to get a victory today. It was good to play a lot of people today. Our fans got a chance to see some young guys. I talked to them a little bit after the game, especially the guys that played for the very first time, and especially the true freshmen. [These are] guys that since the day they committed to us, they kind of dreamed of the day they would come to Hard Rock [Stadium] and get to play and maybe score a touchdown or maybe make a block or a tackle, or throw a touchdown pass or run for a touchdown, whatever it is. A lot of guys got to realize that dream and kind of see what it felt like. We are thankful for that.”

Nine different Hurricanes combined to score 11 touchdowns, while six Miami players found the end zone for the first time in their collegiate careers and four different Miami quarterbacks were responsible for touchdowns. The Canes, who had 15 offensive players make their collegiate debut on Saturday, totaled 494 yards of offense – 239 rushing yards and 255 passing yards – against Savannah State (0-2).

Defensively, Miami notched its first shutout since 2015, when the Hurricanes held Bethune-Cookman scoreless in a 45-0 season-opening victory on Sept 5. The Canes were consistently wreaking havoc in the Tigers’ backfield, amassing 14 tackles for loss and three sacks. Miami also forced four turnovers and scored on special teams in the victory, while 11 different players saw their first action on defense in the victory.

“Shutouts are always special,” defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said. “What makes this unique, in my career, is because of the new redshirt rule, where every guy we had on defense went in there and was able to be a part of it. The walk-ons that ran down on kickoffs. Every time there was one of their guys running around with a football, they had a chance to score. The fact that so many people contributed to this shutout, which—we challenged them at halftime, we said that everybody we’re talking to right now has a chance to go in there and keep the score at zero.”

Freshman tight end Will Mallory, who made his first career start on Saturday, got the scoring started when he hauled in a two-yard pass from quarterback Malik Rosier to tally his first career touchdown and give the Canes a 7-0 lead.

The Hurricanes found the end zone again early in the second quarter, when Rosier scored on a quarterback sneak to give Miami a 14-0 lead with 13:44 left in the first half. Rosier finished the game completing 8-of-12 passes for 131 yards and three touchdowns, two passing and one rushing.

“We came out and executed,” Rosier said. “Obviously, the first drive didn’t go the way we wanted it to with the fumble and them getting the ball. But Coach Jon [Richt] told me, “We’re going to try to run the ball a lot. If we wind up scoring on the first couple drives, you’re probably going to be out.’ So, I knew going into it that if we executed—if we [did] well—I was going to be out. And I was talking to N’Kosi [Perry] and Cade [Weldon] and Jarren [Williams] before, saying, ‘You guys are going to get a lot of playing time, more than you probably get in a scrimmage.’ So, I think it was really good for those guys. When we scrimmage, we’re not live, they don’t get hit. And I feel like that’s the biggest thing that they got; they got live reps versus a defense.”

Jeff Thomas had the biggest play of the first half, snaring a pass from Rosier over the middle and sprinting to the pylon on the Savannah State sideline for a 67-yard touchdown that gave Miami a 21-0 lead with 11:10 remaining in the half. The sophomore finished the game with 183 all-purpose yards: 67 receiving yards, a career-high 90 punt return yards and 26 kick return yards.

The first turnover chain of the season was earned by sophomore defensive back Trajan Bandy, who scooped up a fumble by Savannah State’s TJ Bell to give the Canes the ball on the Tigers’ 20.

“It feels great,” Bandy said of getting the first turnover of the year. “Last game I was ejected in the first half and just being able to play with my team in this spirit and with all the fans, it was a blessing from God and I was happy and excited to get the chain.”

When Bandy arrived at Miami’s sideline, Malek Young – who received the first turnover chain in UM history – presented Bandy with the new turnover chain featuring a bejeweled Sebastian the Ibis charm that has over 4,000 stones. The charm, which measures 8.5 inches in height, was hanging around a Cuban link chain.

“It is a lot of different from last year,” Bandy said. “Last year it was the UM sign but this year it is an [ibis] and a lot diamonds inside it. It is cool though and it is a lot more heavy than last year.”

Six plays later, redshirt freshman quarterback N’Kosi Perry threw his first career touchdown, connecting with Lawrence Cager on an eight-yard slant that gave Miami a 28-0 lead with 9:08 remaining in the first half. Perry finished 9-for-14 for 93 yards, throwing three touchdowns and one interception.

Bandy was not the only Cane with a defensive highlight in the first half. Shaquille Quarterman sacked D’vonn Gibbons on the opening play from scrimmage for a seven-yard loss, recording the first of three first-half sacks by the Hurricanes.

“It is a great team win,” Quarterman said. “When everybody gets to contribute, maybe the first game a lot of guys did not get as much playing time as they wanted to, but for this win, everybody contributed, and that is a real testament to the work that we put in as a team. On gameday, there is no ones and twos or threes. It’s only the Canes out there, and the Canes had a pretty good game today.”

Miami’s defense allowed 21 yards in the first half Saturday night. Savannah State managed just 34 passing yards and -13 rushing yards in the first two quarters; for the game, the Tigers totaled 78 yards and were outgained by the Hurricanes, 494-78.

The Canes tallied eight tackles for loss in the opening 30 minutes of play, with sophomore defensive end Jonathan Garvin leading the way with three. Garvin finished the game with eight total tackles (two solo) and recorded three tackles for loss for the second straight game.

Defensive back Amari Carter added 2.0 tackles for loss, as did Quarterman and fellow linebacker Patrick Joyner, Jr. Carter (1.0), Quarterman (1.0), defensive lineman Pat Bethel (0.5) and defensive lineman Joe Jackson (0.5) were responsible for Miami’s three sacks.

After leading by 28 points at the half, Miami exploded for 49 points over the final 30 minutes of play. Perry threw two touchdowns to freshman tight end Brevin Jordan in the second half. The first was a three-yard score that marked Jordan’s first NCAA touchdown, while the duo connected again for a seven-yard strike that made it 42-0, Miami with 3:39 left in the third quarter. Jordan led the Hurricanes with seven receptions, 52 yards and two touchdowns. He had a long catch of 21 yards in the win.

The turnover chain made four appearances in the second half, as Sheldrick Redwine (INT), Jhavonte Dean (INT), Scott Patchan (recovered blocked punt) and Waynmon Steed (fumble recovery) each donned the chain over the final two quarters of play. Dean, Patchan and Steed all wore the turnover chain for the first time in their careers.

Thomas gave redshirt freshman quarterback Cade Weldon great field position to start his first drive of the game, as the speedy sophomore returned a punt 48 yards to the Savannah State 16. Two plays later, the quarterback scrambled in for a 16-yard touchdown – his first as a Hurricane – to make it 49-0 Canes with 52 seconds left in the third quarter.

Freshman running back Lorenzo Lingard scored his first career touchdown when he sprinted in from eight yards out to give Miami a 56-0 lead with 13:05 left in the game.

Miami added another touchdown on special teams, when freshman Nesta Jade Silvera blocked a punt by Chandler Williams and Patchan scooped up the loose ball and returned it 10 yards for a his first career score to earn the fourth turnover chain of the game and give Miami a 63-0 lead with 6:42 remaining in the game. It was the first time Miami had a blocked punt returned for a touchdown since Hugo Delapenha, Jr. at Virginia on Nov. 22, 2014 – that punt was recovered in the end zone on a block by Garrett Kidd.

“That’s just called domination,” Diaz said. “And it really just comes down to effort. We have taken our punt return team off the field and Jade just decides not to take a play off. He wanted to get back there more than the guy blocking him wanted to keep him out of there. He sort of butt-blocked it and for Scott Patchan to be on the scene, for him to take it and scoop and score…I will say that I thought Jade flashed tonight. I thought he showed up, I thought he was very productive on third down and he showed that he could make a play.”

Steed scooped up a Gibbons fumble on the Savannah State 24 to earn the first turnover chain of his career. Freshman quarterback Jarren Williams scored his first career touchdown three plays later, rushing in from one yard out to give the Canes a 69-0 lead and redshirt senior kicker Alejandro Cardenas converted the point after touchdown kick to score his first point as a Hurricane and make it 70-0.

Lingard added a second score with 2:58 remaining in the game, exploding 64 yards for his second career touchdown to give Miami a 77-0 led that secured the largest margin of victory in program history. The Canes’ previous record was 70 points, when they beat Savannah State, 77-7, in 2013. Lingard totaled 82 rushing yards Saturday.

“Everyone can get credit for it,” Diaz said. “Everybody can share the credit for it. You saw turnovers, you saw the blocked punt, you saw true freshmen coming in and scoring touchdowns. I don’t know how many quarterbacks scored touchdowns, it seemed like all of them did. I don’t think there are many games where we have four quarterbacks being part of a touchdown drive. I think that’s the neatest thing – the team element of this win is really the medicine, and exactly what we needed.”

Savannah State’s closest scoring threat came halfway into the third quarter. Perry was picked off by linebacker Desmond Young, who returned the interception 13 yards to the Miami 21. Three plays later, senior safety Jaquan Johnson preserved Miami’s shutout when he blocked a 36-yard field goal attempt by Giovanni Lugo.

“Usually shutouts, it’s going to be missed tackles, a lack of effort or missed assignments,” Diaz said. “The fact that our young guys go out there and function and don’t cut a guy loose or leave someone wide open and say, ‘oh, we almost had it’ And then, the pivotal moment of the game, wouldn’t it be a guy like Jaquan Johnson that blocked that field goal? We had studied their field goal protection and felt like we had the chance to get our hands on one. And then all of a sudden, we had just got the turnover – we just got the chain on – and then all of a sudden we are right back out there. Three-and-out and we block the field goal and that was a big moment in the game, as well.”

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