Hurricane Force Passing Attack
University of Miami quarterback Stephen Morris put on an absolute gem of a performance Saturday against North Carolina State. The Hurricanes defeated the Wolfpack 44-37.
Once again, the Canes got off to the quick start they were looking for. Miami scored 23 points in the first quarter as they jumped all over NC State. Morris finally got it together after a couple less than satisfactory outings and showed exactly why he’s the undisputed leader of this team.
The University of Miami, a school that was once referred to as “Quarterback U” due to the likes of Vinny Testaverde, Steve Walsh, Gino Torretta, Bernie Kosar, Jim Kelly, and Ken Dorsey, has a new record holder outside of those household names. Stephen Morris passed for 566 yards setting both an ACC record as well as a school record. The Hurricane passing attack was deadly on Saturday. Led by Morris, the Hurricanes aerial assault accounted for 5 touchdowns. The wide receivers filled the void in the absence of freshman Malcolm Lewis. Phillip Dorsett hauled in 9 passes for 191 yards along with 2 touchdowns. The latter of Dorsett’s touchdown grabs was the game-winner for Miami. It was a result of a 62 yard Hail Mary from Morris with 19 seconds left in the game. Rashawn Scott has been under heavy scrutiny this season for dropping balls. He stepped up in a big way this game. Scott grabbed 6 passes for 180 yards and 2 touchdowns. Allen Hurns chimed in with 2 catches for 54 yards and a score. Hurns put the first points of the game on the board with a toe tapping catch in the back corner of the endzone. The ground game was non-existent for the most part. Duke Johnson and Mike James combined for just 70 yards, but it didn’t matter because Morris and the receivers picked up the slack.
On defense, Miami looked good. The 37 points they gave up is somewhat misleading. The Hurricane defense had 6 takeaways in the contest. They recovered 4 fumbles in addition to an AJ Highsmith interception and Thomas Finnie interception. Finnie’s interception set up what ultimately was the game-winning drive. The Canes did give up a concerning 4.9 yards per carry but when they needed to make a play, they did. Senior cornerback Brandon McGee’s strip of the football on the 1 yard line is a perfect example of stepping up and making a play when the team needed it most. Hard-hitting linebacker Eddie Johnson had a great game in the absence of Denzel Perryman. Freshman safety Deon Bush continues to impress as he had another good game this week.
Miami is not the same team they were last year or in seasons past. This is a much different group. This group knows they can win. This group is poised and confident. Though young, this team continues to find ways to win. This is the third of four wins this season where the Canes had to grind out a close game, and they did. The mentality of the team has changed completely. Instead of showing up and hoping to win, they show up and know they’re going to win. That mindset is indicative of the way they play. They’re playing hard and they’re playing fast. Miami is also playing smart and disciplined which is something that may go overlooked but is extremely important. The Hurricanes drew 14 penalties for 100 yards against the Wolfpack and only committed 4 for 20 yards themselves. More praise must be sent in the direction of the coaching staff. It is no coincidence that the Canes have won 3 of their games either late in the 4th quarter or in overtime. This is proof that Head Coach Al Golden’s philosophy is being bought into by the team and rest of the coaching staff. “U-Tough” results are not just mere numbers on a piece of paper; the results are displayed in the 4th quarter of games when the Hurricanes are still fresh and hungry for more. Golden and his staff have changed the culture of the program. This young Hurricanes team growing and winning right before your eyes.