The Miami Hurricanes opened the 2017 season with a solid 41-13 victory over the Betune Cookman Wildcats.
Early in the game, Bethune Cookman took the opening possession of the day, and went on 12 play, 54 yard march that culminated in a 36 yard FG by kicker Uriel Hernandez to give the Wildcats a 3-0 lead. The Wildcats were quick and efficient in the passing game, and methodical in the running game, and that combination had the Canes defense a bit on their back foot.
The Canes, however, bounced right back on their opening possessions, using a diverse running game — including a keeper on an RPO by new starting QB Malik Rosier — to move down the field and into scoring range. The drive stalled and the Canes settled for a 27 yard Michael Badgley FG to tie the score at 3.
After forcing a Bethune Cookman punt, Miami went on a long drive, aided by a couple Bethune Cookman penalties. The drive covered 48 yards in 9 plays, culminating with a Mark Walton 5 yard TD run to give Miami a 10-3 lead early in the 2nd quarter.
At this point, the Canes defense started to dominate. The DL rotated players and continually disrupted the Cookman offense. Forced to punt yet again, Bethune’s punter Javaunie Franics boomed a 61yd kick, pinning Miami back on the 8 yardline.
That was of little consequence to Miami though, as the Canes went 8 plays and 92 yards to the end zone. Rosier hit his first deep ball of the game to Darrell Langham for 46 yards, and finished the drive with a 5 yard slant to Lawrence Cager. And just like that, Miami was up 17-3 and rolling.
The Canes defense, which now started featuring younger players such as Malek Young, Trajan Bandy, Jonathan Garvin, and DJ Johnson, forced yet another 3 and out. And, after the punt, Miami made quick work of the Wildcats. In just 4 plays, Miami covered 78 yards on their way to the endzone, the final 5 yards of which were a Malik Rosier pass to Darrell Langham for the score.
Cookman showed good fight, putting up a 14 play drive to march down the field for their 2nd FG of the day, bringing the score to 24-6 with just under a minute ANd, though Miami tried to mount a scoring drive with little time left, a fumbled snap (and no timeouts) ended that dream in the redzone.
Statistical leaders at the half:— Canes Football (@CanesFootball) September 2, 2017
Rosier - 11/17, 132 yards, 2 TD
Walton - 12 carries, 124 Yds, 1 TD
Langham - 3 Rec, 65 Yds, 1 TD pic.twitter.com/ik66hqKQzi
Miami came out with the ball to start the 2nd half, and went right down the field for a 72 yard drive, ending with Mark Walton’s 2nd TD of the day, this one from 6 yards out. And just like that, the lead grew to 31-6.
Betune, to their credit, refused to go away. The Wildcats took the ensuing possession 11 plays and 75 yards for their first touchdown. The 1 yard run and the extra point that followed, drew Bethune a bit closer at 31-13.
Miami, however, were not to be deterred. After the teams traded punts, Miami went 52 yards in just 4 plays to score another TD. This one was a dart from Rosier to WR Braxton Berrios, who early beat the coverage of his defender before catching the ball and walking into the endzone. And just like that, Miami’s lead was 38-13.
The teams would trade punts a few times before the score would change. BUT, before that, Malek Young had an interception and was caught wearing a huge cuban link chain on the sideline, the picture of which lit social media aflame. Here’s Fox Sports’ sideline reporter telling all of us about the Turnover Chain
Midway through the 4th quarter, Miami put the 2nd team offense in the game, led by QB Evan Shirreffs, and made good progress until a very stupid personal foul penalty by WR Dionte Mullins. The drive still yielded points, however, when K Michael Badgley hit a 50 yard FG to push Miami’s lead to 41-14 with just over 5 minutes left in the game.
The next Bethune Cookman drive would be their last, and it wasn’t good for the Wildcats. After completing a pass, the WR was BLOWN UP by freshman S Amari Carter, fumbled the ball, and it was recovered by Miami.
The Canes ran out the clock and emerged with their first victory of the season.
In his first start of the 2017 season, Malik Rosier had a solid day for the Canes. The QB went 17-28 passing for 217 yards and a career-high 3 TDs. He added 4 carries for 41 yards, a true testament to his running ability, which is a huge addition to the Canes’ offense.
There were highs and lows from the game, sure but, in the end, a 41-13 win is a positive first step in the 2017 season, and one upon which Miami looks to build both consistency and exellence.
On to Arkansas State.