The Miami Hurricanes opened their 2017 season with a 41-13 win over the Bethune Cookman Wildcats. Here’s our recap of the game:
Now that the recap is out of the way, let’s dive into some analysis/reaction with The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
Here we go:
Here are some of the things I liked from today’s game:
- We won. Winning is good and that needs to be said.
- Mark Walton. The junior RB had 148 yards and 2 TDs and was generally a beast for the Canes. Bethune Cookman tried to be a scappy outfit today, but nothing they did could contain #1.
- Malik Rosier’s running. He kept the ball on the first RPO of each half, and just the threat of a QB keeping the ball on that play made a huge difference, and helped create lanes for Walton and backup RB Travis Homer to do work.
- Darrell Langham. I’ve been vocal about my low expectations for #81, but I have to give credit where it’s due. Langham led all WRs with 65 yards and a TD in the game, and showed the ability to use his size to great success.
- Lawrence Cager scoring a TD in his first game back after missing last season with a torn ACL.
- The resiliency of the defense. After the opening FG drive, the Canes’ D forced 3 straight 3-and-out possessions. That was good.
- Michael Jackson. He covered. He blitzed. He tackled on the outside. He tackled in run support. He did it all, and did it well. A stellar performance from a 1st time starter.
- The Freshman class as a whole. Overall, 16 true freshman made their collegiate debuts. The talent was apparent from the first snap, and continued as more players got into the game. Mistakes were made, but it was great to see the young kids get out there and do well.
- AMARI CARTER WITH THE HIT STICK OF THE DAY
This is Amari Carter. He is a freshman. He is also a freak. pic.twitter.com/ZxCp05oLb3— Jeremy (@JFialkow305) September 2, 2017
- Michael Badgley. 2/2 on FGs, including a 50 yarder that had PLENTY of room to spare, 5/5 on extra points, and 50% touchbacks on kickoffs. That’ll work.
- Zach Feagles. His first college punt? 51 yards and downed at the 2. His second? 48 yards. That, too, will work.
- 28 first downs
- 550 yards total offense
- 8.5 yards per play
- All but 2 drives on the day ending with points
- 7 TFLs
- 2 turnovers forced (1 Interception, 1 Fumble)
These things, I didn’t like:
- Bethune held the ball for 34:29 of game time. That’s far too much.
- Rosier’s missed throws. Yeah, he had a good percentage, but a couple of the misses were BAD. There was a crossing route to Jeff Thomas where Thomas was W I D E O P E N that would have been a TD had Rosier not missed it. Can’t have that. Can’t miss throws like THAT.
- Also, Rosier missed (i.e. didn’t look his way) Dionte Mullins up the numbers on a bubble screen play in the 3rd quarter (Mullins faked blocking his man then released up the field on a go route, not the bubble). When I said Jeff Thomas was W I D E O P E N on the last bullet point, that is NOTHING in comparison to how open Mullins was on this play. I know there are progressions and maybe Rosier was supposed to look the other way, but MAN that was 6 and he didn’t see it and that’s bad IMO.
- Rosier’s propensity to check the ball down. The QB could have hit a couple routes (slants and things, not all bombs), but he wouldn’t even throw them. Error avoidance is a good thing, but when it’s the main focus (which I am saying it was on multiple plays), that’s bad.
- PENALTIES. 8 flags for 83 yards (and much more hidden yardage, too). You can’t have that and beat good teams. Tighten up.
- Dee Delaney. He got roasted over and over and over again on one drive. It was so bad, they subbed him out. Then, the next drive, Miami went with Michael Jackson, Malek Young, and Trajan Bandy at CB instead. I know another writer said Delaney flashed physicality and looked like a 1st round pick....but that was only if you watched the 3 drives where Miami forced 3 and outs. Otherwise, there was much to be desired.
- Zach McCloud’s roughing the passer penalty. And, not bad on McCloud, bad on the refs. Terrible call. Horseshit.
- Not seeing N’Kosi Perry. Yes, this is subjective and personal to me, but I wanted to see #5 at QB today and it didn’t happen and that’s bad in my opinion and I’m writing this piece so you’ll just have to deal with it.
- 20 first downs for Bethune
- 5.1 yards per play for Bethune
- Giving up a combined 10-19 to Bethune on 3rd and 4th downs.
These things are unacceptable, period:
- The penalties in the 8 penalties for 83 yards. A chop block by Darling. The aforementioned RTP on McCloud. A personal foul on Mullins for something away from the play in the red zone. You CAN NOT have those.
- The energy of the team. It was low energy early, and a malaise late. There was so little energy in the stadium for part of the 3rd quarter that I honestly almost fell asleep. In the press box. Watching the game. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said “nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm” and my goodness I need the Canes to heed those words because this game was a drag.
- The execution. I spoke to a couple other writers at halftime and we had the same consensus: the first half was bad. There were a couple good plays, and thank God for Mark Walton carrying this team or it could have been a different story.
- The lack of variety on offense. IDK if that was a function of it being Rosier’s first start, or trying to stay vanilla with all the new players, or trying not to put things on film, but I didn’t like it.
- Not to beat a dead horse, but Dee Delaney tried to use press coverage on a specific play and the WR bullied him to the ground. If the QB had thrown a better pass, that was an easy TD. Let’s hope that’s the low point for Delaney this season, because that was bad.
- 350 yards allowed to Bethune. That sucks. Do better.
- Miami allowed Bethune to have 3 drives that were longer than 4:30 each, including the first drive of the game that took up HALF THE FIRST QUARTER.
Solid, but unspectacular. 41 points is good, but things could have been so much better. Maybe I’m being harsh, but you can debate me in the comments if you feel that way.
Just too many “money down” conversions. Too many penalties to extend drives. Too many missed assignments (Bethune hit passes to convert 3rd downs on a few coverage busts by the LBs). Just not enough dominance from a group this talented.
Special Teams: B+
Badgley was his typically-great self. Feagles was fantastic. Jeff Thomas had a 31 yard kickoff return. Braxton Berrios did well with punt returning and his decision making. The only thing that kept this grade from being an A: kickoff coverage. Badgley had to make a tackle on a kick return, and that’s never a good thing. Mark Richt mentioned in his post-game presser that this is an area that needs immediate attention and I agree with him.
Playing a bunch of guys was good. The production on offense was good. The defense made plays, but had a bit too much bend in it for my tastes. Adjustments came from time to time, but could have been quicker, IMO. Good not great, but a solid B to my eye.
That’s it for The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Hop in the comments and share your thoughts.