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The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly: FIU edition

Miami won the game, and it’s time to dive into the action and give out grades.

NCAA Football: Florida International at Miami
The future is now.
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Hurricanes moved to 3-1 on the season with a 31-17 win over the FIU Panthers on Saturday afternoon.

Here’s our game recap by Marshall Thomas

Here are our 3 stars from the game by Matt Washington

And now, let’s dive into The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

The Good

  • Winning. Look, I know you may think this is trite, but we play to win the game, and Miami won the game, and that’s good.
  • Apparently by predetermined design, N’Kosi Perry took over for Malik Rosier on the 3rd series of the gameand showed the kind of elite talent that everybody had seen from him as a recruit. His touchdown to Lawrence Cager was GORGEOUS
  • Perry, who played the majority of the game today, finished 17-25 for 224 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, and 9 carries for 32 yards. I (and many others) have been clamoring to see Perry get significant playing time, and that happened today, and he was great. Not perfect, but his talent shined in a way that Miami hasn’t seen at QB in years. And he was named player of the game. Hell yes.
  • The defense was huge and smothered FIU’s offense all game long. In the first half, the Canes held FIU to 15 yards on 20 plays. Through 3 quarters, those numbers were 48 yards on 37 plays. Elite as elite can be.
  • Sheldrick Redwine had a diving interception, his second of the year then wrote another sign. Hi Mom!
  • RB Travis Homer had a big day on the ground. The junior ran for 114 yards and a TD on 13 carries. After seeing other guys have the big numbers in the last couple weeks, I’m sure it felt good for Homer to have the game he did on Saturday.
  • WR Mike Harley. Filling in for a dehydrated Jeff Thomas (we’ll get to that), Harley had 7 catches for 76 yards on the day. Harley has always been revered as one of the hardest workers on the team through practice, and it was good to see him have a nice game today as well.
  • TE Brevin Jordan continued to show his elite skillset. The freshman had 5 catches for 67 yards and a BEAUTIFUL touchdown from Perry just before halftime. I’m so glad he’s on my team.
  • Junior WR Lawrence Cager did work. 2 catches for 43 yards and 2 TDs. Earlier this week we wrote that Cager should be a bigger part of the offense, and though his catch numbers were down, nobody can complain about the productivity of scoring every time he caught the ball.
  • Senior DT Gerald Willis III continues to be a man amongst boys this season. Fighting double teams all day long (Willis III said post-game he didn’t remember a play where he was blocked on-on-one), Willis III had 5 tackles, 3 TFLs, a QB Hurry, and countless other plays where his penetration helped one of his teammates make a play. Ball out, fam.
  • Junior DE Joe Jackson came alive with his best game of the season today. 4 tackles, 2 TFLs, 1.5 sacks, and 3 QB hurries. That’s the 99 that I expected to see all season and I’m elated that he showed up and showed out today.
  • Sophomore DE Jonathan Garvin is a terror for opposing offenses. 5 tackles, 2.5 TFLs and 0.5 sack. NFL teams better start taking notice now because number 97 is looking like a 1st round draft pick in 2020.
  • Sophomore S Amari Carter. He only had 1 tackle on the day, but Carter filled in admirably for superstar S Jaquan Johnson, and showed that Miami has elite talent at the Safety position both now and for the future.
  • Credit to the Offensive Line, as well. Sure, there were some missed blocks on the day, but overall they did very well giving Perry (and Rosier to a lesser extent bc he only played 2 series) time to throw, and creating lanes for both QBs and the RBs to run. Credit where it’s due: The OL play has improved these last few weeks. Now, let’s see it against ACC teams moving forward.
  • 11 TFLs
  • 2 sacks
  • 4 PBUs
  • 1 interception
  • 488 yards of offense
  • 248 yards rushing at 5.1 yards per rush
  • 24 first downs
  • 8-15 on 3rd down
  • 6.3 yards per play
  • 12 yards per completion
  • 14 chunk plays (5 passes, 9 rushes) This is the exact same number ad breakdown of chunk plays from last week at Toledo, FWIW.
  • Allowed 3-14 on 3rd downs
  • Allowed 0.7 yards per carry
  • 36:49 time of possession
  • 3-4 in the red zone (all TDs)
  • 6 kickoffs, 5 touchbacks, 0 kicks out of bounds. Thank you.

The Bad

  • 13.1 yards per completion allowed
  • 8 QB hurries but only 2 sacks. Gotta close and get the QB on the ground more. (and yes, I’m ABSOLUTELY nitpicking here)
  • N’Kosi Perry’s interception. It came on a 3rd down play he was extending by running to his left — his non-dominant side — and was thrown late down the field. The pass was basically a floated “arm punt” so it didn’t hurt Miami, per say, but interceptions are still bad, so it’s listed as bad.
  • The absences of Jaquan Johnson and Ahmmon Richards. Those are 2 of Miami’s best players, and even though the game was won, it would have been better to see them on the field. Hopefully they’ll return sooner than later.

The Ugly

  • Burgeoning superstar WR Jeff Thomas left the game with dehydration in the first quarter. He had been in on kick return, base offense, and punt return, and had just scored a TD on a long PR (that ended up getting called back for holding). CMR said he should be good to go for Thursday’s game and beyond. Whew.
  • Sophomore punter Zach Feagles continues to struggle. 3 punts for 89 yards...a 29.7 yard per punt average. That’s not good enough and it needs to improve or Miami needs to find another punter. Either one works for me.
  • 0-2 on 4th down. 1 was a barely missed pass from Perry to Jordan in the endzone. The other was a QB sneak that didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell. Both were bad because they failed. Which makes it ugly.
  • 6 penalties for 60 yards. After 1 penalty in the last 2 weeks COMBINED and a 0 penalty game at Toledo, this was super sloppy for Miami. Gotta get this fixed.
  • Conservativism. 1 vertical throw for Perry. Not pushing to score more when the chance was there before pulling Perry. There’s no reason Miami should have only scored 31 points today.

The 4th Quarter

  • Yes, this was so bad, so ugly that it gets its own section
  • Miami lost the 4th quarter to FIU 17-0.
  • This included a blown blitz coverage (you can’t have the CB and S FROM THE SAME SIDE OF THE FIELD both blitz on the same play) which left an FIU receiver so wide open he couldn’t even believe it.
  • This included a Cade Weldon fumble, which FIU recovered and turned into a FG.
  • This included a successful FIU onside kick.
  • This included a long bomb to the same FIU receiver who caught the TD on Gilbert Frierson.
  • This included ANOTHER TD pass to the same FIU receiver, again on Frierson.
  • This included FIU gaining 139 of their 187 yards of total offense in the quarter
  • After giving up all these points, Miami went BACK to N’Kosi Perry at QB, after he’d already exited the game after his strong performance, just to settle things down and get to the end of the game without further incident.
  • Again, even if it was with 2nd and 3rd string players in the game, MIAMI LOST THE 4TH QUARTER TO FIU 17-0!!!! THAT. IS. UNACCEPTABLE.

Team Grades

Offense: B-

This was the N’Kosi Perry show, and that was awesome finally seeing him get a chance and doing numbers. The run game looked good. The receivers played well. Tight Ends got into things. Yeah, things lagged when Perry sat, but otherwise, a solid day at the office.

Defense: Starters A; Backups: F--

First 3 quarters was as elite a defensive performance as you’ll see. The 4th quarter was terrible. Horrible. No good. Very bad.

Special Teams: C-

Kicking was fine. Punting was putrid. Returns were fine. But there was a penalty on Jeff Thomas’s TD return which sucked. But i

Coaching: B

AN A FOR FINALLY PLAYING N’KOSI PERRY!!!!!!!!! Some other things irked me, but that move was so good that even with the bad, this was a B for me. Debate me all you want on this one.

That’s it for this edition of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Go Canes