The Miami Hurricanes went into the matchup against the 20th ranked Virginia Cavaliers with a sense of desperation and urgency. Bryce Perkins brought his 4-1 (2-0 in conference play) team into Hard Rock Stadium for a primetime ACC Coastal showdown on ESPN. The game marked N’Kosi Perry’s first start of the season. Sophomore kicker Turner Davidson also replaced Bubba Baxa in the extra point department. The Canes offense came out on fire in their first drive. The eleven-play series ended with a 17-yard TD pass from Perry to DeeJay Dallas. A meticulous drive by the Cavaliers was stalled in the 2nd quarter by a failed FG attempt. Just before the half, a coverage bust by DJ lvey led to to a 49-yard catch by Hasise Dubois. On trend for the rest of the game, Virginia’s drive sputtered in the red zone. Miami’s defense answered the call throughout the game and worked in tandem with the offense in the waining moments to seal the victory.
Third Star: N’Kosi Perry
The Five Hive finally saw N’Kosi Perry start a game this season. Perry started off the game in an exciting and efficient fashion. He continued to use his legs, sense pressure, and extend plays throughout the game. For much of the contest, he struggled to connect on deep balls like the one to Mark Pope in the second quarter. He also had errant pass to Jeff Thomas that could’ve been intercepted in the end zone. However, he was able to sustain Miami’s lead in the fourth quarter with a long catch-and-run by Brevin Jordan and his TD scramble with two minutes left locked in the win. Perry remained composed and didn’t make any key mistakes to put the game in jeopardy.
Second Star: Gregory Rousseau and Company
The Hurricanes was dominant in the defensive trenches. Wayne Taulapapa and Mike Hollins only ran for 34 yards. Additionally, when Perkins dropped back to pass, Gregory Rousseau, Pat Bethel, Johnathan Ford, Jonathan Garvin, and Trevon Hill created pressure. The pass rush and the stout interior play was a huge reason why the score remained close all night long. Ford’s momentum-changing forced fumble in the 3rd quarter and Rousseau’s 3rd down sack in the fourth quarter were both pivotal moments tonight.
First Star: Manny Diaz
The Canes came into this game allowing the most 4th-down conversion in the country and a tendency to not make crucial stops. Inconsistent tackling continued to show up in the game. However, the defense had huge red zone stops and remained tenacious. The linebackers rallied to the ball, the turnover chain came out, and the entire unit played together. Manny Diaz had his fingerprints all over the game. He mixed up coverages and brought the blitz, allowing the Miami’s defense to stifle the Cavaliers on the scoreboard.
Honorable Mention: Michael Pinckney
It wasn’t just the defensive line that contained Virginia’s run game. Michael Pinckney was all over the field. Whether it was rendering the Cavaliers’ running game or TEs ineffective, Pinckney and the linebackers helped escalate the tone that the pass rush set throughout the entire showdown.
What are your stars for the game?