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DJ Ivey Has Put Early Season Struggles Behind Him

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Cornerback DJ Ivey has flipped the script on his season

Miami v Pittsburgh Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Following the Miami Hurricanes loss to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets a little over two weeks ago, one of the plays that you looked back on and shook your head was in the first quarter. Facing a 4th-and-7 from the Miami 41-yard line, Tech faked their punt and threw a touchdown to an open “receiver” down the sideline. Sophomore cornerback DJ Ivey was responsible for the blown coverage, and received the frustration from fans.

The humiliating loss to Georgia Tech was only amplified by Ivey’s play that day, which even he’d admit wasn’t up to his standards.

Ivey entered 2019 as the favorite to replace Michael Jackson and start at cornerback. I’ve always been impressed with Ivey, and was already making predictions about him in the summer.

However, his season got off to a rough start when he was suspended for the opening game against the Gators. He made his first start against UNC two weeks later, but struggled.

Even in games that Miami won, like against Virginia, Ivey just looked unprepared in coverage and often times appeared lost. Though it wasn’t just Ivey, Trajan Bandy and Al Blades Jr. made up an often confused cornerback unit out on the field.

However, the Georgia Tech game was when fans had simply seen enough, when Ivey allowed not just the fake punt touchdown, but another one as well.

With Miami sitting at 3-4 and two tough road games ahead of them, Ivey and the Canes secondary was sticking out like a sore thumb. That following Saturday, UM headed to Pittsburgh to take on the Panthers, who came into the game with a dangerous passing attack.

Ivey reversed the script and came up huge against the Panthers, playing his best game of his career up to this point and making two plays that kept Miami’s hopes and dreams alive. The first big moment came in the first quarter with Pitt up 3-0. Thanks to some help by linebacker Zach McCloud, who tipped a Kenny Pickett pass, Ivey was in the right place at the right time and snagged his first career interception.

Ivey’s second interception came not too long after his first, it actually came just a few minutes later within the first 40 seconds of the second quarter. Ivey again read Pickett, and capitalized on the ill-advised pass, snatching another pick. That pick led to a touchdown drive by the Canes to give Miami the lead.

When he wasn’t intercepting passes vs Pitt, Ivey was locking down his receiver anyway. He allowed just one reception for six yards on the day in coverage, as Miami escaped with a 16-12 win.

The next game for the Hurricanes would be going up against rival Florida State, and their talented group of receivers led by Tamorrion Terry. For the second straight week, Ivey was once again a superb cover man, and his performance didn’t go unnoticed on social media either.

Just like Pitt a week prior, Ivey allowed only one catch for six yards, and again made a game-changing play, deflecting a pass into the air for safety Bubba Bolden to come away with the interception.

He also contributed in shutting down receiver D.J. Matthews to just 4 catches for only 24 yards, the FSU WR who claimed not to be afraid of Miami’s defensive backs the week leading up to the game.

Ivey has come up huge these past two games for Miami, and hopefully this means that he’s going to continue to be this shutdown cornerback that he’s been lately, as the Hurricanes defense will surely need him.