Saturday was a special day for Miami football. Roughly 20 minutes before kickoff, the Hurricanes celebrated seniors not only in uniform, but those that help manage the team during day-to-day activities. It was special watching Shaq Quarterman, Michael Pinckney, Pat Bethel, Trevon Hill, K.J Osborn and others run through that tunnel and get recognized.
Regardless of the amount of time spent here in Coral Gables, each of the guys honored played a role in the success and legacy of this program. And a 52-27 win in dominant fashion over Louisville and a record-breaking six touchdown passes from Jarren Williams to keep their ACC Coastal chances alive was the absolute best way to send them off.
Here’s how it happened:
The Louisville offense got going early on with a 19-yard reception to Tutu Atwell out of Miami Northwestern on opening drive, but Al Blades Jr. broke up a pass on 3rd and 5 that ended the Cardinals first drive after a single first down.
A Mason King punt pinned the Hurricanes on their own 8-yard line and the Hurricanes offense responded by finding Mike Harley four different times in the drive for 57-yards. Two facemark penalties against Louisville on Harley receptions added an additional 30-yards to the drive and Deejay Dallas was able to punch it in the end zone from the Hurricanes 5-yard line.
It capped off a 7 play 92-yard drive that gave the Hurricanes a 7-0 lead with 9:32 left in the first.
The Cardinals got the ball back and nearly turned it over when Canes safety Amari Carter forced Atwell to fumble it, but Louisville found a way to get on top of it. The second opportunity proved costly for Miami, who gave up an 80-yard touchdown reception to Atwell to tie the game at 7 halfway through the first quarter.
It was the longest pass the Miami Hurricanes had allowed since Manny Diaz got here in 2016.
But Miami responded with a massive play on the first play of the ensuing drive. Miami quarterback Jarren Williams, who finished the day with 253 yards on 15-22 passing, dropped back and threw a strike to sophomore wide receiver Dee Wiggins, who spun around Louisville corner Marlon Character, leaving him in the dust as he cruised into the end zone for a 67-yard touchdown reception to put Miami back on top by a touchdown.
The Hurricanes defense responded with three straight tackles for loss, including a sack by senior linebacker Michael Pinckney.
The punt from King to redshirt senior K.J. Osborn was returned 38-yards to Lousiville’s 14-yard line, which set up a screen to Deejay Dallas on the following play that went for a touchdown.
It was the second straight drive that only took one play for the Hurricanes to score, but this one put Miami up 21-7 with 4:49 left in the first quarter.
The defense continued to overpower the Cardinals offense with a couple of tackles for loss from Scott Patchan and Shaq Quarterman, but Cunningham found a lane on 3rd and long that went 17-yards for a first down. It clearly gave Louisville some momentum.
The following play was a play-action pass call by Louisville that went for 23-yards and that was followed with a 25-yard rush by Hassan Hall that put the Cardinals in the redzone.
A false start and snap infraction penalty on back to back plays pushed Louisville back to Miami’s 16-yard line and after a 10-yard pass to Hall, Cunningham found tight end Ean Phiefer for a 6-yard touchdown, bringing the game within a touchdown less than a minute into the second quarter.
It was a 10 play 80-yard drive that ate 5:28 seconds of clock.
And, finally, the Hurricanes didn't score on the first play of the drive, but sophomore running back Cam’Ron Harris ran the ball 46-yards to the Louisville 33. He would finish the game with 78 yards on the day.
An 11-yard reception by Osborn on the next play put Miami in the red zone and a 6-yard scramble by Williams on third down moved the sticks and led to a 10-yard reception for Wiggins, his second of the game and third on the season.
It gave Miami a 28-14 lead with 11:04 left in the second.
And the Miami defense responded with a quick three and out, which was highlighted by a huge 4-yard tackle for loss by sophomore corner D.J. Ivey on the shifty and explosive Atwell, forcing Louisville to punt.
But for the first time, the Miami offense did not score, or even get a first down. Instead, punter Lou Hedley pinned their offense at their own 14-yard line.
And after yet another three and out for the Hurricanes defense, which featured a tackle for loss by Trevon Hill on Cunningham, Al Blades Jr. got a piece of a punt giving Miami a very short field.
Williams was able to move the chains on a 3rd and 9 with a 12-yard scramble, his second third down conversion of the day using his legs.
It extended the drive as the skies opened up, as did the passing game once again as Williams found tight end Will Mallory alone in the endzone for a 17-yard touchdown, giving Miami a three touchdown lead late in the first half.
It was the first time the Hurricanes scored 30+ points in the first half of a game since scoring 33 against UNC in 2018.
A Jon Garvin sack ignited the following defensive possession, but a Greg Rousseau roughing the passer call gave the Cardinals a slight spark.
After finding Atwell for 22-yards, Louisville faced a 4th and 3 before a false start penalty made that a 4th and 8. Cunningham dropped back and threw a great ball that went over the shoulder of Blades Jr. and into the hands of senior wide receiver Seth Dawkins for a 36-yard gain.
But Cunningham forced a ball up to the freshman Atwell and Ivey came up with his third interception of the year, which virtually ended the half.
Deejay Dallas opened up the second half with a 20-yard run in the pouring rain, which pushed Miami down the field quickly. It led to a 31-yard touchdown reception by Mike Harley, who forced two defenders to miss and gave the Hurricanes a 28-point lead early in the third quarter.
It was Williams’ fifth touchdown pass of the day to his fourth different receiver.
On the ensuing drive, Louisville ran the ball three times for 70-yards and scored quickly, brining the score to 42-21.
Miami got the ball back and couldn't do much with it. Jarren Williams took his first sack of the game and Miami was forced to punt.
Lou Hedley’s kick was muffed by Atwell and recovered by none other than Jimmy Murphy, who actually BROKE THE CHAIN while wearing it on top of Miami’s bench. It was a fantastic moment at Hard Rock Stadium.
Jimmy Murphy gets the turnover chain for the Canes pic.twitter.com/Pe80Yy3UPR— Will Manso (@WillManso) November 9, 2019
Three plays later, Williams found Harley once again for a 28-yard touchdown, his sixth of the game, which breaks the Miami Hurricanes record for touchdown passes in a game. Harley finished the game with six catches and 116 yards to along with his two scores.
It gave the Hurricanes a 49-21 lead midway through the third quarter.
But the Miami offense didn't slow down after once again shutting down the Cardinals offense. Harris’ 25-yard rush moved Miami into Louisville territory and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on defensive lineman Ty Tyler pushed Miami into the red zone.
The Hurricanes ultimately settled for a field goal and Camden Price split a 24-yarder to give Miami over 50 points against an FBS opponent for the first time since doing it against Toledo in 2017.
On the following drive, Al Blades Jr. intercepted a pass from Evan Crowley, a true freshman quarterback who replaced Cunningham. It was the Hurricanes third forced turnover of the game.
When Louisville got the ball back, Hassan Hall took a run 58-yards to the house, taking the score to 52-27 after a missed extra point.
And with that, Jarren Williams’ day was done, as was most of the Hurricanes first team offense. N’Kosi Perry entered at quarterback, true freshman Jeremiah Payton got some snaps at receiver and Robert Burns was in the backfield.
The Miami defense wasn't perfect and susceptible to allowing big plays today, but they were still able to put together 14 tackles for loss and three sacks, led by Pinckney, who had eight tackles and three for a loss of his own.
The offense, on the other hand, put up nearly 450 yards of total offense and allowed just a single sack in the game — a huge step forward from the offensive line we saw for much of the year.
The Hurricanes will be off next week before taking on FIU at Marlins Park at 7:00 p.m. on Nov. 23rd.