It was a pretty cool day in Orlando and surprisingly windy as the Miami Hurricanes took the field in the same stadium that they will play the Florida Gators on August 24th to open the 2019 college football season. Emotion was high and fans from all over the state made their way to central Florida to their first look at The New Miami.
After watching the first drive of the game, it looked like the defense was going to dominate the day. Jarren Williams trotted out with the second team offense to take on the first team defense and wound up taking a sack in the endzone for a safety after Jonathan Garvin and Scott Patchan chased him down.
N’Kosi Perry, who hit 9 of his 13 pass attempts on the day for 145 yards and touchdown, came out the very next drive and changed the narrative immediately. His first pass went to Will Mallory for a 39-yard gain, which was followed by a Deejay Dallas 22-yard touchdown. Perry’s biggest play of the day came on a 32-yard touchdown pass to true freshman Jeremiah Payton late in the second quarter. Payton finished the day with three catches for 51-yards and the lone touchdown.
Then the Tate Martell show started. Although he didn’t score on his first drive, he hit freshman Jeremiah Payton and Mark Pope for first downs and led the offense to the red zone before Nesta Silvera forced an errant throw that was too high. His next drive was short, simple, and impactful. K.J. Osborn slanted down the middle of the field and Martell hit him in stride. The graduate transfer from Buffalo broke a tackle and took the pass 80-yards for a touchdown. He finished the day with 3 catches for 105 yards and a touchdown and carried the ball 7 times for 29-yards – 17 of which came on one play.
Williams came back out and his unfortunate day continued as he threw an interception on his first pass attempt that was brought in by redshirt senior James Murphy. Osborn, the intended receiver had a step on Murphy and Williams simply under threw it.
Late in the third quarter, he redeemed himself when he threw a perfectly placed ball for a diving Will Mallory, who came down with the catch for a 15-yard score. The redshirt freshman had been playing like a guy who could start on this team and it could have been argued that him and Perry were seperting themselves from Martell in this quarterback race, but it does not look that way after today.
Martell, who finished the game 6-10 for 154 yards and two touchdowns, looked vastly improved from the player we saw just a week ago at Traz Powell.
Cam’Ron Harris and Deejay Dallas continued to run the ball well, but not as well as they did last week. Harris finished the day with 72-yards on 13 carries and Dallas had 51-yards on 13 carries as well. The defensive pressure was borderline dominant all day as they collected nine sacks and 16 tackles for loss on the day.
True freshman Jahfari Harvey, Greg Rousseau, and Jordan Miller each had two sacks, while Scott Patchan and Patrick Joyner collected two tackles for loss themselves. Joyner, who was moved to linebacker due to a lack of depth, played extremely well today and led the team with four tackles.
Overall, it was good to see that the offense was able to move the ball against our defense at times. We expected the defense to be ahead of the offense, but it looks like Dan Enos has his guys learning and progressing through the playbook. K.J. Osborn is starting to look like the go-to receiver in the absences of Jeff Thomas, Mike Harley, and Brian Hightower and I expect that it will remain to be that way even in their return. It would not surprise me one bit to see him lead the team in receptions.
Now that spring football is over, the success of the team lies in the hands of the players. Manny Diaz has been open about the fact that its up to them now to get together and run practices themselves since the coaches can’t be involved for the next couple of months. The quarterback that is putting in the most work, that’s studying the most tape and throwing the most routes with his guys, and building that trust between himself and his teammates is going to be the guy who eventually wins this job.
And with that said, spring football is officially over. I’m out.