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Mark Pope Shines in Hurricanes’ Home Opener

Hurricanes fans have awaited the emergence of sophomore wide-out Mark Pope.

NCAA Football: Bethune Cookman at Miami Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the fact that Miami’s home opener wasn’t much of a competition, Mark Pope put his skills on display, showing fans his potential and how talented the former 5-star recruit truly is.

This was by-far Pope’s best game as a Miami Hurricane, snagging 3 receptions for 92 yards, as well as a 21-yard run that came on a ‘jet’ sweep. One of his receptions came on a 54-yard deep-post, which Pope had to adjust to due to it being underthrown. What Pope displayed was solid ball-skills, speed, and ellusiveness — hopefully, he can build off this in the next few weeks — his ‘shining moment’ has been a long time coming.

NCAA Football: Bethune Cookman at Miami Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

“It was coming,” head coach Manny Diaz said in a post-game interview. “We knew Mark’s day was coming. Great job by Jarren to get him the ball. The post was a great call by Dan Enos, we kind of had a feeling he would be wide open one-on-one with a chance for an explosive play — same thing on the far sideline later on in the game…”

Following his 21-yard rush in the 3rd quarter, however, Pope went down with what seemed to be a knee injury. What’s more concerning is the fact that he had to walk off the field with assistance.

“Even the play he got hurt on, just really looked dynamic turning the corner on the wide receiver sweep,” Diaz said about Pope. “The leg injury, we’ll find out how bad it is. Hopefully, it’s not too severe.”

Going down with a major injury would be heartbreaking, as Pope was just about to cap-off his best game in a Hurricanes jersey. All we can do is hope for the best, as the sky’s the only limit on Mark Pope’s upside as he grows into a consistent contributor for Miami’s offense.