Quarterback D’Eriq King totaled 248 passing yards and 16 pass completions in the team’s wire-to-wire, 48-0 win over Duke in Durham, North Carolina, after a three-week layoff on Saturday night.
Miami pulled off its first shutout victory on the road since their Syracuse win at the Carrier Dome (N.Y.) in 2000, despite 15 players, including linebacker Zach McCloud, defensive tackle Jared Harrison-Hunte, wide receiver Jeremiah Payton, and cornerback Al Blades, all sidelined due to recent COVID-19 implications.
Coach Manny Diaz’s team forced five turnovers against the Blue Devils, nonetheless, four of them being fumbles and the other an interception late in the game. The Hurricanes outran their ACC foe 220 yards to 56, averaging 5.2 yards per rush.
“I’m obviously very proud of our football team,” Diaz said. “It’s hard to go somewhere on the road and shut somebody out. The defense I thought from the opening kickoff was spectacular. Duke has had an issue in turning the football over (and) to get five turnovers … it was nice to see it (Turnover Chain) come back out as often as it did tonight.”
King was able to demonstrate his playmaking and leadership abilities once again in the primetime matchup, throwing for three touchdowns to three different teammates for what would form a 35-0 lead by the four-minute mark of the third quarter.
“I know getting back in the building (this week) was a different kind of energy,” King said. “I think our coaches did a great job all week of just trying to get us prepared for the game. We came out here every day and I think we cut it loose. I’m just super proud of the team and the coaches.”
Brevin Jordan, who had missed the team’s previous games against NC State and was limited in availability versus Virginia Tech, wasted no time asserting himself in the offense, scoring his first touchdown in over two months.
“Brevin’s a great player, he’s one of the best in the country,” King said. “It’s always good having him full go. Him and Will Mallory I think is the best tight end duo in the country. I don’t think you can find two guys that talented on the same team. So, having him back was big.”
After heading into the intermission ahead 21-0, Miami did not take their foot off the gas pedal having not beaten Duke anywhere since 2017.
King threw a two-yard pass to wide receiver Dee Wiggins on the first drive of the third quarter, and followed up with an 89-yard pass to wide receiver Mike Harley to expand the lead to 35-0.
“I think the receivers did a really good job tonight as well,” King said. “They made plays when they had to. The (offensive) line did an outstanding job of protecting me all night and coach Lashlee did a great job of calling plays. I think we just put everything together.”
Defensive end Jaelan Phillips recorded multiple tackles, spearheading the Canes’ defensive efforts as a leader for defensive coordinator Blake Baker.
“I’ve always played with the highest motor that I can,” Phillips said. “My biggest thing is controlling what you can control and effort is one thing that you can always control. So, I think the reason production is kind of coming later on in the season is just I’ve been able to get comfortable and start working new moves and gel with the defense more.”
Running back Cam’Ron Harris ran into the endzone for a second touchdown with just over two minutes left in the third period, after a 34-yard run in the first quarter.
Kicker Jose Borregales, who initially missed a 43-yard field goal attempt at the end of the first half, kicked two consecutive field goals from 52 and 32 yards in the first six minutes of the fourth quarter.
“We came out firing off of all cylinders — special teams offense, and we just fed off each other,” linebacker Corey Flagg Jr. said.
Duke, on the other hand, received an underwhelming amount of production from its quarterback and backfield throughout the evening, as Clemson graduate transfer quarterback Chase Brice threw for 94 yards and zero touchdowns and running back Mataeo Durant led the team with 48 yards on 10 carries.
“Being blanked on the scoreboard definitely hurts your pride as an offensive player,” Duke receiver Jake Bobo said. “It hurts. There’s not much you can say right now that’s going to make you feel a whole lot better. It’s embarrassing.”
Having improved to 8-1 (7-1 ACC), the Hurricanes will host No. 17 ranked North Carolina on Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium, a program that has ranked as high as fifth in the AP Top 25 rankings this fall. Diaz and his team lost to the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 28-25, last September after relinquishing eight points to the home team in the fourth quarter.
“UNC will have our full attention,” Diaz said. “[We] obviously remember the game a year ago. It left a bad taste in our mouth and our players will be highly motivated for North Carolina coming into our stadium. Make no doubt about that.”
Miami’s 10th contest of the season has yet to be assigned a start time or broadcast information.
Duke will travel to Tallahassee, Florida, on Saturday after not being able to play the Seminoles at home this week due to COVID-19 cases present in Florida State’s locker room.