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Rings but no Chains: Miami uses 3rd quarter surge to outlast UAB
Rings but no Chains: Miami uses 3rd quarter surge to outlast UAB
Jun 18, 2024 12:07 PM

The Miami-UAB matchup provided a few things for Canes fans on Thursday night. You have the first official South Florida sports event attended by fans in six months, the long awaited arrival of what was hopefully a competent but electric offense for the Canes, and finally the debut of an explosive quarterback in D’Eriq King.

King capped off his 1st win as a Miami quarterback with his 16th straight game of at least 1 TD thrown and 1 TD on the ground. In total, he went 15/23 through the air with 144 yards along with 83 rushing yards on 12 carries to lead the Canes to a 31-14 win over the Blazers of UAB.

“It felt pretty good. It was a lot of things that usually happen in the first game,” King said after the game. “We gotta get better on a lot of stuff.”

The impact of the former Houston QB was felt throughout the game, as his scrambling ability saved Miami on multiple third downs and helped the Canes finish with 25 first downs.

Soon after UAB scored the game’s first touchdown with 2:40 left in the first quarter, the Canes went for it on 4th-and-1 on their own 34, which led to a 66-yard touchdown run by Cam Harris. Harris would be the one to unveil this year’s new touchdown rings, which show “The Crib” in a shiny, diamond-filled finish. Harris would finish with 134 yards on 17 carries and 2 TD’s.

“Cam’s work ethic this calendar year has been through the charts,” coach Manny Diaz said on Harris after the game. “…so you always want to see a guy like that rewarded in a game that is worthy.”

Harris’ performance was only a figment of the relentless running game by Miami. As a team, the Canes accumulated 337 yards on the ground amongst five players: King, Harris, Jaylan Knighton (59 on 9 carries), Don Chaney (52 yards on 8 carries), and Robert Burns (12 yards on 4 carries).

“Once we pound the ball, give the defense time, we’re gonna take shots,” said Harris on Miami’s running attack.

The passing game for Miami did not come as easy, as King had a couple of errant overthrows, including a for-sure five-yard throw to an open Jeremiah Payton that was just out of his reach. Leading by only 7 at halftime, King and the entire offense seemed to find their rhythm once he went to Brevin Jordan. Jordan was not targeted in the first half but finished with three catches for a team-leading 51 yards and a touchdown in the third quarter alone while Miami was able to piece together two 7-play, 70+ yard touchdown drives that helped pull them away.

UAB quarterback Tyler Johnston III got off to a great start, completing 8 of his first 9 passes but inaccuracy woes started creeping in during the second half as he finished 15 of 23 for 150 yards and one touchdown. Johnston looked often to receiver Myron Mitchell, who led UAB with 117 yards on 8 catches, but both of their performances were not enough to overcome Miami’s overbearing running game.

Overall, the Miami defense had results of all sorts. We did not see the new turnover chain, but besides that, the run defense was very stout. The Canes held the Blazers to only 80 rushing yards and 3.1 yards/carrywhile the pass defense experienced a lot of early woes but seemed to recover as the game progressed. The Blazers were going after corner DJ Ivey for the bulk of the first quarter and he allowed about a handful of catches to Myron Mitchell. Ivey was also beaten on UAB’s first touchdown after his body was turned to the wrong side defending Blazers’ receiver Austin Watkins.

The lone Miami sack belonged to Quincy Roche, as the Temple grad transfer finished with four tackles total. Junior DT Nesta Silvera also played a big role in that nasty Miami run defense today as he had five tackles. And although the box score may not exactly give you a clear perspective on his impact in tonight’s game, Jaelan Phillips found himself applying persistent pressure on Johnston throughout the entire game.

The Canes played in front of a home crowd of 8,153, which is well under the 13,000 fan limit the stadium will allot.

Miami’s next game will be next Saturday on September 19th at Louisville and the game will be broadcasted on ABC with a time TBD.

Stay tuned to Five Reasons Sports for the latest in Miami Hurricanes coverage and be sure to look out for next week’s episode of The Sixth Ring.

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