Jacksonville Sports Day

Canes: King, Harris Carry Miami Past UAB, 31-14

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The game Canes fans have been patiently waiting for finally happened and the Miami Hurricanes gave the orange and green faithful a big reward for their patience.

The Canes (1-0) defeated UAB (1-1) in Miami’s season opener, 31-14, before 8,153 masked and socially-distanced fans inside Hard Rock Stadium on Thursday night, with veterans like Cam’Ron Harris and Brevin Jordan, as well as newcomers like D’Eriq King and Quincy Roche making major contributions in the Hurricanes’ victory.

“Couldn’t be more proud of our players. Just, number one, everything that they did to get us to this day. Starting back June 15th, the first workouts, did everything we asked them to do in the summer, kept each other safe—just gave us the chance to play today,” head coach Manny Diaz said.

“And then our performance, it’s a season opener, there’s a ton of stuff to correct, but [I liked] just our demeanor, our temperament on the sideline, the way the guys supported each other and the way we just stayed after that UAB team,” Diaz continued. “That’s a really good UAB team. No one does what [we did to them] in terms of rushing yards and total yards. Everyone in this profession knows Bill Clark is an outstanding defensive coach and to run for over 300 and have almost 500 yards of offense is really impressive.”

While Miami posted 492 yards of total offense and it’s defense forced 11 punts, it was UAB that got a break with 3:24 remaining in the opening quarter as new punt returner Mark Pope lost the football while being tackled and the Blazers recovered to regain possession at the Miami 17. Two plays later, quarterback Tyler Johnson connected with Austin Watkins for a 16-yard touchdown to take a 7-0 lead.

The Hurricanes answered in a big way, as Diaz elected to go for it on fourth and one from the Miami 34 and the decision paid off when junior running back Cam’Ron Harris shot through a hole for a career-long 66-yard rushing touchdown. Jose Borregales followed with his first extra point and the two sides were even at 7-7 with 1:04 left in the first quarter.

“I thought that was pretty straightforward,” Diaz said of going for it on fourth down. “It was one [yard] to go and when you have the element of the quarterback’s legs, it just adds another gap and just gets somebody’s eyes off. And they were really in a sell-out, everybody-up-there defense, so once Cam [Harris] broke the front line, there was no one left to get him.”

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