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Miami might have something cooking.
The Hurricanes have been plagued by offensive inconsistencies in recent years, with poor quarterback play only exacerbating those ever-lingering issues. But with Houston transfer D’Eriq King leading an uptempo system installed by new coordinator Rhett Lashlee, the Hurricanes have looked downright stellar en route to a 2-0 start.
On Saturday night, King and the No. 17 Miami offense put up 485 yards in an impressive 47-34 win on the road against No. 18 Louisville. And it didn’t take long for the Hurricanes to set a tone.
After Louisville opened the scoring with a field goal, Miami responded with a laser-fast five-play, 75-yard drive that was capped off by a 17-yard touchdown pass from King to Will Mallory. On the next Miami drive, it was the other tight end — matchup nightmare Brevin Jordan — that inserted himself onto the night’s highlight reel.
By the time halftime rolled around, Miami built a comfortable 20-6 lead, and the second half was where the fireworks really started.
Louisville, after settling for field goals in the first half, scored touchdowns on its first two second-half drives. First it was a Javian Hawkins 19-yard run, and then Malik Cunningham hit Tutu Atwell for a six-yard score.
But there was one minor problem for the Cardinals: the defense allowed Miami to score on its first two touches of the second half. Yes, you read that correctly.
After Hawkins’ TD run cut the deficit to 20-13, Miami’s Cam’Ron Harris reeled off a 75-yard touchdown, going virtually untouched in the process.
And then, after UL’s 11-play, 74-yard drive that culminated with the Atwell touchdown catch again cut Miami’s lead to just a touchdown, this happened:
That was another one-play, 75-yard answer from the Hurricanes — this time an easy King toss to a wide-open Jaylan Knighton. That connection extended the lead to 34-20, and the Cardinals would never pull closer than two scores again in the game.
A 47-yard touchdown pass from King to Jordan — on another blown coverage by Louisville — eventually put the bow on Miami’s impressive victory, a victory that should have the attention of the rest of the ACC.
What does this mean for Miami?
It’s so early in the season that you don’t want to overreact. The downright poor play of Louisville’s defense certainly played a part in the success Miami had throughout the evening. At the same time, though, it’s hard not to be very encouraged by the early returns of the Lashlee-King pairing with the Hurricanes.
And it’s not just King either. His 325 yards and three touchdowns will grab headlines, but the array of weapons he was able to spread the ball around to was a big part of Saturday night’s performance. Jordan, with seven catches for 120 yards and a TD, was his favorite target, he was one of seven Miami receivers with at least one catch.
The Hurricanes have a nice group of running backs, too. They were on display in the team’s opening win against UAB and the Cardinals were clearly trying to make the King beat them through the air. King played his part, but the way Lashlee schemed up the offense made it pretty easy.
Miami played from ahead all night, so it’s hard to read too much into what we saw from the UM defense. The Hurricanes had an edge in athleticism in the trenches and saw defensive linemen in Cunningham’s face often. Cunningham finished with over 300 yards passing, but never seemed to get comfortable. On the other hand, UL was able to gash the Miami defense for 209 rushing yards, so there is still plenty for the Hurricanes to work on.
Next on the schedule for the Hurricanes is a home game against Florida State. From there, after a bye week, a trip to No. 1 Clemson awaits.
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