An early chance to prove they are “back” escapes the Hurricanes.
The Miami Hurricanes kicked off the 2019 season like their nickname implies, with ferocity and chaos.
With an in-state game against the hated Gators, an animal that lurks in the swamp beneath the surface.
Two teams engaged in high drama without aesthetic pleasantry or grace.
On the national stage, just like it should be.
Miami wasn’t expected to win by most or make a game of it by many.
But that is exactly what they did.
We can explore the coulda-woulda-shoulda all day, Canes fans have seen these game slip away too many times.
The Hurricanes had their chances but the game unraveled by their own hand.
There was some good.
Quite a bit of bad.
And holy shit was there a lot of ugly.
Jarren Williams took control of the starting quarterback position in fall camp and the decision looks like a home run.
The redshirt freshman looked ready and poised under the bright lights and under heavy fire.
He took 10 sacks behind an offensive line that was exploited against a barrage from the Gator front seven.
Time and time again he got up off the canvas, and had the team in position to win.
Williams avoided the big mistake, although he did put the ball on the ground late under duress.
He finished 19 for 30 for 214 yards with one touchdown and looked more calm and collected as the game progressed.
DeeJay Dallas had a solid game (12 carries, 95 yards, one touchdown) and his physical running style brutalized the Florida defense.
Overall however the rushing game struggled, only gaining 87 yards on a measly 2.7 YPC after sack yards on Williams factored in.
Brevin Jordan (five receptions, 88 yards, TD) also had a breakout night and there are plenty of encouraging pieces on offense.
Cam Harris looks like a perfect compliment to Dallas and had a game changing run called back by penalty.
Another bright spot was the run defense which held Florida to just 52 yards on the ground.
Oh, and Turnover Chain 3.0, or 305, made its debut and Miami rocked the new ice on four occasions.
A lot to cover here.
Mistakes riddled the opening game for Manny Diaz and his new coaching staff.
Delays of game and false starts took the life out of drives that weren’t killed by sacks.
Williams was running for his life against a constant barrage of blitzes.
Both teams were sloppy, combining for over 200 yards in penalties on the night.
Diaz was not pleased.
“There were a couple major blunders on special teams and the short fields right there really ended up being telling in a very low scoring game where everything mattered. I thought our guys played with a lot of courage. I think they played with a lot of effort. But it doesn’t matter because we lost the game. We did not come here to play with courage and effort. We came here to win the game and it’s not OK at the University of Miami ever to lose to the University of Florida. Everybody in that locker room feels the pain of that right now.”
Mistakes should be expected with a mostly new coaching staff and quarterback, but the mental lapses compiled at an alarming rate.
The players were not the only ones making mental mistakes though.
Officials cannot be blamed for the result but it definitely was not a stellar night for the zebras.
That being said the calls went for and against both teams so the impact is moot.
The big uglies lived up to that monicker in resounding fashion Saturday night.
Allowing double-digit sacks at this level is uncommon, a performance like this raises many questions.
Florida is an elite defense but the Miami front five looked like matadors out there.
Part of that has to also fall on Dan Enos and the play calling.
In the first half Williams got rid of the ball quickly but in the third quarter is when things started to get sideways.
A fumble by Jeff Thomas on a punt with Miami up 13-1o started to signal the beginning of the end. Florida took it the rest of the way and reclaimed a 17-13 advantage.
Florida outscored Miami 10-0 in that 15 minutes which segued into the fourth quarter from hell.
That quarter started out with a bang for the Hurricanes.
The Hurricanes missed their shot at the end
That power move put the Hurricanes back on top 20-17 but was ultimately false hope.
The next three drives ended with a missed field goal and two failures on fourth down,
Miami pulled out some tricks when Bubba Baxa ran for a first down on a fake field goal.
The play had offsetting penalties with a hold by Miami, but an unnecessary roughness penalty on Florida gave the Hurricanes new life.
Which ended quickly.
Baxa missed a chip shot from 27 yards which proved costly as the Gators marched 80 yards in just four plays to retake the lead, one they would not relinquish.
Williams was sacked three times on the final drive, which also included a 15-yard chop block penalty.
Miami was gifted one last opportunity when the Gators were flagged for pass interference on 4th and 34.
How do you get to 4th and 34?
Illegal block penalty for 15 yards makes it 1st and 25
Pass to DeeJay loses one, 2nd and 26.
Williams sacked and fumbles, Dallas picks it up and gains four.
Third and 22, why not take a delay of game for five?
Third and 27, we like even numbers so give us a sack and a seven-yard loss.
There you have it, the night for the Hurricanes in a nutshell.
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