It wasn’t the prettiest of starts. One that included a weather delay that lasted over an hour; but the Miami Hurricanes finally pulled away from a Florida Atlantic team that kept the game close all the way into the third quarter.
Costly turnovers finally did in the Owls who now drop to 0-2 on the season. They were forced to use redshirt freshman Jason Driskel after starter Jaquez Johnson left the game with an apparent ankle injury.
Running Game Leads Miami Hurricanes to Win Over FAU
Even at the University of Miami, replacing a school’s all-time leading rusher isn’t an easy thing to do. With Duke Johnson moving on to the next level, it left the Hurricanes with a very skilled, albeit young backfield.
Sophomore Joseph Yearby, the team’s top returning back, used the strong play of his offensive line to explode for 246 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns to help lead the way to the Hurricanes victory. After running for 509 yards last year, Yearby ran for 149 yards on 18 carries against an Owls defense that had no answer once he got into open field.
He also caught three passes for a total of 97 receiving yards, including a 34 yard touchdown that put the Hurricanes up 14-3.
Miami got Yearby involved early, as the sophomore was involved in five of the team’s first seven plays before true freshman Mark Walton finally touched the ball.
While Walton didn’t have the same success on the ground yardage wise as he did last year (14 carries for only 42 yards), he finished three drives off with touchdowns. Through two games Walton now has 127 yards on 24 carries with four touchdowns.
It wasn’t the prettiest of first halves. Outside of the big plays, the offense wasn’t spectacular and the defense had problems stopping a Florida Atlantic team without their starting quarterback and running back – both leaving the game with injuries. Miami’s commitment to the running game, tempo, and overall team speed finally opened things up in the second half. The ‘Canes eventually rushed for 226 yards as a team.
Although the defense allowed several big plays, some of which were on third and long situations, they forced the Owls offense into four turnovers.
Kaaya Impresses With Poise
Despite keeping the offensive gameplan obviously conservative, Brad Kaaya was still able to impress – not with big plays but by once again showing poise beyond his years.
The sophomore showed great awareness in the pocket, sliding away from pressure while keeping his eyes up the field and throwing some good passes into traffic. One pass saw him connect with receiver Herb Waters for 45 yards after sliding in the pocket, and throwing the ball despite a defender getting his arm on the quarterback’s shoulder.
In the end, Kaaya completed 21-of-32 passes for 288 yards and a lone touchdown.
Despite the efforts from Kaaya, Walton and Yearby Miami was off to a slow start. The Hurricanes now head into next week’s match-up against the Nebraska Cornhuskers, a game that is at home but also against a team they lost to last year. The Hurricanes may have more questions than they do answers.