With lessons learned in Louisville, Hurricanes host FAMU in home opener

Posted September 10, 2014


The Miami Hurricanes host Florida A&M at Sun Life Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 6.

The Canes lost out their first game against the Louisville Cardinals on Labor Day night. Miami waited almost nine months for the game; however, the Cardinals won 31-13  at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

After the overwhelming defeat, news media and fans placed their attention on Hurricanes’ new quarterback. Brad Kaaya is a true freshman who finished 17 of 29 for 174 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. While fans had hoped for better, Kaaya failed to put up outstanding numbers.

Nonetheless, Kaaya did have some effective throws, such as: the wheel route pass to running back Duke Johnson, the touchdown pass to tight end Clive Walford. And UL’s Danny Isidora negated a big time pass from Kaaya to Duke that would have put the ball right outside the end zone.

UL’s redshirt sophomore quarterback Will Gardner finished with solid numbers: 20 of 28 passing, 208 yards and two touchdowns. Then, he lead to his own shaky moments – he lost fumbles inside Louisville’s own 20-yard line twice.

On the other hand, for Louisville, Monday night was supposed to be a party for the hosts. It was a celebration of the school’s new membership in the Atlantic Coast Conference and a welcome-back for the Coach Bobby Petrino.

“They had a great plan and they played really fast,” Petrino said. “We tackled well and got a lot of guys to the ball. We were able to get after the quarterback and get off the field on third down.”

Miami’s Duke Johnson, a preseason all-ACC first-team selection, was held to 90 yards on 20 carries. Cardinal seniors Lorenzo Mauldin and Deiontrez Mount combined for nine tackles, including three for losses.

The Hurricanes will host the Rattlers from Tallahassee in Week Two after a short week of practice and figuring out how to improve on both offense and defense. It is an opportunity for the Hurricanes to return to winning after the team lost five of its last seven games. The Florida A&M plays in NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision as a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

Based on the history, the football team won the Black College National Championship eight times from 1938 to 1961. And six Florida A&M University football players were named to the Preseason All-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference team. Last week, the Rattlers fell to Jackson State 22-17 on a 50-yard prayer as time expired.

In hopes of beating the Hurricanes, Florida A&M will need help primarily from the quarterback Damien Flemings, who passed for 188 yards and ran for a team-high 59 against Jackson State. A potential strength for the Rattlers could be Colby Blanton, who averaged 51 yards per kick in Week One, including a 77-yarder as his best.

At the same time, Hurricanes desperately need a victory. After showing his inexperience, Kaaya needs to work out some methods to improve himself.

“It’s a tough position (playing first game at Louisville) for him to be in, but I think he is going to make a lot of progress in the next four or five days,” Miami Coach AI Golden said after the game. “He is going to learn a lot from that – being in that environment, being in that experience.”

In the coming days, Hurricanes are supposed to focus on practice and film study.

Seniors Denzel Perryman and Thurston Armbrister and junior Raphael Kirby lead a ferocious linebacker corps that has played together for two seasons. The defensive end turned linebacker, Lorenzo Mauldin is the main force. He racked up 9.5 sacks for a lost of 64 yards and 13 tackles for a loss for 72 yards.

The Hurricanes are expected to pay attention to their defense line this week, which will strengthen the team. As for the Rattlers, 3-9 a season ago, they lost a 76-0 thumping at Ohio State. And the team has already announced that it is fully prepared for the game against the Hurricanes.