Top Performers vs Colorado

We might have to accept now that the University of Miami is not going to play pretty football offensively most of this season if the first three games are any indication of the product the ‘Canes will have as they have continued to struggle inside the red zone.

But defensively, the ‘Canes are hardnosed and tough. They hit, hit and hit some more.

The final score read 23-3 over Colorado, but it wasn't that close. If the Buffaloes don't hit a 58-yard field goal, it would have been the first time in almost two decades that Colorado would have been shut out.

The officials robbed the ‘Canes and Leon Williams of a late touchdown on a fumble return courtesy of Kareem Brown after Jon Beason slammed Buffaloes' quarterback Joel Klatt in what was essentially a block that looked worse because Klatt is a quarterback and he happened to jump which made his fall look rough.

Officials treat quarterbacks like porcelain dolls and for that Williams lost his touchdown and the ‘Canes won by only 20 in a game they should have won by 40 because this was pure and simple, a dominating defensive performance.

Sure the Buffaloes finished with over 300 yards of offense, but most came once Miami was up 23-3 and was giving Colorado the underneath stuff.

Inside the red zone, the ‘Canes continued to struggle offensively. In between the 20s, the ‘Canes looked solid for the most part as Wright was hitting his receivers and the team was able to move the ball, but once they got inside the 20, things just seemingly fell apart.

Kicking five field goals is simply too many when three of them are less that 35 yards and only one is more than 40 yards.

However, Joe Peattie, who hit three field goals missed two he should make, something that against a great team like Virginia Tech will come back to haunt the ‘Canes as it did against Florida State.

With that said, we'll take a look at the top five offensive and defensive players in the ‘Canes win over Colorado.

But we'll start with the defense because the defense won this game.


1. SS Brandon Meriweather – Is there any doubt about this one. Meriweather has been phenomenal over the past two weeks. Greg Threat was a pre-season All-ACC selection. It's time people start looking at Meriweather who is turning himself into a first round pick in next year's draft if he continues what he did today against Colorado and last week against Clemson. Meriweather was in play after play leading the team in tackles with 12, including two for loss and a pass defended. He put the wood on Colorado tight ends and was the tackler on two third and shorts forcing Colorado to punt.

He added an interception that led to a ‘Canes field goal giving them a 16-0 lead. Meriweather is more impressive every single week and is making a name for himself nationally as ABC commentators Brent Musberger and Gary Danielson raved about Meriweather throughout the game.

2. LB Roger McIntosh – McIntosh didn't do anything spectacular per say, but he did everything the ‘Canes needed from their strong side linebacker. He did a bit of everything. Pressured the quarterback, covered tight ends like glue, supported the run defense and flat played his tailed off recording six tackles. McIntosh seemed to provide the ‘Canes defense an emotional lift early and when he hit, the Buffaloes felt the pain.

3. FS Kenny Phillips – Is this kid the real deal or what? Phillips was all over the field making tackle after tackle. Colorado is a team that loves short crossing routes, but Phillips made sure that if the Buffs caught the ball that's as much as they would get on the play. He didn't miss any tackles and laid some nice hits on Buffs receivers and tight ends. Phillips also did a great job supporting the run finishing with seven tackles, all solo tackles and a pass defended. Starting his second game as a true freshman, it's a scary thing to see because Miami has at least three years of this because if Phillips continues to play like he's been doing the past two weeks, he's a first round pick following his junior year.

4. CB Marcus Maxey – Although Maxey was injured in the second quarter and missed the entire second half, he made his mark early when he picked off Joel Klatt in the second quarter and returned the interception 32 yards to the Colorado 27-yard line leading to the ‘Canes second field goal to give them a 6-0 lead. He read Klatt and jumped the route to make a great play on the ball. The ‘Canes did miss his presence in the second half, but it gave freshman Randy Phillips some important playing time with the first unit, something that can only help the ‘Canes later this season.

5. LB Jon Beason – We have to show Beason some love. The Beast is playing like a beast as he was in a number of plays recording four tackles; however, his pancake block of Klatt was a poster shot that he can put on his wall even though the blind officials called a personal foul on him for the hit which was clearly a clean play, not unnecessary roughness or anything that could be construed to be a personal foul.


1. QB Kyle Wright – I said in my prediction Kyle Wright had to play big. For the most part he did that. Offensive coordinator Dan Werner changed up the scheme a bit and allowed Wright to get the ball to his playmakers on short hitches; however, Wright had too many passes batted down, something that he and the offensive line need to correct, particularly when a number of the batted balls came on hitch passes. Wright finished 19 for 39 for 261 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions, but he also showed his heart when he scored a touchdown on two-yard touchdown run stretching the ball and his body over the pylon. One thing to be recognized about Wright is the fact he hasn't thrown an interception since the first half of the Florida State game and the ‘Canes as a team have not turned the ball over in the last 10 quarters covering two-plus games.

2. WR Sinorice Moss – I said a wide receiver would step up in this game in my prediction. I called Ryan Moore's name, but it was Moss who made some spectacular grabs to finish with five catches for 111 yards and a 53-yard touchdown reception. With Wright showing a tendency to be high with his throws, Moss had to sky to grab three of Wright's passes while leaving his body in the open to get drilled. On his 53-yard touchdown pass, Moss blew by the cornerback and had to actually slow down a little for Wright's deep ball down the Colorado sideline to get to him.

3. WR Lance Leggett – Welcome back to the party Lance Leggett. The ‘Canes clearly worked on some things during the practice week to get the ball to Leggett a lot more as he only had one catch for –8 yards following the first two ballgames. Leggett caught four passes for 39 yards, three of them on short hitch patterns to let Leggett make a play. He also caught a deep out that gave the ‘Canes a first down. Hopefully this will help his confidence and he will continue to play the way he did today.

4. FB Quadtrine Hill – With Tyrone Moss clearly looking like he didn't have any legs under him today, Hill came up big in the running game. He only had four carries, but in those carries he ran up 54 yards and was actually playing running back ahead of Derron Thomas and Charlie Jones in a one-back set. Had Hill, who generally is a sure-handed receiver out of the backfield, caught the two passes Wright threw his way, Hill would be the No. 3 offensive playmaker of the game. One of the drops was a screen pass that would have him walking into the end zone behind a convoy of UM linemen. The other would have gained at least 10 yards, but his running of the ball was key for the offense.

5. TE Buck Ortega – Surprise Surprise, the key tight end in this game wasn't Greg Olsen, but little used in the passing game, Ortega who caught two big passes in the second half to lead to two UM scores. The first was a 23-yard catch out of the H-back position where he snuck out in the play action and was wide open catching Wright's pass in stride to give the ‘Canes the ball at the Colorado 14-yard line. Peattie connected from 33-yards to cap the drive and give Miami a 16-0 lead. Ortega's second grab came on a 20-yard pass down the seam on a second and 16 play that gave Miami a first down at Colorado 18-yard line after a roughing penalty on Colorado. Wright scored on a 2-yard run to give Miami a 23-3 lead four plays later.

Rudy Rodriguez-Chomat is a Staff Writer with CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at

Canes Time Top Stories