It was a tough pick this week with so many guys playing well.
After starting out a bit slow in the first quarter, the ‘Canes exploded in the second quarter for 24 points, including 21 in the final six and a half minutes of the first half.
Lance Leggett returned to the scene and Kyle Wright had his best performance to date as the starting quarterback. Many players got the opportunity to play, including tight end Chris Zellner who caught his first touchdown pass and Andrew Johnson who busted out with 60 yards on four carries, including a 46-yard carry on his first touch.
Overall, it was the type of performance that was desperately needed and with Temple looming next week in Philadelphia, the ‘Canes will need another one just like it heading into their final five games that has them facing Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Virginia sandwiched around a game at Wake Forest.
With that said, we give you our top ‘Canes today.
TOP 5 OFFENSIVE PLAYERS
1. WR Lance Leggett – We finally caught a glimpse of the Leggett we saw last year when he was establishing himself as a serious playmaker for the ‘Canes. After starting the season off quite slow, Leggett stepped up big catching four balls for 65 yards and 29-yard touchdown grab down the ‘Canes sideline to give Miami a 17-0 lead with 6:37 to play in the first half. His catch gave the ‘Canes all the momentum as they proceeded to put the game away before the end of the half.
2. QB Kyle Wright – Wright must have felt real good today following his performance over the first two and a half quarters. He led the team to a 38-7 lead before back up Kirby Freeman took over for him and did quite well himself. Wright was very accurate completing 18 of 31 passes for 255 yards and three touchdowns. He also had two interceptions, but the first one was a dropped ball that turned into a pick and the second one was on a Hail Mary attempt from midfield on the final play of the half.
3. WR Ryan Moore – Moore is clearly Wright's favorite target. He made a great grab over the middle in the first quarter en route to a seven-catch, 87-yard performance. He caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Freeman. His 20-yard grab over the middle in the first was worthy of some highlight reels; however, Moore has to cut out the drops, as his drop inside Duke's ten led to an interception on the play. Moore did in the meantime extend his consecutive games streak with a catch to 25 games.
4. WR Sinorice Moss – Moss has become Mr. Reliable. When the ball hits his hands, it's rare that it won't stick. Moss caught four passes for 74 yards and a touchdown and also rushed twice for 23 yards on end arounds. His touchdown grab gave Miami a 31-0 lead heading into the largest halftime lead the ‘Canes have had since leading 34-0 against Louisiana Tech on September 18, 2004.
5. TE Greg Olsen – Olsen made some nice grabs including an 18-yard touchdown grab when he faked out a defensive back, took it down the UM sideline broke a tackle and dove into the end zone for the score to give Miami a 24-0 lead late in the second quarter. He finished the game with three catches for 31 yards and a touchdown.
TOP 5 DEFENSIVE PLAYERS
1. LB Leon Williams – The senior linebacker led the stout ‘Canes defense with six tackles that only allowed 128 total yards to Duke and if you subtract an 81-yard touchdown run at the start of the third quarter by Duke's Ronnie Drummer, the ‘Canes would have held the Blue Devils to only 47 yards on 56 plays.
2. KR Devin Hester – Hester didn't play in the second half due to cramping and dehydration, but made his presence felt over and over again in the first half, especially returning punts. He had a couple of ridiculous returns where it looked like he should have been taken down with negative yardage, but on one, he returned it for a touchdown that was called back for a holding. He was credited with a 43-yard return on the play, and had four returns for 101 yards, but that return will probably be a highlight on Sportscenter.
3. DE Eric Moncur – Moncur earned his first start of his career taking the spot of Thomas Carroll and made his presence felt recording two tackles and a recovering a fumble that led to Miami's first touchdown of the game at the Duke seven-yard line. He also had a half-sack.
4. DT Orien Harris – It's time people start paying attention to Harris who is a monster in the trenches. Other than the 81-yard touchdown run at the start of the third quarter, Harris led his line mates holding Duke to only 39 yards rushing 39 carries. Harris also recorded a half-sack.
5. LB Roger McIntosh – McIntosh recorded six tackles, one and a half tackles for loss and a sack to help lead the defense. He spent a good part of this time smashing Duke running backs and also did a good job in pass coverage helping the defensive backs stymie the Duke passing game.
It's hard not to mention the ‘Canes defensive backs who dominated the game. They only allowed Duke EIGHT passing yards, as the Blue Devils were 4 for 17 for 8 yards. UM was able to play a lot of their defensive backs, and they all did a great job.
Rudy Rodriguez-Chomat is a Staff Writer with CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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