The University of Miami unleashed a potent rushing attack versus FAMU that was so successful Saturday night the offense ran for 115 more yards than they threw.
UM combined for 339 yards rushing, with Derron Thomas leading the team with 109 yards on the night, while Charlie Jones, Javarris James, and Tyrone Moss combined for four rushing touchdowns.
"All of our running backs can go out there and run the ball," James said. "If somebody gets hurt or is tired, the next guy can come into the game and do even better. There isn't a drop off in the running game."
The passing game was very methodical versus FAMU. Miami's longest pass of the night was a 24-yarder to tight end Greg Olsen. The ‘Canes had some chances on some deep throws, but couldn't connect.
Wright finished the game 13-of-18, for 166 yards and one touchdown. Darnell Jenkins led all receivers with six receptions for 62 yards.
"We wanted to go out tonight and get points on the board," quarterback Kyle Wright said. "We wanted to be efficient and we pretty much scored on almost every drive that we had tonight."
UM's defense started the game a little rusty, allowing the FAMU offense to advance into Miami territory while to converting a 3rd-and-15 in to a first down. FAMU also managed to chew up five and a half minutes off of the clock on the opening drive.
Miami responded with a methodical, 11-play, 93-yard touchdown drive that was highlighted by a 19-yard run by James that took the ‘Canes to the five yard line. Charlie Jones scored the touchdown on a 1-yard run.
The defense allowed three first downs and 55 yards in the opening quarter. FAMU converted 2-of-4 third downs.
The second drive again ended in a touchdown. The drive was again methodical, going 78 yards on 9 plays and chewing up 3:51 of the clock. The big play of the drive was a 24-yard reception to Olsen.
Running back Tyrone moss entered the game on the next drive with eight minutes left in the second quarter on first and ten from the 32-yard line. Moss received a pass on his first snap for seven-yards. The first rush by Moss was for a loss of one yard.
The drive ended on a 21-yard screen pass to James from Wright. The touchdown was James' first of his UM career. The drive took 12 plays and covered 78-yards and went 6:27.
"It was a great feeling," James said of his first touchdown. "It was better than I expected. I didn't even expect to get in the end zone. I didn't even expect to play this year."
Kirby Freeman entered the game with 2:15 left in the second quarter. Freeman threw an interception to safety Jason Beach on his third passing attempt. FAMU converted the turnover for a 44-yard field goal.
The defense allowed two first downs in the second quarter, while converting 1-of-4 third downs for a first down. UM allowed 47 yards total in the quarter.
Wright returned for the beginning of the third quarter. Moss received his second carry on the drive and gained 4-yards. On his next carry, Moss had a nice 11-yard burst for a first down. Moss gained nine yards on a run up the middle and then capped the drive with a 20-yard run. The drive went eight plays covering 80 yards.
"It felt good coming back," Moss said. "I have got to thank the offensive line though. They did a great job of opening up holes and protecting the quarterback. I don't know how many yards rushing we had, but I know we did well today."
"He is going to get better and better as the year progresses," Coker said of Moss. "I think it was good for him to get in the mix."
The defense forced its first turnover of the game with 10:28 left in the third quarter when Bryan Pata caused a fumble and Eric Moncur recovered the loose ball.
UM converted the turnover into a touchdown on a 3-yard run by James with 9:28 left in the quarter. James setup his touchdown run with a nifty 27-yard scamper. The drive went three minutes on three plays and covered 30 yards.
The defense allowed their biggest play of the night on the Rattlers next drive, allowing a 40-yard pass. FAMU followed that play with an 18-yard pass, which went to UM's 7-yard line. On the next play, Kiser caught a 7-yard touchdown pass.
Freeman reentered the game with seven minutes left in the third quarter. Derron Thomas ripped off 16 yards on his first run and followed that up with a 10-yard run. Fullback Jerrell Mabry scored on a
5-yard pass from Kirby Freeman.
In the fourth quarter, the UM defense gave up a 39-yard pass on go route after FAMU gave a pump fake. Miami forced a fumble that was recovered by Baraka Atkins later in the drive.
The play of Derron Thomas was a bright spot for UM in the second half. Thomas averaged 9.9 yards per carry and was electric each time he touched the ball. One play that won't show up on the stat sheet is a pass block Thomas made to give Freeman time to hit Mabry for a touchdown pass.
"I am just trying to make as many plays as I can with whatever opportunities I get," Thomas said. "I am trying to break long runs and get big gains."
The defense gave up a total of 225 yards on the night and 13 first downs, while converting 4-of-10 third downs. Miami gave up three plays of more than 20 yards.
The defense looked sloppy at times and they know they must improve for next week's game at Louisville.
"From a defensive standpoint I think we played worse than we did last week," said linebacker Jon Beason. In the second game of the season, we shouldn't have made those mental errors."
David Lake can be reached at email@example.com
Miami defeated Florida A&M, 51-10
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