Freshman WR Shields 2nd in Receiving Yards

Midway through the fourth quarter, Sam Shields turned what seemingly looked like was going to be a short gain into a 54-yard pass play.

With backup quarterback Kirby Freeman in the game, Shields turned a little hitch route into the biggest gain of this season.

"It was a little hitch route and when I got the ball I did a little move and then everybody thought I was out of bounds, but it was so close that I just kept running," Shields said.

The gain took UM to the FIU seven yard line. Wide receiver Lance Leggett then caught a seven yard touchdown from Freeman. After the game, fellow Leggett said Shields deserved to get that touchdown and was disappointed the freshman did not score.

"The safety had a good angle on me and when I cut back there was another defensive back behind me," Shields said. "I tried to get into the end zone, but the safety had a good angle on me."

Shields is currently second on the team with 231 total yards receiving on the season. He is averaging a little more than fifteen yards per catch—the most of any receiver who has had significant playing time.

With UM tight end Greg Olsen possibly out this week because of a mild concussion he suffered versus FIU, receiver Ryan Hill suspended in wake of the FIU brawl, and Leggett likely being covered by stud cornerback John Talley, the play of Shields will be crucial this week.

As a freshman, Shields is becoming more comfortable with the offense each week. He hopes to build on his solid performance versus FIU with a better performance this week versus Duke.

"Well, like I said before, it starts with practice," Shields said. "When you work hard in practice, then you take it on the field. I had some catches in the game and ran my routes well, and even though the fighting situation happened, we still had to play football."

David Lake can be reached at lake@canestime.com

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