Grading the Canes: Offense

Miami's offense started strong on Saturday against North Carolina but sputtered down the stretch of that game. Lets take a closer look at how each unit performed on Saturday.

Quarterbacks: C
Robert Marve finished the game completing 18-of-27 passes for 135 yards and three touchdowns. Unfortunately, he also threw two costly interceptions. If you factor in two legitimate drops, Marve would have been at 74-percent completion percentage. He's doing a nice job spreading the ball around and putting the ball into the hands of his playmakers. 7.5 yards per competion, however, isn't going to knock anyone's socks off. Marve did miss some open targets, though, too. Prior to Miami's second touchdown, Marve overthew a wide open Dedrick Epps in the endzone. He missed Epps later in the game when the Canes were facing a second-and-14 late in the game. And the most important one was when he overthew Kayne Farquharson in the endzone on the final play of the game. Sure, the ball hit Kayne in the hands but even Marve said after the game that if the ball were thrown better, it would have been a touchdown. Coach Nix is doing a good job of building Marve's confidence by calling a lot of high percentage throws but UM still hasn't hit the deep ball yet this season and that's a concern when you have this many playmakers around you. Marve did a nice job of bringing his team down the field on the final drive but he did miss some open receivers and did turn the ball over a few times.

Jacory Harris completed 4-of-6 for 39 yards and one of his two incompletions was due to a drop. He did, however, hit a UNC defender right in the hands (it was dropped). He was able to lead UM on a long field goal drive in the first half.

Running Backs: B-
Graig Cooper looked very impressive running the football for the second straight week. He ran with authority, broke some tackles, and did a nice job exploding through some big (and small) holes. He threw some nice blocks as well and made some plays in the passing game, including a touchdown reception in the first half. He finished the game with 139 total yards and a touchdown. He averaged 6.3 yards per touch. Backup Derron Thomas had three carries for 10 yards and also had one catch for one yard. He was a non-factor for the most part. The Canes should benefit tremendously when Javarris James returns because it'll give the team one of the best one-two punches in the ACC and will give the Canes a solid between-the-tackles presence. Fullback Patrick Hill threw some nice blocks but missed some as well.

Wide Receivers: C
After Randy Shannon talked two weeks ago about cutting back the number of wide receivers who would be in the rotation, the Canes are still using nine of them on a regular basis. Kayne Farquharson continues to be the most reliable of the bunch. Not only did he lead the team with three catches for 51 yards and a touchdown, he has become Marve's favorite target. He led all receivers with five targets in this game and he's the guy Marve went to when the game was on the line. Thearon Collier was thrown to four times and caught three of them for 22 yards. He dropped one on a play where he was knocked to the sidelines. Aldarius Johnson was thrown to twice, catching both balls for 12 yards and a touchdown. Davon Johnson was thrown to once and he caught it for 15 yards. Sam Shields was thrown to twice and he caught one for five yards. Khalil Jones was thrown to three times, catching two of them for 10 yards. LaRon Byrd was thrown to twice -- he caught one for one yard and dropped one.

Kendal Thompkins didn't even dress for this game, while Jermaine McKenzie did dress but did not play. As a group, the receivers caught 13 passes for 116 yards (8.9 per catch) and two touchdowns. They did a decent job blocking for the running game. There were a couple drops but nobody came up with a huge play the Canes could have used on Saturday.

Tight Ends: C
Dedrick Epps continues getting better and continues being more and more involved in the offense. He was thrown to six times in this game, catching three for 19 yards. He was open for a touchdown when Marve overthrew him in the second quarter. He dropped a ball late in the fourth quarter and also got a holding penalty called against him. Chris Zellner wasn't thrown to at all while Richard Gordon was thrown to three times, catching two for nine yards. The three tight ends combined for just five catches for 28 yards and they had a key holding penalty called against them. However, they were solid as blockers in the running game and they created some opportunities (like Epps being open in the endzone) that weren't taken advantage of.

Offensive Line: D
The Canes had their fourth different starting lineup in as many games on Saturday when A.J. Trump got the start over Orlando Franklin at left guard, even though Franklin got most of the reps there throughout the game. The Canes continue rotating eight different players, pretty much every other series (with the exception of Jason Fox at left tackle and Xavier Shannon at center). Reggie Youngblood was a little dinged and only saw 15 snaps in this game. The O-Line was opening up some nice holes early in the game and the team finished with 33 carries for 135 yards (4.1 per carry). Chris Rutledge was beaten for a sack, while it seemed like a pulling Orlando Franklin missed a blitzing linebacker on the second sack of the game. There were several other quarterback hurries on Marve throughout the game as well. In addition, the line was responsible for two very key holding penalties late in the game -- one on Fox and one on Shannon -- that were drive killers in this game.


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