Grading the Canes: Offense

The Hurricanes played their worst offensive half of football on Saturday to start the Florida State game. The team battled back late in the game, as the offense picked things up some. Lets take a look at what position units were doing what.

Quarterbacks: D-
Robert Marve played the worst game of his young Hurricane career. Whether it was the constant pressure from Florida State's front four or the bad weather conditions or the fact that Miami completely abandoned the running game after the first quarter, Marve did not play well at all. He connected on just 17-of-40 for 122 yards, no touchdowns, and two picks. Sure, receivers dropped four of his passes and had another one taken from its hands but in addition to his two picks, Marve threw five balls that hit FSU defenders somewhere in the hands. That means seven of his 40 throws hit FSU defenders somewhere in the hands. He was inaccurate all night, often missing open receivers (like he did Leonard Hankerson by underthrowing an open Hank for a possible touchdown early in the fourth quarter). To Marve's credit, he showed some good toughness and was throwing into a defense that knew exactly what Miami was going to do after the first quarter -- throw the football.

Jacory Harris wasn't any better. He completed 3-of-7 passes for 32 yards and one interception. He was unable to get anything going offensively for the Hurricanes when inserted into the game.

Running Backs: B
The Hurricanes ran close to 70 total offensive plays and the running backs carried the ball just seven times for 25 yards. The Hurricanes went completely away from the running game after the first quarter, even when Graig Cooper was able to find some success running the ball. Coop did catch 7 balls but they went for just 16 yards. The best play of the night for the backs was Cooper's touchdown pass to Travis Benjamin to close the gap in the third. The backs had a hard time figuring out how to pick up FSU's blitz fest and they weren't able to utilize fullback Patrick Hill much since the team went with one back for most of the night. Cooper had a solid night, even though he was limited, but he was one of the few players on offense who really came to play.

Wide Receivers: C-
Travis Benjamin was the best player on the field for the Hurricanes on Saturday. Even though a lot of what he did came on special teams, Benjamin had a great night at receiver as well. He caught three passes for 71 yards and one touchdown. One of his two other catches went for a first down. He also had an 18-yard touchdown run that gave Miami its first touchdown of the game. Aldarius Johnson had a very good game as well, catching five passes for 55 yards. Three of his five catches went for first downs so he was moving the sticks. Leonard Hankerson had three catches for 44 yards, including two that went for first downs. He did have a drop, however, and had a ball stolen from him to start the fourth quarter. He was also open for a touchdown just before the half but was overthrown by Harris. True freshman LaRon Byrd had a key catch, a first down reception that went for five yards in the fourth quarter. Sam Shields caught two balls for 14 yards in the game but had three drops and made one of the biggest mistakes of the season when he became a 12th player out of the huddle when Miami took over first-and-goal late in the game, as they were trying to take the lead. Davon Johnson was also involved, throwing a nice block on Benjamin's touchdown run. Seniors Khalil Jones and Kayne Farquharson were thrown to several times but had no catches between the two of them.

Tight Ends: D-
Miami's three tight ends were only thrown to three times on the entire evening. It's unclear to know how much of that is due to them not getting open compared to how little they're being utilized in the passing game. Lets be honest, though -- the Canes don't have a Jeremy Shockey or Kellen Winslow out there running routes. Dedrick Epps is Miami's best pass-catching tight end but the tight ends will have to be more productive in the passing game if the Canes are to improve on offense as the season rolls on. Like the rest of the offense, the tight ends also had a hard time protecting the quarterbacks from FSU's constant blitzing.

Offensive Linemen: C-
The Hurricanes used seven linemen in this game, as they were playing without right tackle Reggie Youngblood due to injury. It wasn't a good night for this unit and you can tell by seeing how much left tackle Jason Fox, Miami's best lineman this season, struggled. Fox had a hard time handling Florida State's speedy pass rushers off the edge, as his defenders pressured the quarterback on at least five plays, one of which led to an interception. Both sacks came over the right tackle -- Chris Rutledge once and Tyrone Byrd once. Joel Fugueroa had a holding penalty and gave up a pressure. The running game, which was never given much of a chance, finished with 43 yards on eight carries from its backs/receivers. Averaging almost 5.5 yards per carry is solid work and so is giving up just two sacks on 48 pass plays. The line did, however, allow a lot of pressure to get to the quarterbacks, which caused a lot of bad throws, including three interceptions to the team that came into the game dead last in college football in that category.


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