Grading the Canes: Special Teams

The Hurricanes clearly won the special teams battle on Saturday, as this unit clearly kept Miami in the game. Lets take a closer look at how each of the special teams units performed.

Kicking: A
Matt Bosher continues his rock solid season on field goal attempts, hitting all three of his tries on Saturday. He connected on field goals of 28, 29, and 24 in this game. He kicked off seven ones but only six were kicked deep (one was an onside kick at the end of the game). He had his best game of the season when it came to kickoffs, as he averaged putting the ball at the 7 yard line on those six kicks. Still, it would be nice to get a touchback or two, considering how poorly the Canes have defended kickoff returns.

Punting: A+
Bosher was outstanding on punts in this game. He punted four times for an average of 45.2 per punt, including one that went inside the 20. Those numbers are especially impressive when you consider how much trouble FSU's punt team had in the driving rain storm that was pounding Dolphin Stadium last Saturday.

Return Game: A+
Travis Benjamin was Miami's best player on Saturday and a lot of that is based on what he did in the return game for the Hurricanes. He is quickly becoming a legitimate threat to score every time he touches it on special teams -- sort of like a young Devin Hester. Benjamin averaged 30.8 yards per return on six kickoff returns. Patrick Hill received a short kick and took it back nine yards and Ryan Hill also had a nine-yard return but Benjamin was a difference maker and constantly put Miami's offense in good position. His ability to make the big play also probably played a part in FSU's punting miscues in the second half, which kept the Canes in the game. Florida State didn't punt one time in the game so there were no punt returns to evaluate. JoJo Nicolas did have a block in the back on Miami's first kick return in the fourth quarter.

Coverage: B
Florida State returned six kickoffs for an average of 20.8 per return. Considering FSU has some fast, big play people returning kicks, that was a solid effort for the Canes but could have been a lot better. Thanks to Matt Bosher's punting the ball with excellent hangtime, the Noles were only able to return one of his four punts and it went for zero yards.

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