RECAP: Canes' offense and special teams sputter in loss to Blue Devils

RECAP: Canes' offense and special teams sputter in loss to Blue Devils

Stefan Adams
Trying to find some type of identity off of two straight losses, the Miami Hurricanes came into Saturday night’s game with many more questions than answers.

In a night of downpours and musical quarterbacks at Hard Rock Stadium, the Canes didn’t get any closer to answering those questions. UM outgained their opponent by over 100 yards with a dominant ground game, but ultimately couldn’t get out of their own way on both offense and special teams.

Aided by untimely miscues from both DeeJay Dallas (2 fumbles) and the UM kicking game (fumbled hold, blocked field goal) the Duke Blue Devils came to Miami Gardens and ended the Canes’ 2 year long home winning streak, 20-12.

Desperate to find the right formula to save the season, UM head coach Mark Richt spent the night flip-flopping between his two QB’s. However, despite the Miami offense totaling 300 yards rushing and two UM backs going over 100 yards, neither QB was very effective against the Duke defense, and both Malik Rosier (8-12, 76 yards) and N’Kosi Perry (5-16, 39 yards) could not find the endzone in the game.

“Obviously you’d love to have one quarterback who is playing his tail off and there’s no question who the guy is,” Richt said after the game.”I think it would be in our best interest if one guy steps up and balls out, plays great ball. We’re still trying to find that answer right now.”

As has been commonplace this season, things started slow for the Canes. On the first play of the game, Duke RB Deon Jackson took a handoff running right, bounced off a wall of defenders at the line of scrimmage, and cutback left. There was nothing but open grass for Jackson and Duke had a 75 yard TD run right off the bat, sucking all of the wind out of the UM faithful.

The much-maligned Miami offense didn’t fare much better in the early going, gaining just one first down and 22 total yards on their two drives of the game. On Miami’s third series, Perry entered the game for the starter Rosier to a chorus of cheers from the crowd. The excitement didn’t last long though, as the Perry-led offense also could only muster one first down and just 20 total yards on UM’s next two drives.

With the rain falling and the UM offense stuck in the mud both literally and figuratively, Mark Richt went back to Rosier, but it was Dallas that delivered the spark. On the first play of the drive, the sophomore RB found a crease running behind Navaughn Donaldson to the right and that was all he needed: Dallas turned on the jets from there, outracing the Duke DB’s and slipping and sliding his way into the endzone for an 83 yard TD run. Dallas’ final tally on the night: 12 carries for 124 yards. On the ensuing extra point, holder Jack Spicer mishandled the snap and the Canes were not able to get the kick off.

Not to be out-done, Dallas’ backfield mate got in on the action on UM’s very next drive. Early in the 2nd quarter, Travis Homer took a handoff left and showed his burst, streaking down the sidelines and taking the carry 43 yards inside the Duke 40 yard line. Homer would finish off the drive with a 6 yard TD run to bring the score to 12-7, Miami. Homer finished the contest with 133 yards on 18 carries. Richt was feeling a little risky and went for two, but Rosier was sacked on a QB rollout.

Coming out of halftime and with the field conditions poor, both coaches were determined to play a conservative field position battle with the hope that one offense would make a crucial mistake to set the other team up for an easy score. It was Miami that struck first in that department, shooting themselves in the foot on their second drive of the half. After being pinned inside their own 10 yardline, Dallas coughed up the football and Duke recovered the loose pigskin. Miami’s defense would hold strong, though, holding the Blue Devils to just a field goal despite the outstanding field position.

Hoping to respond, Miami’s best drive of the third quarter instead ended in disappointment. With special teams continuing to be an unmitigated disaster for the Canes, Duke blocked Bubba Baxa’s 43 yard FG attempt and Miami came away with nothing after going 53 yards on 10 plays.

While the Blue Devils were also struggling to move the ball traditionally, they instead decided to take a page out of Urban Meyer’s playbook to gain some traction. On their next drive, Duke picked up a third down with a jump pass from running back Deon Jackson to TE Daniel Helm out of the wildcat. 2 plays later, Duke went back to the same play on the goal line: wildcat QB Quentin Harris faked the run, stopped just before the line of scrimmage, and lofted a pass to a wide-open Helm in the endzone for a 2 yard TD.

With the Blue Devils up 17-12, Richt went back to Perry, but the young freshman QB struggled to move the ball down the field. Another Dallas fumble led to more great field position for Duke, and Collin Wareham converted the short 33 yard FG to nudge Duke’s lead to eight.

The Canes’ had the chance at one final drive, but their last-ditch effort came up empty-handed. After driving the length of the field and seemingly finding paydirt, a potential 13 yard, game-tying touchdown pass from Perry to Lawrence Cager was taken off the board when the officials determined Cager pushed off from the Duke DB. With 10 seconds left on the clock, two Perry heaves into the endzone fell incomplete, and the Blue Devils emerged victorious.



**Offense: #12 QB Malik Rosier, #24 RB Travis Homer, #9 TE Brevin Jordan, #18 WR Lawrence Cager, #4 WR Jeff Thomas, #81 WR Darrell Langham, #78 LT Tyree St. Louis, #77 LG Jahair Jones, #74 C Tyler Gauthier, #55 RG Navaughn Donaldson, #51 RT DJ Scaife, Jr.

**Defense: #97 DE Jon Garvin, #9 DT Gerald Willis III, #93 DL Pat Bethel, #99 DE Joe Jackson, #55 LB Shaq Quarterman, #56 LB Michael Pinckney, #20 LB Romeo Finley, #28 DB Michael Jackson, #4 DB Jaquan Johnson, #22 DB Sheldrick Redwine, #2 DB Trajan Bandy


**Dallas had a career-long 83-yard rushing touchdown - the sixth-longest rush from scrimmage in Miami Hurricanes football history.

**Dallas’ 124 rushing yards marked the third 100-yard rushing game of both his season and his career.


**In the first half, Miami’s defense allowed just 40 yards after Duke opened the game with a 75-yard rushing touchdown on its very first offensive play.

Comments (23)

**** we held Zion Williamson to 20 and still lost.....fuqin Duke man they always get the best players
Tired of this **** man. It's ******* Duke for crying out loud and now I've lost all faith in Mark Richt as a ******* coach UGA fans warned us this **** would happen. Man I'm so ****ed so much talent just wasting away on this offense ****.
So, what now coach... change after change?.... I’m sorry to ask but are you lost? Is it time to hang up the cleats? I respect you but this is not what we as fans were expecting. If you care about this team please do what’s best....
This QB carousel game Mork has played these past several weeks has finally caught up to him. The offense/Mork just looked desperate against POS Duke. Like a baby seal trying to swim out of a Great White's jaw type of desperate. Desperately trying anything and everything to get a score. Mork stuck with Losier hoping to get a different result each week even though EVERYONE - broadcasters, print media, fans, even the opponent - knew Losier was trash. I bet Losier himself knows he is trash. Mork should have spent these valuable weeks on the younger and more talented QBs instead he chose to cut his own nuts off again. This indecisive slow turtle reaction is why he will NEVER win a ship.

Duke didn't win this game. UM lost this game. If you are gonna talk big game Dallas, you better bring it week after week. You wanted that pressure so don't punk out now. Cager talking all summer and fall camp that he was gonna bring it. This muthafcka hasn't brought it since he stepped foot on this campus. When you have smaller hands than ESPN's Maria Taylor, you need to STFU and sit still. This offense misses Ahmmon. I miss Ahmmon. Maybe if Richt didn't make Ahmmon block so ****ingg much for a POS offense we'd might still have Ahmmon.

#****Richt Fraud. Con Artist. Liar.
Reporter: “What do you think of your team’s execution?"
John McKay (and Canes fans): “I’m in favor of it.”
Watching this team is like watching a cheesy Halloween horror movie. You know the teenage couple is going to get killed down by the lake when they start making out- it's totally predictable and obvious, they're young, they're vulnerable and there's no adults around to protect them,-you just don't know how, and that keeps you watching it.
This game and season was lost when Rosier named starter for LSU. If that is the best we have in the third season that is on Richt
We flying banners now?

How many more Rigcht abortions we gotta sit through.
Recap: CMR plays lesser QB for 3rd straght game and puts up 12 points again, to confirm what he learned the previous 2 games.
Hard to watch. Hoping Williams plays now to at least get him live experience.
@Stefan Adams

Thing is, this special teams awfulness has been going on for 3 years. What has Rick done to fix it in all that time? It's not just punting, nearly every "big" return is called back due to a hold.

And someone please explain why Perry is going play action on 3rd and 11.
I find it interesting how no one is talking about how Richt protected himself and Rosier.... By putting Perry in the 4th quarter having not thrown passes all night expecting him to clean up mess he didn't create.

Richt protected himself and Rosier using Perry as the fall guy.

He purposely tried to turn the Fans against his RS Freshman Quarterback. If I'm Jarren Williams I transfer because Richt is a cold Bible Thumper SOB.
Get ready for Jarren Williams the last 3 games. It's now his job to win in my opinion