Hurricane defense shuts down FIU in dominant showing
MIAMI GARDENS — The Miami Hurricanes came into their game against South Florida rival FIU on Saturday knowing they’d be without one of their top defensive players, preseason All-American safety Jaquan Johnson.
Without Johnson in the second half last week at Toledo, the Rockets were able to put together a few solid drives and twice in the second half, pulled within a touchdown of the heavily favored Hurricanes.
FIU wasn’t nearly as fortunate on Saturday, with Miami’s defense putting together another impressive showing in the Hurricanes’ 31-17 win.
The Hurricanes, who came into the game as the national leader in both tackles for loss and third-down conversion percentage, were a force against the Panthers, holding FIU to just 187 total yards with 139 of those coming in the fourth quarter when Miami’s reserves were on the field.
Miami also held FIU to just 17 rushing yards, limited the Panthers to just 3 of 14 on third-down conversion opportunities and totaled 11 tackles for loss.
The Hurricanes also notched a turnover with safety Sheldrick Redwine intercepting a James Morgan pass in the second quarter.
That led to a 30-yard Bubba Baxa field goal on Miami’s ensuing drive.
With ACC play set to begin on Thursday against North Carolina, that was the kind of performance defensive coordinator Manny Diaz wanted. And with the Hurricanes set to start a short week Sunday, that he was able to pull many of his starters before the start of the fourth quarter was a bonus, too.
Hurricanes honor 1983 team
More than 50 members of Miami’s 1983 national championship team and five former coaches — including Howard Schnellenberger — returned to Coral Gables on Friday night for a reunion and celebration honoring the 35th anniversary of the team’s championship, the first of five that have been won by the Hurricanes.
Several of those players were at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday afternoon to partake in a halftime celebration honoring the team. Also joining the celebration was former ChaminadeMadonna football standout Jordan Delegal, who represented his late father Lucious Delegal, a safety on that 1983 team, during the halftime tribute.
With receiver Ahmmon Richards and safety Jaquan Johnson out Saturday because of injuries, two young Hurricanes made their first career starts against FIU.
Sophomore safety Amari Carter got the start in place of of Johnson, while freshman Brian Hightower lined up at receiver along with receivers Lawrence Cager and Jeff Thomas.