Hur­ri­cane de­fense shuts down FIU in dom­i­nant show­ing

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Colleges - By Christy Cabr­era Chiri­nos South Florida Sun Sen­tinel

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.

First-time starters

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.

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