Miami Hurricanes offense assertive during decisive third quarter

MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 19: (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 19: (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Miami Hurricanes offense was assertive during what turned out to be a decisive third quarter in their season-opening 31-14 victory over UAB.

The new-look Miami Hurricanes up-tempo, power spread offense has been a main topic of discussion during the 2020 offseason. On Thursday night in their season-opening 31-14 win over UAB, the Miami offense asserted themselves in a decisive third quarter. The Hurricanes went on back to back TD drives to close out the third.

The Miami Hurricanes extended a 14-7 halftime lead to 17-7 on a 25-yard Jose Borreagales field goal on their first drive of the third quarter. After last season’s problems from their kickers having Borragales on the team has infused confidence throughout the team according to Miami head coach Manny Diaz earlier this week.

UAB went on a nine-play, 75-yard drive in 3:56 to cut the Miami lead to 17-14. The Hurricanes took the game over from there. Miami went seven plays, 71 yards in 2:17 to live up to the frenetic pace that new offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee was known for at SMU before being hired by Manny Diaz in January.

Miami used good balance on their second TD drive of the game. The Hurricanes began the drive with an eight-yard completion from D’Eriq King. King had another completion three plays later to Brevin Jordan for 22 yards. Freshman Don Chaney Jr. had three carries for 37 yards on the drive including one run for 33 yards.

After a King incompletion, a four-yard Cam Harris run, his second of the night stretched the Miami lead to 24-14. It was a critical answer by the Hurricanes offense to regain their 10 point lead. The Miami defense did their part forcing UAB to punt after gaining 12 yards on just four plays. Miami began their next drive at their own 25.

The two third-quarter drives were balanced for the only time throughout the game. Miami ran for 337 yards while throwing for only 155. King finished 15-23 for 141 yards and one TD without an interception. Completions of 25 to Jordan and 13 to redshirt freshman wide receiver Jeremiah Payton for 13 began the drive.

Runs of six, 25 and one yards by freshman Jaylan Knighton and one yard King run preceded a King to Jordan four-yard TD pass. That drive went 75 yards on seven plays in 2:42 as the up-tempo on back to back drives seemed to wear out the UAB defense. Miami took control of the game with a 31-14 lead.

The back to back drives led by King were missing for most of the 2019 season. The drives were assertive and decisive. Miami outgained UAB 212 to 87 in the third quarter and held the ball for 9:44 to UAB being on offense for 5:16. It was the type of performance an elite team has when pushed.

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Taking control of the game in the third quarter was critical. It showed a lot about the toughness of the Hurricanes’ entire team and ability to seize control of a game in the second half when it was still competitive and in doubt. If Miami can continue to come out in the second half and be assertive offensively it will be a great season.