September 09, 2016

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) Injured and unable to play when Miami faced Florida Atlantic a year ago, Hurricanes wide receiver Braxton Berrios remembers leaving the stadium at halftime.

That's about when his teammates showed up.

If the 25th-ranked Hurricanes (1-0) need a cautionary tale right now, they may look no further than last year's meeting when the Owls dominated long stretches of the first half before Miami took control over the final 30 minutes. The Hurricanes - an AP Top 25 team for the first time since 2013 - will be looking for a much more complete effort when they play host to Florida Atlantic (1-0) on Saturday night.

''These guys present a challenge,'' Hurricanes coach Mark Richt said.

They certainly did last year.

FAU outgained Miami 292-231 in the first half of last season's meeting, trailing only 20-17 at the break. The second half was all Miami, with the Hurricanes outscoring the Owls 24-3 and outgaining them 295-97. Running back Joe Yearby had 243 yards of total offense for Miami, and Brad Kaaya threw for 287 yards.

''We played terrible,'' Berrios said. ''We came out flat. ... Whatever it was last year, that was last year. We're going into there with the right mindset this year.''

Many of the names FAU will face this year are the same, but the tape of last season's matchup is irrelevant to Owls coach Charlie Partridge. Miami does plenty of things differently now under Richt and a new staff, so studying the 2015 game too much would be wasted time.

And Partridge doesn't want his team to treat this game any differently than any other.

''Are we excited to play Miami? Of course we are,'' Partridge said. ''It's a great opportunity. We're going to have the same excitement level Week 3, Week 4, Week 5. We're focused on Miami because Miami's the mission.''

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Some things to know going into Saturday night:

HURTING MIAMI: The Hurricanes' defense is already ailing. CB Adrian Colbert and DT Courtel Jenkins are out this week with knee injuries, though the hope is that Colbert (who had a pick in his Miami debut last week) will be back in time for Georgia Tech on Oct. 1. Also, LB Jamie Gordinier (knee) is out for the season, Miami lost its three leading tacklers from 2015 to rules violations in the offseason, and suspended WR Sam Bruce is now out indefinitely because of a non-football-related injury.

KAAYA WATCH: Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya's four-touchdown, no-interception outing last week was the first such performance by a Hurricanes quarterback since Kyle Wright threw five TDs with no picks against Wake Forest on Nov. 12, 2005. Kaaya has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 24 of his 26 college games. He was intercepted nine times in 176 attempts (one every 19.6 passes) in his first six college games, and has thrown eight picks in 609 passes since (one every 76.1 passes).

PUNTING MATCHUP: FAU punter Dalton Schomp is a field-changer. Schomp led the nation with a 48-yard-per-punt average last season and has at least one 50-yarder in 18 of his 25 career games. Schomp's career average is 46 yards per kick; Miami's Justin Vogel is another elite punter, checking in at 43 yards per kick in his time with the Hurricanes. Schomp and Vogel both had 70-plus-yarders in 2015.

VERSUS IN-STATE: Miami is 30-2 in non-conference games against in-state schools since 2000. The breakdown: 6-0 against Florida A&M, 5-0 against Florida State (before the teams became ACC rivals, with the Seminoles leading those matchups 9-3), 5-1 against Florida, 5-1 against South Florida, 3-0 against Bethune-Cookman and 2-0 against Central Florida, Bethune-Cookman and FAU.

LOCAL BOYS MAKE GOOD: Richt spent part of his younger years in Boca Raton, living not far from what was then a much-smaller FAU campus and graduated from Boca Raton High. Partridge is also a South Florida native, growing up in Plantation - in between Boca Raton and Miami.

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Online: AP College Football website www.collegefootball.ap.org

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