Miami was dominant Saturday. The score doesn’t reflect domination but 17th-ranked Miami took apart 18th-ranked Louisville in its 47-34 victory Saturday in a nationally-televised game.
This was the ACC opener for both schools as well as the nation’s first AP Top 25 matchup. Miami is 2-0 for the first time since 2017, when it capped a three-year run of 2-0 starts.
"It was huge for us," defensive end Jaelan Phillips said of the Louisville victory.
UM quarterback D’Eriq King (18 of 30, 325 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions) had a good night. Running back Cam’Ron Harris (nine carries, 134 yards, one touchdown) sparked the running game. Safety Bubba Bolden (11 tackles, forced fumble) helped lead the defense along with linebacker Zach McCloud (nine tackles) and safety Amari Carter (eight tackles).
Louisville’s offense (4 of 14 on third downs) had no answers for a Hurricanes defense that attacked from all angles against the run and pass.
Miami hosts Florida State next week.
Here are some observations about UM's victory over Louisville:
--Kicker Jose Borregales, the graduate transfer from FIU, was 4 for 4, including field goals of 48 yards, 57 yards, 22 yards and 40 yards. And the 57-yarder might have been good from 65 yards. UM can't rest easy yet, but things look good.
"Jose adds such confidence to our football team," coach Manny Diaz said.
--Phillips (3.0 tackles, one tackle for loss, two quarterback hits) was a force while fellow defensive end Quincy Roche (3.0 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, one quarterback hit) struggled. Phillips, the junior UCLA transfer, stayed at left defensive end and dominated Louisville right tackle Renato Brown on the run and pass. Roche struggled even though he recorded a sack. Roche, the senior transfer from Temple, especially struggled to set the edge.
--Louisville took a 3-0 lead. It’s the second time Miami started with a deficit. UM trailed UAB, 7-0. Both victories speak well for Miami’s mentality.
"I'm so proud of the way we persevered through," Diaz said.
--Big plays were a theme for Miami as it had two 75-yard touchdowns (a run by Harris and a reception by running back Jaylan “Rooster” Knighton) and a 47-yard touchdown reception by tight end Brevin Jordan. In addition wide receiver Mark Pope had a 31-yard reception and wide receiver Mike Harley had a 21-yard reception.
"We talked about creating more explosive plays through the passing game, which we were able to do, but we obviously had some in the running game as well," Diaz said.
--Drops were a factor with junior wide receiver Mike Harley dropping a certain touchdown pass late in the third quarter. UM had at least six drops in the game.
--Miami utilized its tight ends quickly, going to Jordan for the big 18-yard possession on its first possession, Will Mallory for the 17-yard first quarter touchdown, Jordan for 13 yards to set up Miami’s 14-7 lead and Jordan for the 47-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. The tight end usage is perhaps something coaches kept in their back pocket from a week ago, when Jordan didn’t get his first reception until the third quarter
--The Turnover Chain made its debut with 1:36 remaining when cornerback Al Blades Jr., recorded an interception against quarterback Malik Cunningham. The Turnover Chain came out again on the final play of the first half when safety Amari Carter recovered a fumble by Louisville running back Hassan Hall. Safety Bubba Bolden forced the fumble. The Turnover Chain made a third appearance in the fourth quarter on a fumble recovery by McCloud.
"Once we got one then here they came," Diaz said of the turnovers.
The chain it’s a big ‘U’ affixed on top of an image of the state of Florida. According to UM: “The state of Florida 'U' charm weighs 300 grams, while the chain itself weighs two kilograms and is about 30 inches long. There are 1,400 sapphire stones in the 'U' – half green and half orange. The state of Florida portion of the charm has 1,900 white sapphires. Turnover Chain 4.0 took roughly three months to complete.”
--ESPN’s College GameDay will be at Hard Rock Stadium for next week’s Florida State at Miami game. GameDay was at Louisville for Saturday’s Miami-Louisville game. Miami, a forgotten quantity a year ago, is now the toast of the early-season TV schedule.
"What we’ve told our players is (it shows) how quickly things change," Diaz said, "before adding, "and things can change quickly in both directions."
--Quarterback Tate Martell is leaving UM, according to the Miami Herald. Martell transferred to UM from Ohio State in 2019 and was listed as a wide receiver last season. He was suspended for the 2020 opener.
--Miami was without talented freshman wide receiver Jeremiah Payton, who didn’t make the trip. Payton, who had one reception for 13 yards in last week’s 31-14 victory over UAB, is UM most promising young receiver.