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Hurricanes begin season by roaring to almost 500 yards in rout of Miami (Ohio)

MIAMI GARDENS — Year 2 of the Mario Cristobal Era started with a bang.

Three plays into the game, Hurricanes quarterback Tyler Van Dyke connected with wide receiver Colbie Young for a 44-yard touchdown on a screen pass. UM was off and running from the first drive, opening the season with a 38-3 victory over Miami (Ohio) at Hard Rock Stadium on Friday.

The Hurricanes’ offense did not score with quite as much speed as the first half went on, having to settle for three field goals as drives stopped in the red zone in the first half. But the offense picked back up in the second half and finished with 493 total yards in Shannon Dawson’s first game as UM’s offensive coordinator.

Miami (Ohio) got its only points of the game late in the first half, knocking in a 48-yard field goal. The Hurricanes got the ball back with 58 seconds and drove down the field despite a first down getting wiped out when touted freshman offensive lineman Francis Mauigoa was called for holding. Henry Parrish Jr. broke off a 37-yard run, setting up a field goal by Andy Borregales to end the first half.

Freshman Mark Fletcher Jr. got the offense rolling again in the second half. The American Heritage alumnus scored on a 26-yard carry to score his first college touchdown and put UM up 24-3 early in the third quarter.

The Hurricanes continued dominating in the running game as Parrish scored on a 12-yard counter run, pushing Miami’s lead to 31-3 early in the fourth quarter. Don Chaney Jr. put the final nail in the coffin with a 20-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 35 points.

Although Miami turned primarily to the running game in the second half, Van Dyke, who dealt with a hand injury and wore a covering over a finger on his throwing hand, completed 17 of 22 passes for 201 yards in the win. Freshman Emory Williams replaced him in the fourth quarter after UM had built a 28-point lead.

After a successful season-opening win, the Hurricanes face their first major test of the season next week when they host Texas A&M in a rematch of last year’s defeat.

Five takeaways

1. Guidry’s defense makes strong debut

Lance Guidry had a successful day at the office in his first game as Miami’s defensive coordinator. UM held Miami (OH) to just 215 total yards. The Hurricanes dominated on third and fourth down, as the RedHawks converted just 2 of 15 on third and fourth down.

A decent chunk of the yards Miami (Ohio) accrued came late in the fourth quarter when the Hurricanes had a 35-point lead and were playing second-team players.

Miami held opposing quarterback Brett Gabbert to 12 of 21 passing for 127 yards and held the RedHawks to just 51 rushing yards.

2. Running back rotation

The Hurricanes listed four different running backs as possible starters for Friday’s game, and they all got a chance to play.

Fletcher had the biggest highlight of the game, scoring his first college touchdown in front of his hometown crowd. He finished the game with 76 yards on nine carries. Parrish, Chaney and Ajay Allen all had solid games, as well. Parrish ended the game with 90 yards on nine carries, Allen had nine carries for 47 and Chaney had eight carries for 38 yards.

3. New O-line plows the road

Cristobal and the UM staff overhauled the offensive line during the offseason, bringing in transfers Javion Cohen and Matt Lee and five-star freshmen Francis Mauigoa and Samson Okunlola, among others. The revamped line delivered in its first game at Hard Rock.

Miami’s new offensive line protected Van Dyke, keeping him from getting sacked. They also paved the way for the Hurricanes to rush for 250 yards in the season-opening win.

4. Borregales still as reliable as ever

Borregales is now in his third season as Miami’s kicker, and he continues to deliver.

The junior kicked three field goals for the Hurricanes in the season opener, nailing kicks from 32, 34 and 43 yards. He also hit all three of his extra-point attempts.

5. Colbie Young shows his ability

Young and Van Dyke started to get into a rhythm last season before the quarterback’s season was derailed by a shoulder injury. With Van Dyke healthy again, the two picked up where they left off.

Young and Van Dyke connected for a touchdown to start the game, and the junior wide receiver began his season with four catches and 79 yards. The 6-foot-5 receiver showed his speed and elusiveness in the victory, breaking through tackles and beating the RedHawks defense on the screen pass he took 44 yards for a touchdown.

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