Miami Hurricane fans can take a huge sigh of relief after the canes take down the Pittsburgh Panthers 31-19, but should Manny Diaz and the Hurricanes consider this a big win?
The Panthers surely felt the pressure when it was announced that their starting quarterback would be out, and leadership would be left in the hands of Redshirt Freshmen Joey Yellen. Prior to today’s game, Yellen had only thrown three college passes. The Freshman completed 22 of his 46 attempts, threw for a total of 277 yards and 1 touchdown. Pittsburgh struggled with converting when it mattered most and went 3-17 on 3rd downs.
With an inexperienced quarterback behind the helm, fans anticipated the Miami Hurricanes offense to come out with their arsenal fully loaded, but it took the Hurricanes until the 3rd quarter to settle in. Coach Manny Diaz was content with how the team played given the circumstances.
“You’ve got the noon kick-off, not a super juicy environment because of the restrictions that we have, against a team that is hurt and is going to play with a sense of desperation, which I thought Pitt did. For those guys to go out there and know it’s not going to be an easy game regardless of your mental mindset says a lot about the leadership of our football team.”
The Miami offense recorded 331 yards against the Panthers. D’Eriq King had 4 touchdowns on the day and 2 interceptions. With Brevin Jordan out with an injury, Junior Will Mallory and Senior Mike Harley were the targets up the middle on numerous occasions for King that led to the canes on the scoreboard.
The running game was also livelier today as Miami picked up 109 rushing yards over the stout Pittsburgh defense. Cam’Ron Harris and Jaylan Knighton teamed up in the backfield with over 20 yards each.
However, today’s victory is attributed to the Miami defense. Coach Diaz and the coaching staff challenged the canes to be the best defense in the stands today and their preparation reflected on the field. The running game for the Panthers was shut down; the Miami Hurricanes held them to 26 attempts and 22 yards. Diaz raved about their success in the redzone after leaving Pitt’s kicker to be the hero for the panthers today with 4 made field goals.
“Redzone defense is a mentality and its attributed to the culture in the room. That’s three years that Pitt has only scored 1 touchdown. That was the difference in the game.”
Despite the inefficiency in Miami’s offense they were able to triumph over Pittsburgh.
“All week they [coaches] instilled in our head that it was going to be a 4th quarter game. They make you earn every single thing and they do a good job at it.” King added, “I’m proud of the team. We come out here and win, and that’s tough coming off a loss like that. You’re always kind of down but we had a great week of practice and came out here and got this W.”
This win is a lot of things for Miami, whether you want to call it a confidence booster or a steppingstone in the right direction, however, Miami still has a lot to prove in the last half of their season. Fortunately for the Hurricanes, they will not see any more schools at the caliber of Clemson for the remainder of the regular season.
The Miami Hurricanes record now improves to 4-1 and they will be back in action at Hard Rock next week against the Virginia Cavaliers.