MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Miami defensive end Anthony Chickillo sat at the table in a tiny postgame interview room Saturday looking sharp in his blue suit and tie.
But it was obvious he felt like garbage.
Chickillo, who got his first sack of the season — and the Hurricanes’ only sack in two games — didn’t need to sugarcoat anything. His fellow defenders, who have allowed 1,035 yards in their first two games (the most in consecutive games since 1,168 in last two games of 1998 season), are not getting it done.
Kansas State converted eight of 11 third-down opportunities.
“We have a lot of guys right now making mental errors,” he said. “We’ve just got to fix it. Most of it was stuff we worked on all week, and our guys were just not doing our job.”
Chickillo was asked the reason for the mental errors.
“There is no explaining,” he said. “We’re trying not to make excuses. We need to execute what we’re supposed to do.”
And the inability to get a pass rush, save for Chickillo’s lone sack?
“It has been a big factor,” he said. “We have to get better in that part of our game, and I need to get better in that part of my game.”
Chickillo said his teammates were quiet, disappointed and angry in the locker room.
When told that fans were criticizing defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio, Chickillo adamantly defended him. “Coach D’Onofrio is a great coach. He puts us in position to be successful, but it’s a lot of our guys not executing what they’re supposed to be doing — freelancing.”
Middle linebacker Denzel Perryman said he, too, was frustrated with the freelancing and shoddy tackling.
“We had a lot of missed tackles, and a lot of guys not doing their jobs,” he said.
Freshman Duke Johnson rushed for 135 yards and touchdowns of 54 and 56 yards in his college debut last weekend.
On Saturday, he was held to 19 yards on six carries. He also had five kickoff returns for 141 yards, with a long of 77 that set up UM’s final score.
But Johnson dropped a ball in stride early in the second quarter that likely would have been a significant gain — possibly a touchdown — if he had secured it. UM was down 17-3 at that point. He also dropped another pass.
He indicated that he took his eyes off the ball.
“I think that’s what happened,” Johnson said. “I didn’t catch the ball first. I wasn’t making the most of my opportunities — being given opportunities time after time.”
This and that
• Receiver Allen Hurns left the game after his second catch (two for 32 yards) and was walked off the field by trainers. FX reported that he was going to be tested at halftime for a concussion. … Right offensive tackle Ereck Flowers left the game in the second half with an apparent ankle injury, but later returned. … Safety Vaughn Telemaque left the game with an apparent left-knee injury but played the second half.
• As expected, UM defensive tackle Luther Robinson did not make the trip to Kansas State for disciplinary reasons. Fellow tackle Olsen Pierre was asked if the line missed his play.
“You could say that,” Pierre said, “but around here we have the next-man mentality. No excuses.’”
• Right tackle Seantrel Henderson saw his first action of the season when he temporarily replaced Flowers.