The man who had some concerned about his play after the first two games was back to form Saturday against Appalachian State.
Now, the only thing Hurricanes fans should be worried about regarding junior quarterback Brad Kaaya is his left knee.
For the eighth time in his career, Kaaya eclipsed the 300-yard passing mark Saturday in Miami’s 45-10 victory. But he also threw an interception on a risky play that coach Mark Richt called “greedy’’ and injured his left knee while doing it.
Kaaya finished the day completing 21 of 27 passes for 368 yards and three touchdowns. But with UM leading 24-3 early in the third-quarter and the Canes at first-and-goal on the 1, he threw a short pass intended for fullback Marquez Williams that was intercepted by ASU linebacker John Law.
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The pick culminated in a touchdown, but the real damage could be to the quarterback’s knee. Kaaya, now tied in career touchdowns (49) for third all-time with Stephen Morris, returned to play most of the game and was in fine spirits afterward. But his left knee was wrapped, and doctors will no doubt do tests to determine the extent of the injury.
“I feel pretty good,” Kaaya said. “My knee is like a little bit swollen, but the doctor on the sideline, he was tugging on it, and he said there’s no ACL [tear]. The ACL is fine. So we’ll see what it is. I was still able to finish the last quarter and a half. It just got a little bit twisted up. Outside of that, I think it should be fine.
“Good thing next week is a bye week. I can just rest and ice up.’’
Kaaya said he stopped “and my knee just kind of got stuck in the turf. We aren’t used to playing on turf everyday. Just a little slight jolt. Nothing too bad I don’t think.”
He said he felt “really good’’ afterward in leading his team to three more touchdowns.
“I knew no matter how I was feeling I had to finish the game out for my team,” Kaaya said. “There are no personal agendas out here. It’s all about this team and making Coach Richt’s first away game a really solid win — just making a statement.’’
Said Richt before Kaaya spoke: “I’m kicking myself getting a little bit greedy on fourth down. I certainly could have kicked a field goal and put us up by 24, which would have probably been the smart thing to do. But you hate to get that close and not knock it in.”
THIS AND THAT
▪ Sophomore tailback Mark Walton’s 80-yard touchdown was the longest rush of his career. He now has 17 career touchdowns and has rushed for more than 100 yards in three consecutive games. … Senior Stacy Coley had five catches for 85 yards and two touchdowns. … Tight end David Njoku caught his first TD of the season.
▪ Defensively, end Chad Thomas led UM with nine tackles, 1 1/2 sacks and three tackles for loss. … Linebacker Mike Smith had his first career interception. … UM now has 40 tackles for loss, compared with 66 all last season.
▪ Making the trip was defensive tackle Anthony Moten (shoulder), who played in his first game, and tackle Courtel Jenkins (knee), who had minor knee surgery Sept. 7. Cornerback Adrian Colbert (knee surgery) did not travel to Boone. … Hurricanes receiver Dayall Harris made his first career start. …Miami has outscored its opponents 35-0 in the first quarter this season.
▪ Kicker Mike Badgley hit a 44-yard field goal in the second quarter to make it 24-0 with 11:53 left in the second quarter. Last week, a 24-yard attempt was blocked by FAMU. In the opener, Badgley missed a 33-yard attempt.