It has been a rough opening week on special teams for the University of Miami.
Five days after giving up its first kickoff return for a touchdown in five seasons in a loss at Louisville, another Miami blunder on special teams Saturday night led to a Florida A&M touchdown with 23 seconds left in the first half.
A bad snap by senior fullback Ronald Regula sailed over the head of sophomore walk-on punter Justin Vogel, bounced backward and eventually found its way into the end zone where Rattlers defensive back John Boston fell on it. UM was punting the ball from its own 38-yard line on the play.
Last year UM didn’t give up any touchdowns on special teams.
Kicker Matt Goudis, meanwhile, had his streak of nine consecutive field goals made snapped when he missed a 45-yard attempt with 7:15 remaining in the first half. Goudis’ kick was about 8 yards short of the goal posts. He has been recovering from an offseason back injury. Goudis finished 1 for 3 on field-goal attempts. He also missed a 32-yarder.
Freshmen receivers Braxton Berrios and Tyre Brady made the first starts of the career as the Hurricanes came out with a four wide-receiver set on their first possession.
The same five offensive lineman who started at Louisville also started on Saturday: left tackle Ereck Flowers, left guard Jon Feliciano, center McDermott, right guard Danny Isidora and right tackle Taylor Gadbois.
Freshman Kc McDermott made his Canes debut, replacing Gadbois at right tackle on the third series of the game. After Gadbois was hit with a holding penalty, McDermott subbed out for him, and they played about the same amount of time in the first half
Receivers Phillip Dorsett and Stacy Coley, running back Duke Johnson and freshman quarterback Brad Kaaya were the other starters for Miami on offense.
UM’s defensive starters were the same from Louisville: defensive linemen Anthony Chickillo, Calvin Heurtelou and Olsen Pierre; linebackers Tyriq McCord, Thurston Armbrister, Denzel Perryman and Raphael Kirby; cornerbacks Artie Burns and Ladarius Gunter; and safeties Deon Bush and Dallas Crawford.
S. FLORIDA RATTLERS
Saturday night’s game was a homecoming for 10 FAMU Rattlers who played high school football in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
The group: cornerback Patrick Aiken (Flanagan); receiver Curtric “Spiffy” Evans (Chaminade-Madonna); linebackers Shaun Ward (Boyd Anderson) and Kashaun Butler (Nova); safeties Peter Tulloch (Norland) and Neal Cunningham (Pompano Beach); defensive tackle Derrick Connor (Miramar); and offensive linemen Keonte Cash (Belen Jesuit), Osman Aguilera (North Miami Beach) and Joshua Addison (Central). Ward, Cunningham and Cash were starters.
THIS AND THAT
• After UM’s first touchdown, a young man was shown on the giant video board proposing to his girlfriend while on one knee. UM’s mascot Sebastian the Ibis was on hand for the big moment. The young woman was delighted, and she and her husband-to-be shared a kiss seen ’round the stadium. Someone hoisted a sign that read “Mazel Tov Steph + Tim.”
• The Hurricanes had a touching tribute to former Canes quarterbackJim Kelly
that appears might be around for games to come. The white wrapping over the fence in the southeast corner of the end zone that separates the lower bowl from the field, had a photo of Kelly next to the words “WE ARE #KELLYTOUGH” in tribute to the UM great and Pro Football Hall of Famer. Kelly has undergone a long battle with cancer and was recently declared cancer-free after jaw biopsies came back negative.