As poorly as Miami’s defense played throughout much of the first half of Saturday’s prime-time Atlantic Coast Conference matchup at Virginia, it could have been a lot worse for the Hurricanes going into halftime.
UM gave up 214 yards of total offense, lost the time-of-possession battle by a margin of 20:07 to 9:53 and trailed 13-7 through 30 minutes of play, but the Canes came away with crucial stops when they needed them the most, after the Cavaliers were inside the 5-yard line on two occasions.
Early in the second quarter and leading 7-0, Miami got a huge stop on third-and-goal, forcing Virginia to settle for a 20-yard Ian Frye field goal after driving 64 yards and taking 6:47 off the clock.
Then, instead of going into the locker room tied at 10-10, Michael Badgley’s 34-yard field-goal attempt with under a minute to play in the half was blocked by Virginia’s Daquan Romero and returned 65 yards by Maurice Canady to the UM 3-yard line.
On the return, Miami tight end Clive Walford stayed with the play despite being turned around trying to contain Canady, and he ended up making a very important touchdown-saving tackle.
The defense then stopped two short Khalek Shepherd carries before sophomore defensive back Artie Burns made a solid play on a third-down pass attempt with two seconds left in the half. Frye booted through a 17-yarder to stretch the lead to six as time expired, but coach Al Golden’s team was happy to not be down by 14 or more.
▪ UM junior running back Duke Johnson moved past Canes greats Edgerrin James (1996-98) and Ottis Anderson (1975-78) into third place in the single-season all-purpose yards category in the first half. Johnson is now ninth in single-season rushing attempts — passing James and Anderson, respectively — and sixth on the career carries list, moving past Stephen McGuire and Danyell Ferguson.
▪ In the first quarter, freshman quarterback Brad Kaaya tied Hurricane legend Ken Dorsey (1999-2002) for seventh place in a single season with his 23rd touchdown pass, a 47-yard toss to senior wideout Phillip Dorsett. On the play, Dorsett tied Brian Blades for seventh on the career receiving touchdowns list with 15 and also tied five others for ninth in a single season with eight.
UM is a private school and doesn’t release its coaches’ salaries, but USA Today reported this past week in its annual coaching salaries report that Golden earned a base salary of $2,250,943. The ACC coaches who reportedly earn more in base salary are Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher ($3,591,667); Clemson’s Dabo Swinney ($3,150,000); Louisville’s Bobby Petrino ($3,000,000); Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer ($2,420,913); Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson ($2,588,000); and Virginia’s Mike London ($2,298,413).
THIS AND THAT
▪ Senior defensive lineman Anthony Chickillo started his 45th game in a row, tying former UM great Dan Morgan (Class of 2000) for third all-time. Chickillo also matched Morgan and Baraka Atkins for fifth in program history in total starts.
▪ Denzel Perryman came into the game needing five tackles to tie Ted Hendricks for 10th on the all-time tackles list, and the senior linebacker surpassed that total in the first quarter alone. He had eight total tackles (six solo, both team highs) by the halftime break.
▪ With his 19-yard kickoff return to start the third quarter, UM sophomore Stacy Coley surpassed the 1,000-yard mark in career return yardage.
Golden and London are close friends. Both coached together on the staffs of Boston College and Virginia.
Golden was an assistant coach and defensive coordinator at Virginia from 2001 to 2005. Mark D’Onofrio, UM’s defensive coordinator, was an assistant coach at Virginia from 2004 to 2005.
Golden was asked what it would be like returning to Charlottesville.
“Obviously, a lot of friendships there, a lot of people,’’ Golden said. “A.J. was born there, and I got married when we were living there. And Mike and I were together for a long time. … A lot of the guys on his staff, I was a coach when they were players. So there are a lot of relationships there. Great people.
“We know the challenge they present us.”
Also, Virginia safeties coach Mike Archer is a 1976 graduate of Miami and was a defensive back and punter for the Canes. He later became a graduate assistant coach and was promoted to defensive backs coach from 1979 through 1983, when UM won its first national championship.