University of Miami

Miami Hurricanes bring aggressive defense against Arkansas State

University of Miami's Ufomba Kamalu throws Arkansas State's quarterback Fredi Knighten to the ground in the third quarter at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens on Sept. 13, 2014.
University of Miami's Ufomba Kamalu throws Arkansas State's quarterback Fredi Knighten to the ground in the third quarter at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens on Sept. 13, 2014. Staff Photo

There were plenty of memorable plays in the University of Miami’s 41-20 win Saturday, but few among the paid crowd of 41,519 at Sun Life Stadium will forget the moment defensive end Ufomba Kamalu put a hurting on Arkansas State quarterback Fredi Knighton.

After grabbing the 5-11, 189-pound junior for an 8-yard loss in the third quarter, Kamalu, a 6-6, 285-pound junior, lifted Knighton up like a wrestler and slammed him to the turf.

“A bunch of us were laughing,” linebacker Denzel Perryman said. “I laughed a little bit, but then I got serious because Coach [Al Golden] was looking at me.”

Golden wasn’t the least bit pleased with Kamalu, who drew a 15-yard personal foul on what the coach called a selfish penalty. Still, Hurricanes fans loved it — and the aggression Miami showed with a collection of big hits throughout most of Saturday’s game.

“It was real physical,” Perryman said. “One of the guys on the sideline said he felt like we were playing like the old U, like he was watching a highlight tape out there. He said guys were out there flying around and there were hits right after another. I told [Kamalu] it was funny, but we’ve got to be smart. It cost us.”

Golden said he liked Miami’s aggression on defense. The Hurricanes had four sacks and held Arkansas State’s high-tempo offense to 329 yards on 89 plays (UM ran only 61).

“I can’t do that math,” Golden said. “But that’s pretty good.”

NOT SO SPECIAL

The Hurricanes’ special teams units continues to struggle. Arkansas State had two long kickoff returns — kicker Justin Vogel had to make the stops — to help set up scores. The Red Wolves also recovered an onside kick to start the second half.

“First thing I said at halftime was the onside kick is coming,” Golden said. “We didn’t do a good enough job coaching it. We didn’t do a good enough job getting it. That’s on me.

“Clearly, we have to do a better job covering kicks. We gave up starting field position. The tradeoff there was we went with a lot of younger guys, a lot of freshmen on that unit with the tempo of the game. We need those guys to grow up.”

▪ Golden said kicker Matt Goudis (back) told him he couldn’t go Saturday. Golden had said this week he planned to redshirt freshman kicker Michael Badgley but ended up having to use him in Goudis’ place. Badgley was 5 of 6 on extra points.

▪ The Red Wolves also had kicking problems, as Luke Ferguson pushed field-goal attempts of 36 and 42 yards wide right.

MUHAMMAD AT GAME

Defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad, no longer enrolled at UM after being suspended by the university for fall semester classes and sports, came to Sun Life Stadium to watch the game. He wore a short-sleeved orange Hurricanes jersey. Muhammad said he would watch the game as a fan, but when asked if he planned to return to the Hurricanes next semester, he said with a smile, “I’m not doing interviews.”

Golden, though, said afterward he expects Muhammad back next semester.

THIS AND THAT

▪ Golden said X-rays performed on cornerback Ladarius Gunter (shoulder) and fullback Walter Tucker (leg), who were injured Saturday, produced positive results.

▪ Miami Westminster Christian High School running back Jordan Cronkrite de-committed from UM on Saturday, announcing on Twitter that he was on his way to Gainesville to watch the Florida-Kentucky game, then a bit later posting this: “I am no longer committed to the University of Miami.”

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