University of Miami

UM starting receiver and key D-end sustain knee injuries Mark Richt hopes are minor

‘We had a lot of self-inflicted wounds’

Miami Hurricanes head coach Mark Richt speaks to the media after the University of Miami Hurricanes loses 33-17 to the LSU Tigers in the AdvoCare Classic at AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas on Sunday, September 2, 2018.
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Miami Hurricanes head coach Mark Richt speaks to the media after the University of Miami Hurricanes loses 33-17 to the LSU Tigers in the AdvoCare Classic at AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas on Sunday, September 2, 2018.

Several Canes sustained bumps and bruise, but a couple might be worse, though University of Miami coach Mark Richt said after the game he was hoping otherwise.

Junior receiver Ahmmon Richards, who underwent knee surgery last November, went out of the game late in the first quarter after his 9-yard catch brought the Canes to the UM 34.

Richards was a freshman All-American who broke UM’s freshman receiving record (840 yards set by MIchael Irvin in 1985) with 934 yards in 2016. Last season was a debilitating one for Richards injury-wise, as he also sustained an ankle sprain and severe hamstring injury.

“Ahmmon, we don’t know for sure,’’ Richt said. “It didn’t look really bad. I don’t think there’s any kind of ligament damage. I don’t know. I shouldn’t even speak because I don’t know. I know when he landed on the ground, he banged his knee. And hopefully, it is nothing more than a good bone bruise, you know?

“Sometimes that happens and it just doesn’t recover that night but it is something that can be recovered relatively quick. That’s what I hope.”

The other Hurricane who left the first half and didn’t return was defensive end Demetrius Jackson, who also “banged his knee a little bit,’’ Richt said. “But you know, we’re very hopeful he’ll be fine. We’re not getting doomsday from the doctors. Sometimes the doctor starts wiggling around and they’re like, ‘Uh-oh.’ We didn’t get that feel... As far as I know.’’

Among the Canes who left the game at least temporarily were receiver Lawrence Cager, running back DeeJay Dallas, defensive end Jonathan Garvin and defensive tackle Gerald Willis. They all returned.

Miami Hurricanes quarterback Malik Rosier speaks to the media after the University of Miami Hurricanes lose to the LSU Tigers 17-33 during the AdvoCare Classic at AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas on Sunday, September 2, 2018.

Former defensive tackle Russell Maryland, the No. 1 overall NFL draft pick for the Dallas Cowboys in 1991, has a special place in his heart for the Cowboys and Miami Hurricanes.

But on Sunday, it was all Hurricanes for Maryland, who lives in Southlake, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, and was named one of Miami’s honorary team captains for the AdvoCare Classic between the Canes and LSU Tigers.

The game was played at the state-of-the-art AT&T Stadium, where the NFL’s Cowboys play. The stadium’s nickname: Jerry’s World, after Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones.

The other honorary team captain for Miami: Former Cowboys great receiver Irvin, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Both Irvin and Maryland have already been inducted in UM’s Ring of Honor and the UM Sports Hall of Fame.

“This is very special for me to be in the place that Michael Irvin would say he built,’’ Maryland told the Miami Herald, grinning, “but Jerry Jones would differ with that. Great fun for the U to come to my home.’’

Maryland played for current LSU coach Ed Orgeron during Orgeron’s tenure as the UM defensive line coach (1988 to 1992).

Maryland, who has two of his children attending UM— senior Kyra and freshman Iris — said his advice to the Canes would be “to realize the moment, take it all in, and know that we’re here to make a statement. Play your level best, go all out and make a statement that the Hurricanes are back.’’

Maryland’s wishes for the Canes were not nearly met — at least in the first half. UM was down 27-3 at halftime. After a 3-3 tie following field goals by each team (43 yards by LSU and 38 yards by UM), LSU scored four times, including two touchdown rushes by Nick Brossette and a 45-yard pick-six by Jacob Phillips.

Irvin’s son, Michael Irvin II, is a UM junior tight end recuperating from recent knee surgery. He already has been seen with a brace on the sideline conditioning during UM’s practices.

Several Miami freshmen got their first college experience on Sunday. In the first quarter, kicker Bubba Baxa (38-yard field goal), cornerbacks Al Blades and DJ Ivey, receiver Brian Hightower and tight end Brevin Jordan all played for the Canes. Baxa missed a 45-yard field goal attempt wide left late in the first quarter. Ivey tried hard to catch Brossette, who scored LSU’s first touchdown late in the opening quarter, to no avail. Other UM freshmen playing in the first half were tight end Will Mallory and defensive end Greg Rousseau.

The Hurricanes thought the turnover chain was going to come out on their third defensive play of the game.

Instead, they saw one of their starters booted from the game.

Sophomore cornerback Trajan Bandy was ejected in the first quarter after being called for targeting with instant replay showing he hit LSU’s Dee Anderson with his helmet.

The 15-yard penalty that also came with the targeting call moved LSU into Miami’s red zone. The Tigers opened scoring with a 43-yard field goal four plays later.

Bandy played in all 13 games last year as a freshman with three starts. He finished with 25 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, six pass breakups and an interception returned for a touchdown.

UM sophomore Zach Feagles punted four times in the first half, including shanks of 20 and 22 yards. He boomed a 54-yarder the fourth time.

In the Dolphins’ locker-room on Sunday, UM alum Frank Gore talked with LSU alum Davon Godchaux about Sunday’s game.

“We’re going to be fine,” Gore said. “Us Miami boys. Us Dade County boys, we don’t really care about nobody. I’m not worried. It’s all

good. I’ll see (Godchaux) tomorrow.”

Gore, a running back, recalled the time when he and fellow tailback Clinton Portis shared carries for the Hurricanes.

“Portis used to challenge me every night before the game,” Gore said. “He’d say, ‘Hey, I’m going to go out out and get 100 something yards in the first half. Then you’d better go get your 100.’”

The Canes are wearing decals on their helmets this season that honor the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting in Parkland.

Miami’s team captains Sunday were senior quarterback Malik Rosier, senior center Tyler Gauthier, senior safety Jaquan Johnson and junior linebacker Shaq Quarterman.

The Hurricanes wore special uniforms by Adidas on Sunday, deemed “environmentally-conscious’’ outfits that, according to UM and Adidas, represent the “first-ever football unis featuring repurposed and upcycled materials, in partnership with Parley For The Oceans.’’

The uniforms are being auctioned off, with proceeds benefiting UM’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science to launch a fund for educational research.

Before Sunday, the last time the Hurricanes played in the state of Texas was at the 2015 Sun Bowl in El Paso. Actually, the Sun Bowl was the site of the Canes’ last two games in Texas. Both were losses (2015 to Washington State and 2010 to Notre Dame) and both were played before new UM coaches took over: Al Golden after the Washington game and current coach Mark Richt after the Washington State game.

UM’s last victory in Texas was in 2008 at Texas A&M, where the Canes romped 41-23.

Since 1979, considered the beginning of the modern era of UM football, Miami was 8-3 going into Sunday’s game.

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