University of Miami

Miami Hurricanes freshmen brought the ‘swag’ and big plays in UM’s home opener

Miami Hurricanes tight end Brevin Jordan (9) signals a first down on his pass reception in the first quarter as the University of Miami hosts Savannah State at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on Saturday, September 8, 2018.
Miami Hurricanes tight end Brevin Jordan (9) signals a first down on his pass reception in the first quarter as the University of Miami hosts Savannah State at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on Saturday, September 8, 2018. adiaz@miamiherald.com

As freshman tight end Brevin Jordan ran out of the tunnel Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday night, clutching onto a teammate for dear life because he couldn’t see past the smoke created by the pyrotechnic introduction, it finally hit him.

He was minutes away from his home debut as a Miami Hurricane.

“I was just so ready to make plays,” Jordan said.

He wasn’t the only one.

Jordan — and a host of other newcomers — made their presence known during the No. 22 Hurricanes’ 77-0 blowout win over Savannah State, with coach Mark Richt saying every healthy scholarship player and a host of walk-ons made an appearance on Saturday.

“Since the day that they committed to us, they kind of dreamed of the day they would come to Hard Rock and get to play,” Richt said. “Maybe score a touchdown or maybe make a block or a tackle or throw a touchdown pass or rush for a touchdown, whatever it is. A lot of guys got to realize that dream and see what it felt like.”

Jordan caught a team-high seven passes for 52 yards and a pair of touchdowns, both thrown by redshirt freshman N’Kosi Perry.

Fellow freshman tight end Will Mallory scored the first touchdown of the game, hauling in a 2-yard fade pass from Malik Rosier late in the first quarter.

Running back Lorenzo Lingard scored two rushing touchdowns in the second half. His 64-yard scamper closed scoring.

On defense, defensive tackle Nesta Silvera made his collegiate debut and defensive end Gregory Rousseau took his first defensive snaps after playing on special teams against LSU. They played a pivotal role in forcing the three-and-out, with Rousseau flushing Savannah State quarterback TJ Bell out of the pocket and Silvera recording the drive-ending tackle.

Silvera also blocked a fourth-quarter punt that Scott Patchan returned for a 10-yard touchdown.

“We just have a lot of swag,” Jordan said. “Even though we lost against LSU, we completely ignored it. We just came back to practice and worked hard. We knew everybody was going to play, so having everybody make plays out there, we just have that U swag. That’s all it is.”

The Hurricanes’ turnover chain got a makeover.

Instead of an orange-and-green bejeweled “U” hanging at the bottom of the five-and-a-half pound, 36-inch “Cuban link” necklace made of 10K gold, the 2018 edition features UM’s mascot Sebastian the Ibis decked out in an equally flashy orange jersey.

The chain made its long-awaited return Saturday when Trajan Bandy recovered a second-quarter fumble.

And it was Malek Young, the former Miami safety who suffered a career-ending neck injury in the Orange Bowl, who handed the chain to Bandy.

Starters for the Hurricanes: Offense — Quarterback Malik Rosier, left tackle Tyree St. Louis, left guard Jahair Jones, center Tyler Gauthier, right guard Hayden Mahoney, right tackle Navaughn Donaldson, running back Travis Homer, tight end Will Mallory, receiver Lawrence Cager, receiver Jeff Thomas and receiver Darrell Langham. Defense — defensive ends Jon Garvin and Joe Jackson, defensive tackles Gerald Willis III and Pat Bethel, linebackers Shaq Quarterman, Michael Pinckney and Zach McCloud, and defensive backs Michael Jackson, Jaquan Johnson, Sheldrick Redwine and Trajan Bandy.

Out with knee injuries sustained in the opener: usual starting receiver Ahmmon Richards and defensive tackle Demetrius Jackson.

ESPN College GameDay ran a segment Saturday suggesting that some of the major programs that lost in their openers should “Relax.’’ The Canes, who were 3 1/2-point favorites but lost 33-17 last Sunday to LSU, were one of the teams mentioned.

On the flip side, host Rece Davis, who said “LSU clobbered Miami,’’ asked the other GameDay personalities if they were “buying LSU.’’ None of them were buying LSU.

“No,’’ said David Pollack. “...Miami imploded and played horrible, but I don’t think LSU is back where they’re going to be a contender.’’

Kirk Herbstreit said UM quarterback Malik Rosier “is still a concern. ...Last year he had moments where he was playing great, seemed to understand scheme... Then he lays an egg the first game.’’

Herbstreit said the LSU Tigers used the emotions from the nation doubting them to fuel their victory.

The captains Saturday: Junior running back Travis Homer, Sophomore receiver Jeff Thomas, senior defensive tackle Gerald Willis and senior linebacker Mike Smith.

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