University of Miami

Nebraska puts a dent in Miami Hurricanes’ rushing defense

Stampede: Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah runs past Miami linebacker Tyriq McCord for some of his 121 yards on 19 carries in the first half.
Stampede: Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah runs past Miami linebacker Tyriq McCord for some of his 121 yards on 19 carries in the first half. AP

Nebraska put a dent into Miami’s vaunted rushing defense Saturday.

Entering the game, UM’s defense ranked 15th nationally against the run, surrendering only 82.7 yards per game. Additionally, opponents averaged only 2.2 yards-per-rush against the Hurricanes, making the unit the fourth stingiest in the nation.

But Nebraska had little trouble moving the ball on the ground and eclipsed this rushing average mark in a little more than a quarter. In the first half, Nebraska rushed 29 times for 174 yards, averaging 6 yards per attempt.

Nebraska senior running back Ameer Abdullah carried the ball 19 times for 121 yards in the first half.

THOMAS STAY HOME

UM true freshman defensive end Chad Thomas, a 6-5, 265-pound star recruit out of Miami Booker T. Washington High, stayed home this weekend because of “muscle spasms,’’ according to UM.

When Thomas was spotted at a Booker T. football game Friday night, UM’s Twitter world erupted, wondering why he didn’t travel to the game. Thomas has two tackles in three games.

UM noted Friday night after the frenzy that Thomas wasn’t suspended.

On Saturday morning, UM followed with a written update that stated: “Chad Thomas did not travel due to muscle spasms suffered late in the week. He was scratched from the trip Friday, as medical staff did not want him to make the plane ride. He is expected to return next week.”

WQAM 560 AM reported the Thomas’ spasms were in his back.

HUSKER TIES

Remember Shawn Eichorst?

Eichorst is the Nebraska athletic director who unexpectedly bolted UM just before the weekend in early October 2012 that the Hurricanes were about to meet Notre Dame at Chicago’s Soldier Field. He almost immediately was named the Cornhuskers’ 14th director of athletics — after replacing former UM athletic director Kirby Hocutt (now at Texas Tech) in April 2011.

Eichorst accepted a five-year contract to succeed former Nebraska AD and legendary football coach Tom Osborne, who was honored Saturday in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Huskers’ national title team that defeated Miami in the Orange Bowl.

Another UM-Nebraska connection is current UM athletic director Blake James. He worked at Nebraska as an athletic development officer in 1997 and ’98.

“I think a game like this is great for college football,” James said. “You have two very successful, storied programs meeting in a great college football environment.”

GOLDEN CANES

The Golden Cane Society, consisting of the most prolific donors of the Hurricane Club, took their annual football trip this weekend to Nebraska.

UM chartered a plane for 150 people — 75 Golden Canes and their guests, said UM associate athletic director for development Jesse Marks, who organized the trip.

A UM spokesman said UM sold 3,850 tickets to the Nebraska game, though more UM fans were expected to buy tickets from other outlets.

THIS AND THAT

▪ Paul Kelly, a graduate transfer, spent the past two seasons as the long snapper for UM, but now is the backup snapper for Nebraska. Kelly is from Davie and graduated from Southwest Ranches Archbishop McCarthy.

▪ Miami took it to the end zone on its first possession for the third consecutive week. In each game the Hurricanes have scored within five minutes of the opening kickoff. Against Nebraska, the Hurricanes’ first drive went 75 yards on nine plays, lasting 4 minutes 34 seconds.

▪ For the fourth consecutive game to start his career, Miami freshman quarterback Brad Kaaya threw an interception. With the Hurricanes driving into Nebraska territory midway through the first quarter, Nebraska junior linebacker David Santos picked Kaaya off at the Husker 5-yard line.

▪ Once again, Kaaya threw for a touchdown pass when he connected with senior tight end Clive Walford for a 6-yard strike early in the second quarter. It was the freshman’s eighth touchdown pass of the year. He has thrown at least one touchdown pass in every game.

▪ Throughout the first half, Kaaya had some troubles getting plays off on time in front of the largest crowd in Nebraska history. The Hurricanes were twice flagged for delay-of-game penalties. On two other occasions, Miami had to burn timeouts to avoid a similar fate.

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