The Miami Hurricanes’ offense has struggled for about a month now and Saturday there was no bigger culprit for Miami’s woes than self-inflicted wounds. On their way to a 27-21 loss to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium, the Hurricanes lost three fumbles and committed seven penalties for 48 yards.
After giving Miami an early 7-0 lead on a touchdown run, DeeJay Dallas helped give Georgia Tech its first lead. The Yellow Jackets answered the Hurricanes’ opening score with a touchdown of their own, then Dallas fumbled away the ensuing kickoff — his third fumble in two weeks. Georgia Tech added another touchdown and never trailed again.
The other two fumbles were unforced, too. In the second quarter, quarterback N’Kosi Perry fumbled a snap on a third-and-short play. In the third quarter, wide receiver Jeff Thomas muffed a punt to give the Yellow Jackets another possession in the red zone.
Even when Miami managed to hang on to the ball, penalties stalled too many drives. Hayden Mahoney, Tyler Gauthier, Navaughn Donaldson and Tyree St. Louis all committed false starts, and Gauthier’s ruined a third-and-3 opportunity. Fellow offensive lineman Venzell Boulware committed a holding penalty to erase a seven-yard run in the third quarter. Six of the seven penalties were committed by the offense.
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Freshman Cam’Ron Davis scores first touchdown
Another member of the Hurricanes’ lauded 2018 recruiting class is on the board with a touchdown.
Cam’Ron Davis, a former four-star prospect out of Carol City, scored his first career touchdown in the second quarter Saturday against the Yellow Jackets on a 22-yard run.
Earlier in the week, coach Mark Richt said to expect a significant workload for Davis. Running back Travis Homer, the usual starter, missed practice Tuesday with a left calf injury, meaning Miami would have to rely on expanded touches from Dallas, the primary backup, and Davis, who ascended to No. 3 on the depth chart when fellow freshman running back Lorenzo Lingard suffered a season-ending knee injury last month.
Davis played an important role throughout the first half, running for 29 yards on three carries before halftime. Davis finished with six carries for a team-high 48 yards.
Miami finally starts strong
It had been more than a year since the Miami Hurricanes opened a game against an opponent from a Power 5 Conference with a touchdown. Miami finally ended its streak of futility Saturday.
DeeJay Dallas punched in a 1-yard touchdown run with 9:25 left in the first quarter to cap an 11-play, 75-yard drive and give the Hurricanes an early seven-point lead against Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Miami last mustered such a drive against a Power 5 team in September of 2017, when the Hurricanes began a win against the Duke Blue Devils with a touchdown on their first possession. This season, Miami only scored on its opening drive against the Toledo Rockets in September. The Hurricanes had gone 15 games against Power 5 teams — plus a 16th against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish — since their last touchdown on the first possession.
N’Kosi Perry, who reclaimed the starting job from fellow quarterback Malik Rosier this week, started strong to guide Miami down the field in Atlanta. The redshirt freshman went 3 of 3 for 60 yards on the drive with major help from Jeff Thomas, who caught two passes for 46 yards. Fellow wide receiver Lawrence Cager also added an 18-yard catch to push the Hurricanes into the red zone, where Dallas took over. The running back finished the drive with 15 yards on five carries.
Miami converted three third downs during the drive, including the touchdown play.
Miami reshuffles starting offensive line
The Hurricanes once again changed up their starting offensive line unit for Saturday. Donaldson came off the bench for the first time this year as Miami went with fellow Mahoney as the starting right guard in his place. Donaldson began the season as the Hurricanes’ starting right tackle before he moved back to right guard, the position he played as a freshman, before a loss to the Virginia Cavaliers last month.
Coincidentally, Mahoney made his last start before Saturday against Virginia. The redshirt junior began the season as the starting right guard and moved to left guard ahead of the game against the Cavaliers, then moved to the bench the past two weeks. On Saturday, he was back in his old place before Donaldson replaced him at the start of the second quarter. The two split snaps from there.
The rest of the starting offensive linemen: St. Louis at left tackle, Boulware at left guard, Gauthier at center and Scaife at right tackle.