University of Miami

DeeJay Dallas and Michael Pinckney return, and a new WR makes first start for UM at FSU

The Miami Hurricanes are back at full strength Saturday against the Florida State Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium.

After injuries caused them to miss the Miami’s win against the Pittsburgh Panthers last Saturday, DeeJay Dallas and Michael Pinckney both returned to the starting lineup in Tallahassee. Dallas started at running back for the eighth time this season and Pinckney started as one of the Hurricanes’ two linebackers for the eighth time.

Dallas sat out last Saturday because of an apparent knee injury, which knocked him out for most of Miami’s loss to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets last month. Pinckey also suffered an undisclosed injury in the loss to Georgia Tech and missed the entire fourth quarter.

Dallas quickly gave the Hurricanes’ offense a boost. On Miami’s second drive, the junior took a screen pass 42 yards to set up the Hurricanes’ first touchdown of the game. In the second quarter, Dallas got Miami on the board again with a 6-yard touchdown run.

With Dallas returning, fellow running back Cam’Ron Harris returned to the bench after he ran for 60 yards and a touchdown in Pittsburgh. With Pinckney returning, fellow linebacker Zach McCloud is not expected to play despite starting at Pittsburgh. The senior has played in four games and cannot be used this season as a redshirt year if he plays again. The Hurricanes want McCloud to return in a starting role next season to anchor an inexperienced linebackers corps.

Jeff Thomas is back with the team, too, although his absence from the last two games was not injury-related. The wide receiver, who started the first six games of the season, was suspended for an undisclosed violation of team rules. Fellow wide receiver Mark Pope made his first career start Saturday in Thomas’ usual place. Thomas came off the bench on the first series and scored Miami’s first touchdown, catching a 39-yard touchdown pass from Williams. It was the longest passing touchdown of the season for the Hurricanes.

Williams’ return to starting was also a change for Miami. The quarterback started for the first time since a loss to the Virginia Tech Hokies last month. The redshirt sophomore has battled a right shoulder injury for the last month, which caused the Hurricanes to go with fellow quarterback N’Kosi Perry as their starter for the last three games. Williams, however, came off the bench to throw a go-ahead touchdown against the Panthers and returned to the starting lineup this week.

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Odds and ends

Camden Price made his second straight start as Miami’s kicker. Fellow kicker Bubba Baxa is still serving as the kickoff specialist, but Price kicked the extra point when the Hurricanes scored their first touchdown in the opening quarter. Price also made a 30-yard field goal just before halftime.

Dallas, wide receiver K.J. Osborn, linebacker Shaquille Quarterman and striker Romeo Finley were captains for Miami.

Although there are several Florida State and Miami players with ties to one another in the series, one FSU coach stands out in his connection to the Hurricanes. Seminoles wide receiver coach Ron Dugans, who played at Florida State from 1995-99 and was previously the UM wideouts coach from 2016-18. Not only that, but Dugans’ daughter is the mother of Canes tailback Dallas’ son DeeJay Jr. who was born June 30.

Gregory Rousseau recorded a pair of sacks in the first half to give him 10 for the season. The defensive lineman is the first Miami player with double-digit sacks in a season this decade.

Miami Herald sports writer Susan Miller Degnan has been the Miami Hurricanes football beat writer since 2000, the season before the Canes won it all. She has won several APSE national writing awards and has covered everything from Canes baseball to the College Football Playoff to major marathons to the Olympics.