With record-breaking quarterback Hayden Moore announced as the starter against Miami on Thursday night, the Canes (3-0) are ready for a ton of aerial yards by Cincinnati (2-2) — not that they weren’t expecting the same out of usual starter Gunner Kiel.
Moore, a redshirt freshman, threw for 557 yards in a loss at Memphis last Thursday. He took over for Kiel, who was sent to the hospital after he injured his neck and shoulder during a collision that sent him crashing to the turf.
The UM secondary won’t have safeties Deon Bush and Jamal Carter for the first half Thursday as they sit out because of targeting during last week’s game — but it will have cornerback Artie Burns, who leads the Atlantic Coast Conference with three interceptions.
Burns has a pick in each of the Canes’ three games, and is the first UM player with an interception in three consecutive games since Sean Taylor in 2003.
“Just grinding every day,” Burns said this week. “We’ll just try to eliminate the yards and outplay the defense. Memphis had a lot of broken down coverages …”
PORTIS NAMED ACC LEGEND
Former tailback Clinton Portis was among 14 former football greats named Tuesday to the 2015 Atlantic Coast Conference Class of Football Legends.
As a true freshman starter at running back in 1999, Portis set a school record with five 100-yard performances, leading the Canes with 838 yards and eight touchdowns on 143 carries – 5.9 yards per carry – in 10 games. His 1,200 yards rushing during the 2001 national championship season was at that time the third-highest single-season rushing yardage total in UM history. He now ranks fifth in all-time career rushing with 2,523 yards.
Portis continued his dominance in the NFL, earning Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2002 and amassing 9,923 rushing yards and 75 touchdowns in nine seasons – two with the Broncos and seven with the Washington Redskins.
“It’s a blessing to be recognized as a legend,’’ Portis wrote in an email to the Miami Herald. “...Plenty of people paved the way and inspired me to be the best me I can be. Coaches, teammates, fans, family all played a role in this award, so thanks.’’
Joining Portis in the ’15 ACC Legends class are Pitt running back Tony Dorsett, FSU running back Warrick Dunn, Georgia Tech coach Bobby Ross, Boston College center Dan Koppen, Clemson linebacker Anthony Simmons, Duke running back Chris Douglas, Louisville quarterback Chris Redman, North Carolina offensive lineman Ken Huff, NC State defensive back and return specialist Fred Combs, Syracuse tight end Chris Gedney, Virginia defensive end Patrick Kerney, Virginia Tech defensive end Corey Moore and Wake Forest punter Chuck Ramsey.
All 14 legends will be honored at the ACC Night of Legends on Dec. 4, and during the on-field pregame festivities at the ACC Championship.
The Bearcats will wear all black Thursday night at Nippert Stadium, where a sellout crowd of 40,000 is expected. Their helmets for the game will have the word RUCKUS printed on the back — with the UC in red letters.