Giancarlo Stanton, reportedly close to signing a 13-year, $325-million deal with the Marlins, was on the sidelines as a special guest for Saturday night’s University of Miami-Florida State game at Sun Life Stadium.
Stanton, who grew up and lives in the Los Angeles area, was at last year’s national championship game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, where the Seminoles beat Auburn. He said he was also at the Rose Bowl when UM won its last national championship in 2001.
“I love college football,” Stanton said. “This is the first game I’ve been able to go to this year. I’ve been traveling and having surgery and what not.”
Stanton and Hurricanes quarterback Brad Kaaya, who went to Stanton’s rival high school in the L.A. area, have sparked up a little friendship. Kaaya met him at Marlins Park during the regular season.
Stanton declined comment about his ongoing contract negotiations with the Marlins.
He watched the start of the game from the UM sideline along with Marlins relief pitcher A.J. Ramos. Marlins catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, decked out in a Jameis Winston jersey and Florida State cap, was also at Saturday’s game.
Two weeks after undergoing knee surgery, junior Ereck Flowers was back in the starting lineup for the Hurricanes at left tackle. UM started Flowers next to fifth-year senior Jon Feliciano at left guard — a move made to solidify Kaaya’s blindside.
Feliciano, who started at left tackle in UM’s previous game against North Carolina, eventually moved out to right tackle in the second quarter for a series and was replaced at left guard by freshman Nick Linder. Freshman Trevor Darling started for the second game in a row at right tackle.
Phillip Dorsett’s 27-yard touchdown reception from Kaaya put the receiver in seventh place on the Canes’ all-time receiving yards list. The reception also bumped Dorsett to eighth place in all-time receiving touchdowns at UM, behind Eddie Brown and Allen Hurns.
▪ Duke Johnson is the first player in UM history to surpass the 5,000 all-purpose-yard mark. The running back needed only 61 yards going into Saturday’s game to pass the milestone and netted 81 in the first half.
Johnson’s first-half touchdown put him in a fifth-place tie with Melvin Bratton and Ty Moss for all-time rushing touchdowns at UM.
He ended the half with 59 yards on 15 carries and a 22-yard reception.
▪ With less than two minutes left in the first quarter, tight end Clive Walford eclipsed 1,500 career receiving yards. Walford’s 61-yard reception at the beginning of the second quarter put the Canes up 23-7, and the tight end led the team in receiving yards with 108 on three receptions in the half.
▪ Michael Badgley’s 45-yard field goal was a new career-long for the kicker, edging his previous career-long from the Oct.11 Cincinnati game by 3 yards. He also missed one from 29 yards. It was only his second miss of the season.
▪ UM honored its 1989 national championship team at halftime.