A season of high expectations for the Miami Hurricanes begins with a 34-6 victory over the Florida Atlantic University Owls at Sun Life Stadium. The Canes got off to a slow start, turning the ball over on downs on their first possession after Duke Johnson was stuffed on 4th and 1, deep in Owls territory. Duke responded admirably, however, breaking open a 53-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter for Miami’s first touchdown of the year. Miami found its groove on offense after Duke Johnson's touchdown, finishing the half up 20-3. Florida Atlantic struggled on offense for most of the game, unable to adjust to Miami’s speed on defense. The Owls used three different quarterbacks throughout the game, none of whom had much success in the passing game. FAU’s only field goal of the first half came as a result of success in the running game and costly Hurricane penalties, which helped the Owls get into the red zone. The Hurricanes were able to hold the Owls to a field goal both times they were in the red zone, an optimistic sign for a defense that was historically bad last season.
Dark horse Heisman candidate Stephen Morris had an average game, finishing the third quarter 15 of 27 for 160 yards with a touchdown and an interception, before being replaced by backup Ryan Williams. Morris’s receiving core didn’t give him much help, dropping wide-open passes and running erratic routes. Morris and his receivers will have to make sure to be on the same page against a much better Gator defense next week. Duke Johnson finished the game with a career high 186 yards rushing and 224 all purpose yards, both career highs. The Canes are going to need more of the same from the sophomore running back against a tough Florida run defense. Following the victory last night, the Canes get an extra day of rest to prepare for arguably the biggest game of their season.