Back Hot Read: D’Eriq King, Hurricanes cruise past Cardinals

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Hot Read: D’Eriq King, Hurricanes cruise past Cardinals

By Dave Holcomb
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Five thoughts from Miami’s impressive first ACC victory of the 2020 season:

Senior quarterback D’Eriq King broke his streak of consecutive games with a passing and rushing touchdown on Saturday night in Louisville, but that’s about the only thing that went wrong for the Hurricanes offense.

With an even split between running and passing plays along with an average of more than 8.0 yards per play, Miami’s offense was both balanced and efficient. It was explosive and yet relatively mistake free as well, helping the Hurricanes cruise to a 47-34 against the Cardinals.

Here are five thoughts from Miami’s impressive first ACC victory of the 2020 season:

No Carousel at Quarterback in Miami this Season

After dominating on the ground in the season opener and facing a weak run defense, the Hurricanes running game was expected to shine in Louisville. It did, but King stole the headlines by going 18 of 30 for 325 yards and three touchdowns. He didn’t record a turnover and averaged almost 11 yards per attempt.

Junior tight end Brevin Jordan was his favorite target. Jordan led the Hurricanes with seven receptions and 120 receiving yards along with a touchdown. Six other Miami pass catchers also hauled in passes.

King only rushed for nine yards on eight carries and saw his rushing and passing touchdown in the same game streak end at 16, but considering how badly the Hurricanes have needed an aerial attack in recent years, the fan base should be very pleased. King is the guy behind center, and with that question answered, the Hurricanes must be taken more seriously in the national discussion.

Miami Shows Off Explosive Offense

In the first half, the Hurricanes offense meticulously moved the ball down field. They scored touchdowns on 11 and 5-play drives. Then in the second half, the offense exploded.

The Hurricanes scored 75-yard touchdowns on back-to-back plays in the third quarter. Junior running back Cam’ron Harris went untouched to the endzone for the first score while King found freshman running back Jaylan Knighton wide open down the sideline for the second. In the fourth quarter, Miami scored a touchdown on a three-play drive.

Miami had 30 runs and 30 passes, averaged 8.08 yards per play and converted 6 of 13 third-down attempts. The only thing that slowed them down at times was penalties. Miami committed 11 fouls for 89 yards in the victory.

Louisville Blew Multiple Chances to Make Saturday a Contest

The Cardinals didn’t lead again after the 7:11 mark of the first quarter, but they had their chances. On their first five possessions, Louisville drove to at least the Miami 41-yard line three times and came away with only six points. Junior quarterback Malik Cunningham missed a wide open senior tight end Ean Pfeifer in the end zone on third-and-3 from the 4-yard line early in the second quarter, and the Cardinals had to settle for a field goal.

Late in the first half, Louisville had almost two minutes remaining to cut into the Miami 14-point lead and then were going to receive the second half kickoff. Instead of possibly double dipping on the scoreboard, Cunningham threw an interception.

In the second half, the Cardinals pulled within a touchdown twice, but the defense couldn’t slow down the Miami attack.

The Miami Turnover Chain is Still Sweet

It gets more gaudy and ridiculous every year, and yet, it’s hard not to love it. After no takeaways in the season opener, the Miami Turnover chain debuted in 2020 with three appearances Saturday night. The Hurricanes did not score off any of the three takeaways, but all of them ended Louisville chances of cutting into the Miami lead.

If the Hurricanes produce the kind of offense they did Saturday with a positive turnover differential, they will be difficult for anyone to beat.

Both Programs Have Work to do on Defense

The Cardinals already knew they probably still needed to get better at stopping the run, but Louisville was gashed in the passing game as well. Miami receivers were routinely wide open, and the unit produced zero takeaways.

But despite three turnovers, Miami’s defense has a lot to improve as well. Louisville actually outgained Miami, 516-485, and Cardinals sophomore running back Javian Hawkins ran for a game-high 164 yards.

While Louisville ran 85 plays to Miami’s 60, Manny Diaz shouldn’t be pleased his defense gave up so many yards.