Hurricanes break through with slew of big plays Print
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Sunday, 21 September 2008 23:55
NCAAF Headline News

 CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) -Miami quarterback Robert Marve stood behind a lectern one day last week, insisting that the Hurricanes' offense was about to have a breakout game.
He was right.
M marked the first time in a year that Miami's oft-maligned offense put together 10 plays that gained at least 15 yards apiece, a stat that looks even more impressive considering the Hurricanes had exactly zero of those big-yardage plays in their road loss to Florida two weeks ago.
And with the start of Atlantic Coast Conference play looming this weekend against North Carolina, momentum couldn't start building at a better time.
ngs. Keep working to get open, keep fighting all the time.''
Marve's first play Saturday was a 29-yard completion to Kayne Farquharson, and the yards kept coming in bunches from there.
Graig Cooper had touchdown runs of 19 and 51 yards before the game was even 6 1/2 minutes old. Marve found Thearon Collier for a 66-yard touchdown that was called back because receiver Leonard Hankerson drew a penalty for flinching before the snap - ``unacceptable,'' Shannon said.
Didn't matter. The 'Canes (2-1) kept rolling, on the way to winning a road game for just the second time in their last 10 tries.
Marve had passes to Collier for 26 and 25 yards. A pass to tight end Dedrick Epps went for 36. Farquharson later had catches of 21 and 15 yards. Derron Thomas got loose for a 34-yard run. Cooper got free for a 16-yard rush, part of his career-best 128-yard day.
The last time Miami had more big plays than that in a game was last season against FIU, in the friendly confines of the Orange Bowl. Doing it in front of 84,165 Aggies fans in football-crazed College Station added more significance, at least in Shannon's eyes.
``That's one of the greatest places to play,'' Shannon said.
There was much that Shannon didn't like, though, after taking a look at the film.
icanes had a shot at making a tackle, and Shannon said five potential tackles were blown.
Often, the Hurricanes, Shannon said, are going for what he calls ``kill shots,'' and not simply sticking to fundamentals like grabbing a player and riding him to the ground. Instead, Miami is relying too much on the big hit for the coach's liking.
``Too many missed tackles, too many opportunities that caused a positive play for them,'' Shannon said. ``Overall, the defense kept fighting. They kept playing. We got turnovers. That's what we emphasized, so that was a good part. But we've still got to correct the little things on defense.''
Shannon is defensive-minded - no surprise there, he's a former linebacker who was Miami's defensive coordinator - but he didn't give the offense a pass in his postgame criticisms, either.
M, Miami struggled with the football after getting a big lead.
But it was a win, a big one at that, even after giving up a huge play on the road 20 seconds after kickoff.
``Down by seven in the first minute of the game, last year's team might have folded,'' Shannon said. ``This team didn't. This team came out and responded.''
 

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