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Gameday Blog: UM 31, Marshall 3 (F)

Checking in live from the game where the Canes won 31-3 against Marshall. I shared some note/thoughts on the game as it progressed. For those of you now back at home, feel free to give me your thoughts on what happened.

* CANES WHO DID WELL
- Miami's offensive line has looked stellar. No pressures on quarterback Kirby Freeman and the running game led by Javarris James and Graig Cooper has looked spectacular.
- Colin McCarthy has been all over the field making tackles. Eric Moncur has two sacks and the defensive line has produced five as unit -- the most in a half since last year's Virginia game. Let's not forget Calais Campbell's big interception.
- Freshman DeMarcus Van Dyke hasn't been heard from once. That means he's doing well.
- Only one penalty for the team for 10 yards. That's a nice showing.

* CANES WHO DIDN'T DO SO WELL
- Tavares Gooden made a spectacular interception to lead to a score, but the middle of the field in UM's secondary has looked suspect at times. Marshall has made some big plays there on the offense.
- Miami's special teams isn't exactly kicking butt. Francesco Zampogna is 1 of 2 on field goal attempts, but both of Matt Bosher's punts were short. Daren Daly had a kickoff roll out of bounds.
- Kirby Freeman didn't look great. He finished 9 of 21 for 81 yards, but he was 2 of 8 for 16 yards after half with an interception.
SECOND HALF SUMMARY

FOURTH QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS
- It was a struggle, but Marshall finally puts a score up on the board, a 37-yard field goal by Anthony Binswanger with 13:37 left in the game. The drive was 12 plays, 34 yards. It could have ended a play earlier, but Randy Phillips dropped an interception at the UM 2. It was still a nice play by Phillips.
- "COOOOOOOOOOOP!" the crowd kept chanting in the fourth quarter as Miami's new star freshman went over the 100-yard mark in the fourth quarter. He's no joke. Lots of broken tackles and first downs every time he's touched the ball today.
- Miami's two drives stall in this quarter as the passing game continues to struggle. The good news is, Bosher finally has a good punt -- pinning Marshall inside its 5.
- Freshman safety JoJo Nicholas makes his first big play of his UM career, making a diving interception at the Marshall 29.

THIRD QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS
- Colin McCarthy leaves the game with an apparent injury. Could be the same knee (right) he tweaked in fall practice.
- Miami is forced to punt after picking up just one first down on its first possession of the second half. Khalil Jones becomes the third Canes' receiver to drop a pass, a 15-yard slant. Kayne Farquharson and Darnell Jenkins dropped potential first downs in the first half.
- Marshall punts again, Graig Cooper shows some flash again, but his return is again nullified by a block in the back.
- Miami takes only four plays and 1 minute, 20 seconds to move 70 yards and make it 24-0. The drive is highligthed by a Cooper 56-yard run to the Marshall 18. That came after Javarris' James had a 50-yard run called back by a holding penalty on Orlando Franklin. James capped the drive with an 8-yard touchdown run, stiff-arming the cornerback on the way to the end zone.
- Spencer Adkins steps in front of pass and returns the interception 10 yards to the Marshall 36. But on the very next play, Kirby Freeman makes his first mistake of the season throwing the ball right at Marshall linebacker Maurice Kitchens, which he returned 19 yards to the Marshall 46.

FIRST HALF SUMMARY
KEY FIRST HALF STATS
Miami: 11 first downs, 153 yards total offense, 18 carries for 88 rushing yards, 7 of 13 passing for 65 yards, 2 punts for only 21 yard average.
Marshall: 7 first downs, 158 yards total offense, 16 carries for 24 rushing yards, 10 of 16 passing for 134 yards, 2 INTS.

FIRST QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS
- Rutledge starts over Reggie Youngblood at right tackle. Jason Fox starts at left tackle
- UM's first play: UM lines up in a three-receiver set and Kirby Freeman connects with Lance Leggett on a 10-yard curl pattern. Freeman goes 1 for 2 on his first drive. His other pass, a 30-yarder to Leggett in the end zone, got deflected.
- Javarris James looks good running the football, picking up 36 yards on four carries.
- Francesco Zampogna makes a 35-yard field goal, splitting the up rights to cap the drive.
- The only defensive starters still up in the air before kickoff -- cornerback and safety -- were answer with Randy Phillips at corner at Willie Cooper at safety.
- Defensive end Eric Moncur gets to the quarterback twice for sacks, only one counts (the other was nullified by a penalty).
- Tavares Gooden comes through with his first big play of the season, a 35-yard interception return to setup the game's first touchdown.
- Freeman throws his first touchdown of the season, a beautful playaction pass to tight end Dajleon Farr from 1-yard out on the next play.
- Marshall takes the ensuing possession and moves down the field, picking up on a long pass play in which Randy Phillips gets beat for a 44-yard gain by Darius Passmore. But the drive stalls on fourth and one at the UM 7 on a review.
- Javarris James exits the first quarter with six carries for 50 yards. Kirby is 4 of 6 for 38 yards and a touchdown.

SECOND QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS
- Graig "Super" Cooper makes his debut and picks up two yards on his first carry -- and a first down.
- Cooper picks up six yards on his second carry, although it looked for a second like he might fly past the Marshall defense. He picks up  a first down on carry No. 3, four yards.
- UM's drive ends up stalling at the Marshall 22-yard line when Cooper fumbles a handoff exchange from Freeman and Reggie Youngblood recovers the ball at the Marshall 32.
- Francesco Zampogna misses a 44-yard field goal wide left.
- Marshall takes over at its own 27, but goes three and out. Colin McCarthy picks up a sack and so does Dwayne Hendricks. UM now has three sacks.
- Cooper handles the punt and shows some nice shake and bake on a 10-yard return. UM is flagged for a block in the back and the ball is moved back.
- Miami's fourth possession ends with a 15-yard punt by Matt Bosher. Yikes! On the drive, Richard Gordon makes his first catch of the season (an 8-yard gain). Freeman's second pass attempt -- longer than 15 yards -- goes incomplete when Lance Leggett can't stretch out far enough to bring down a third down pass inside the Marshall 10. Miami is forced to punt.
- Marshall's fourth drive stalls again. Eric Moncur picks up his second sack on the drive. Can you say big season?
- By the way, got to point out, we haven't heard a peep from the guy DeMarcus Van Dyke is covering. That's good news for Canes fans.
- After another stalled UM offensive drive, the defense sets up the offense again when Calais Campbell makes a tremendous one-handed interception at the Marshall 24. Three plays later, Javarris James scores on a 5-yard run to make it 17-0 UM.

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