The first game for the Canes at Dolphins Stadium has turned out to be exactly what UM fans wanted, a dominating performance by a program in dire need of one. Freshman quarterback Jacory Harris has looked pretty good. UM's defense has looked pretty good. And the Canes have a 28-0 lead at the half against Charleston Southern.
Since many of you haven't been able to watch the game (I know ESPN360 has had its troubles), I've been keeping a highlot log for you. They are below my thoughts and observations.
> Jacory Harris (9 of 17 for 127 yards and 1 TD) looked sharp early, leading UM to three consecutive scores on its first three possessions. But he's had moments where he's looked like a freshman. In the second quarter, he nearly had his first interception of the season. But he lucked out when officials ruled he stepped out of bounds for a sack. Still, he had a nice 30-yard run and hasn't panicked. I've counted 3 bad decisions in all.
> Linebacker Spencer Adkins has two sacks and leads the defense with big plays. Adkins, though, has gotten both of them while lining up at defensive end. I'm not sure if that's because of the shortage of defensive ends. But I talked to someone at halftime, a local radio personality who actually gets to watch practice, that told me that's a special package Adkins is a part of.
> The only injury to be worried about so far is to right tackle Chris Rutledge. He left on UM's second drive of the game clutching what looked to be his upper leg. I didn't see him get back in the game. But he was standing on the sidelines in the second half. Rutledge was starting in place of Reggie Youngblood, who we found out would miss the opener on Tuesday when UM released its injury report. Not good news. He's the only real backup UM has at tackle. Tyrone Byrd has been in since. Left tackle and Jason Fox and Byrd are all UM really has at tackle. Matt Pipho could move in an emergency situation if needed. Pipho hasn't played tackle at all until late in the fall.
> All of us in the press box drew a chuckle in the first half by the way when we found out Kirby Freeman was starting for Baylor tonight. Not sure how he's doing, but it's something fun to keep an eye on. Kirby by the way was 2-of-7 with a pick before reportedly getting pulled.
SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS
> CSU's 1st Drive: 3-and-out gets followed up by an electrifying 66-yard punt return for a touchdown by Graig Cooper to make it 35-0 with 13:24 to play. Miami got flagged for excessive celebration. Boo-hoo. UM 35, Charleston Southern 0.
> CSU's 2nd Drive: After a nice kick return into UM territory, the Bucs are forced to punt when Marcus Forston destorys quarterback Tribble Reese, forcing an incompletion. UM takes over at its own 15 with 12 minutes left in the third quarter.
> UM's 1st Drive: After picking up a first down, Miami was forced to punt. Matt Bosher got off a 35-yarder to the CSU 34.
> CSU's 3rd Drive: CSU finally gets moving down field and into scoring position when running back Antwan Ivey gets open and past the UM defense for a 39-yard gain down to the UM 6-yard line. Ryan Hill had the touchdown-saving tackle. But after a few penalties on both sides, Tribble's fling into the end zone on third and goal fell into the waiting hands of tight end Tyreese Harris for CSU's first score of the game. It took 10 plays, 66 yards and 5:20. UM 35, CSU 7.
> UM's 2nd Drive: UM starts its drive at the 40. Two plays in, running back Graig Cooper asked out of the game following a short run. On 3rd and 5 from the 44, Thearon Collier made a leaping catch to keep the drive alive at the 22 yard line for a 22-yard gain. On the next play, Derron Thomas rumbles down to the 5-yard line after a 16-yard sweep around end. On the next play, Thomas scored from 5-yards out on a run up the middle with :44 left in the third quarter. It took 6 plays, 60 yards in 2:55. UM 42, CSU 7.
> CSU's 4th Drive: The Bucs go three-and-out after linebacker Sean Spence deflects a pass at the line to end the drive.
> UM's 3rd Drive: Harris is still at quarterback and it doesn't like Cannon Smith will get any real PT. Miami started the drive on their own 48 and moved down field, eating up clock with an array of short passes and runs by redshirt freshman Lee Chambers. Harris threw an incomplete pass intended for Kendall Thompkins in the back of the end zone on third and goal from the 5-yard line. UM settled for a 22-yard field goal from Matt Bosher with 8:48 to play. UM 45, CSU 7.
FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS
> UM's 1st Drive: Jacory Harris leads the Canes on a 7-play, 66-yard scoring drive in 2:37 and caps the game's opening drive with a 30-yard scramble up the middle of the field for a touchdown on fourth down to give the Canes a 7-0 lead. Javarris James started the drive with 2 runs for 23 yards. Harris was 1-of-3 on the opening drive and had two passes batted down at the line. UM 7, Charleston Southern 0.
> Charleston Southern's 1st Drive: The Bucs pick up a first down on the opening drive with runs. Faced with a 4th and inches at the Bucs 42, the drive ends when a deep passes is batted away by the secondary. UM takes over with 8:48 left at the CS 42.
> UM's 2nd Drive: After taking over at the CS 42, the Canes lose a yard on their first carry and then Epps drops a Harris pass at the 37. On third down, Harris rolls out and finds Khalil Jones for a 12-yard gain and a first down. Six plays later, Javarris James scores his first TD of the season on second and goal with a 7-yard run up the middle with 4:29 left. The drive was 9 plays, 43 yards in 4:19 seconds. UM 14, Charleston Southern 0.
> Charleston Southern's 2nd Drive: The Bucs start at their own 20 and go three and out. UM cornerback Bruce Johnson nearly intercepts the first pass thrown. On third down, defensive end Steven Wesley gets good pressure on the QB and pats the ball down. CS punts and UM takes over at its own 40 with 3:21 left.
> UM's 3rd Drive: Jacory Harris opens the drive by running playaction and flinging the ball deep for Travis Benjamin. But the pass is underthrown and falls incomplete. On 3rd and 7 at the 43, he scrambles and finds Dedrick Epps for a 35-yard gain down to the CS 23. On the next play, Harris finds Derron Thomas on a screen pass, he rumbles down to the 4. Harris then tosses a touchdown pass to Leonard Hankerson that gets nullified by a penalty. One play later, Leonard Hankerson catches a 7-yard TD pass, but is ruled out of bounds. That's when the play gets reviewed and called a touchdown with 1:06 left. The drive takes 5 plays, 60 yards, 2:15. UM 21, CSU 0.
> CSU's 3rd Drive: Following a long kickoff return to the CSU 40, UM freshman linebacker Sean Spence makes his presence known by crushing CSU QB Tribble Reese on an option play. Two plays later, the Bucs punt again and UM takes over at its own 20 with 14:47 left in the second quarter.
> UM's 4th Drive: Graig Cooper makes his first appearance of the game, rushing up the middle for 10 yards on second down. Two plays later, Thearon "Pimp" Collier takes a quick outlet pass for nine yards, setting up a 3rd and 1 at the UM 39. On the next play, Cooper gets hit back at the 35 yard line for a 4-yard loss. Miami is forced to punt, but Ryan Hill makes an amazing play to jump on a fumbled punt at the CSU 14-yard line giving UM possession again.
> UM's 5th Drive: Cooper scores his first TD of the season on the second play after the fumble, running in from 14-yards out untouched with 12:29 left. UM 28, CSU 0. > CSU's 4th Drive: After a bad kickoff return CSU starts on its own 17. After picking up a third down, Spencer Adkins picks up the first sack of the season by smacking quarterback Tribble Reese to the floor. Miami takes over at its own 40 following a punt.
> UM's 6th Drive: Miami moves to the CSU 40 when trouble takes place. First, Jacory Harris is sacked for an 8-yard loss. Then, on the next play, Javarris James fumbles at the CSU 35 and the ball is recovered with 7:46 left in the half.
> CSU's 5th Drive: The Bucs take over at their own 35 following the fumble. After a pass interference penalty on UM moves the ball to the 50, the Canes force the Bucs to punt again. Travis Benjamin fields it at the 15 on the run and gets out to the 31. If he doesn't get nipped by the ankles, he's running back Usain Bolt for gold in Beijing.
> UM's 7th Drive: Harris starts the drive by hitting Sam Shields for a 20-yard gain downfield. The drive fizzles though and UM is forced to punt. CSU takes over at its own 15 with 2:11 left.
> CSU's 6th Drive: Spencer Adkins makes his second sack of the game to end the drive and the half.
FIRSTS OF THE SEASON...
> Kickoff return: Ryan Hill returns the opening kickoff 29 yards to the 34-yard line.
> Play: Javarris James runs up the middle for 13 yards and a first down to the Charleston Southern 47.
> Pass: Jacory Harris completes an out pass to Chris Zellner for a 10-yard gain to the Bucs' 34-yard line.
> Touchdown: Jacory Harris scrambles for a 30-yard touchdown run with 12:23 left to play in the first quarter.
> Touchdown catch: Leonard Hankerson on a 7-yard pass from Jacory Harris in the first quarter.
> Touchdown run: Javarris James on a 7-yard run in the first quarter.
> Tackle: Linebacker Romeo Davis slams down Gerald Stevenson at the Bucs' 21 on a kickoff return.
> Sack: Spencer Adkins hits Charleston Southern's Tribble Reese during the second quarter.
> Helmet lost: Right guard Joel Figueroa right before the half on a running play loses his helmet almost right away.
> The first fumble of the evening, the UM helmet does not inflate for their grand entrance. Instead, they run out of a green inflatable tunnel.
> Team captains selected for the opening coin toss: Glenn Cook, Chavez Grant and Jason Fox.
> I've been here at Dolphin Stadium since 3:30 p.m. I took a tour, saw the fans tailgating before the game, and took some photos for you of what the place looks like dressed for a Canes game (they are posted below).
> I'll be here to blog throughout the evening, sharing highlights and thoughts as the game goes along. I know many of you don't have ESPN360 or are confused with how it works. I'm no expert. I just know it depends on whether or not your internet provider actually provides it. You have to go to ESPN360 and find out.