SUN LIFE STADIUM -- It wasn't just Homecoming Saturday for the Hurricanes. It was Get Back To Lighting The Other Team Up Day too.
For the first time all season -- yes I'm not counting the wins over Ohio State, Georgia Tech or Bethune-Cookman -- the Canes really dominated a team for four quarters, from start to finish. Not once did we really worry Duke was going to come back and win this game.
The Canes' offense scored on their first five possessions, rolled up a season-high 265 yards on the ground and a season-high 49 points in a 35-point blowout.
UM offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch threw several new wrinkles out. He showed us a lot of double tight end sets early with both Dyron Dye and Asante Cleveland, a spread option package for Stephen Morris and the Wildcat with Mike James, which netted runs of 32 and 14 yards on two tries.
It all added up to giving Florida State a lot more to think about heading into next week's showdown in Tallahassee. UM's defense didn't dominate. Penalties stalled Duke's first two drives and by the time Sean Renfree and the Blue Devils finally got going they were already down 21-0.
Duke finished with 148 yards rushing and a 194 yards passing before a Ray-Ray Armstrong interception and a Olivier Vernon fumble recovery helped end two other drives in Blue Devils territory that led to more Canes points in the fourth quarter. All in all, not a great defensive effort, but the big plays were cut down. Duke had just one play that went for more than 20 yards -- a 30-yard pass to Donovan Varner.
Here's some news and notes with quotes we gathered post-game:
> Lamar Miller could have lied and told us he wasn't thinking about becoming the first UM running back since Willis McGahee to run for 1,000 yards since 2002. But he didn't.
"I was thinking about [1,000 yards] throughout the day," Miller said. "Throughout the game, [center] Tyler Horn came up to me saying I needed 30 yards to get 1,000. That just gave me motivation and I just kept running hard.
"Once I got back on the field, I knew I needed 11 yards. I was telling Mike James I needed 11 yards. He said just keep running hard, and the big run came. It was a blessing."
Miller, who told the Palm Beach Post earlier this week he would break the 1,000 yard mark this week, finished with 147 yards and two touchdowns -- the first time he'd broken the 100 yard mark since Virginia Tech Oct. 8. He broke the 1,000-yard mark with his 22-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
UM coach Al Golden, who said earlier this week he wanted Miller to "start hitting singles," was pleased with Miller's effort.
"I'm proud of him and the offensive line in general," Golden said. "they're sitting there with an eight- and nine-man front all game. I thought he really ran hard. Clearly, he finished his runs better than he had been the last few weeks. He was trusting and not really pittering his feet in the holes. I think he made a lot of progress with that.
Said Miller: "They've been talking to me about throughout the whole week -- just run hard and the good runs will come. I was just there hitting the holes hard and getting yards."
> How about the turnaround of quarterback Jacory Harris? Since halftime of the Kansas State game, he's thrown 17 touchdowns and 1 interception. That's Player of the Year type stuff. He finished 14 of 20 for 202 yards, 3 touchdowns on Saturday.
> Seantrel Henderson, who had back surgery in the offseason and thought he might not play this season, made his first start of the year at right tackle for the Hurricanes and played all but two series.
And UM coach Al Golden was impressed with his play. " I think training camp is over for him now," Golden said. "He looked like Seantrel should look so hopefully that will prove itself in the film."
Henderson said he was told by offensive line coach Art Kehoe during pregame stretching exercises he would replace redshirt freshman Jonathan Feliciano, who sat out his second straight game with a sprained left foot. Golden said afterward Feliciano would have probably played a few series had UM not gone up by three touchdowns early. Instead, Golden said he opted to rest him.
"Jon will be back next week for sure," Golden said.
Henderson, who said he had a few pancake blocks Saturday, said he felt like he's turned the corner.
"I feel like I played way better than ever. Coach is right training camp is over for me," Henderson said. "- It was more of the learning part. I have the physical part down pact. I just to make sure sure I'm staying in the playbook, studying as much as I can so I can stay mentally fresh in the game. It just came together, it was just more of me applying myself to what we do as a football team."
> Don't call it the WildCane. James said offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch refers to the special, direct snap package as the Wildcat.
"Coach Fisch is big on getting the playmakers the ball, so that's what he's doing," James said. "I like it because I get another chance to get the ball in my hands, so that's always a good thing."
James finished with 58 yards rushing and two touchdowns as well as two catches for 43 yards -- a season-high in terms of total yards from scrimmage.
Quarterback Jacory Harris said he likes the fact Fisch is eager to be creative with the Canes offense, giving guys opportunities to do different things.
"I don't know if you saw the first wildcat play, but I got a crackback [block]," Harris said. "It's pretty fun, especially when it's working. The first thing would have happened if we lost two yards the crowd would have booed. But it's fun when it's working."
> Quarterback Stephen Morris, who gained four yards on two option runs, said Travis Benjamin owes him a few meals for dropping what would have been his first touchdown pass of the season in the first quarter. Benjamin let what would have been a 50-yard touchdown catch slip out of his hands at the last moment.
"He's buying me dinner, breakfast, lunch," Morris joked. "That would have been my first touchdown. I was running down the field and me and B-Wash [Brandon Washington] we're just like 'Hold up, did he drop it?' I know he'll come out next week with a big performance. I'm not worried about it all."
Morris said he isn't bothered at all he's sitting behind close friend Jacory Harris. "My time is coming," Morris said. "I'm not frustrated at all. Matter of fact, I just talked to Jacory. We're like best friends. He's having a tremendous season. I'm waiting my time, not rushing anything or pushing anything. Whatever comes in the game plan I'm going to do what he asks me to do. I'm looking forward to the end of this season and next season as well.
> Senior JoJo Nicolas said Saturday was the first time all season he played cornerback from start to finish.
> How good a day was it for the Canes offense? Chase Ford scored a touchdown, first time for a Canes tight end since the Ohio State game last year (20 game span). And LaRon Byrd made a 9-yard catch. Everyone literally got involved.