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Recap & More: Miami Shuts Out Florida A&M, 45-0

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MIAMI (AP) — Jacory Harris and the Miami Hurricanes have been trying to not think too much about their long-awaited trip to Ohio State.

It’s all they’ll think about for the next week — and Harris might be ready for the challenge.

Harris completed 12 of 15 passes for 210 yards and three touchdowns before sitting out the second half, and the 13th-ranked Hurricanes got their first shutout since 2006 by beating overmatched Florida A&M 45-0 to open the season Thursday night.

“I went out there and took care of my business,” Harris said. “As a team, we came out there and did everything we had to do in the first half, and coach sat us out for the rest of the game. I guess it was well-deserved.”

Leonard Hankerson caught the first two of Harris’ TD passes and finished with 115 receiving yards, as the Hurricanes (1-0) ran out to a 35-0 lead in the first 25 minutes and wound up outgaining Florida A&M 405-110.

Looming for Miami: A trip next Saturday to visit the second-ranked Buckeyes, the first meeting between the schools since the 2003 Fiesta Bowl, where Ohio State denied the Hurricanes what would have been their second straight national championship in a game best remembered for a late pass interference call in overtime.

Miami coach Randy Shannon said he wouldn’t start thinking about the Buckeyes until Friday.
“One thing you never do, never take a victory and not enjoy it,” Shannon said. “I told the players and the coaches, ‘Enjoy tonight.'”

Harris needed just 1:40 to get Miami on the scoreboard, finding a wide-open Hankerson for a 19-yard score, and the Rattlers (0-1) quickly found themselves in trouble. With Miami greats Michael Irvin, Edgerrin James and Ottis Anderson looking on, the Hurricanes spent much of the first half in a no-huddle offense. Of Harris’ 12 completions, 10 went for either first downs or touchdowns.

“That’s a tremendous football team. That’s the bottom line,” Florida A&M coach Joe Taylor said. “To come down in this atmosphere and play against a team like that, that’s the way to get better. They are legitimately in the top 15, that’s for sure.”

Damien Berry made it 21-0 with a 32-yard catch-and-run early in the second quarter. Ray-Ray Armstrong had a 22-yard interception return for another score, and Mike James’ 1-yard plunge pushed Miami’s lead to 35-0 with 5:22 left until halftime.

Lamar Miller added a 5-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter for the Hurricanes.

Philip Sylvester rushed for a team-best 45 yards for the Rattlers, who have lost all eight of their matchups against Miami since 1980, now by a combined 400-49.

“We don’t take any opponent lightly,” Hankerson said.

Florida A&M had some chances, even early against Miami’s first-string defense. The Rattlers drove to the Miami 19 on their second possession, only to come up empty after Marcus Robinson and Olivier Vernon combined to sack Martin Ukpai for a 14-yard loss. Trevor Scott’s 50-yard field goal attempt was plenty long, but bounced off the right upright.

FAMU went 50 yards on 11 plays in that drive — and 20 yards on its other 19 plays of the half.

It was Miami’s first shutout since beating Florida International 35-0 on Oct. 14, 2006, the season before Shannon became the Hurricanes’ head coach. The 46-game span between shutouts was Miami’s longest since a 79-game stretch spanning from 1968 to 1976. The Hurricanes never punted, either.

“At least Ohio State doesn’t know what we do in the punt game,” Shannon said.

A good night got even better for Miami late in the third quarter, when running back Graig Cooper — Miami’s No. 5 career rusher — got into the game.

Cooper badly hurt his right knee in the Hurricanes’ loss to Wisconsin at the Champs Sports Bowl in late December, prompting fears that he would miss the entire 2010 season. He finished with 11 yards on two carries, plus 13 yards on two receptions.

“He’s a guy who worked hard during rehab, was there every day and fought through everything,” Harris said. “Just to see him get the ball and do what he do, it was amazing.” No. 13/13 Miami vs. Florida A&M

1-0: With the 45-0 win tonight, Miami improves to 4-0 in season openers under head coach Randy Shannon, moves to 8-1 in at the all-time series versus Florida A&M, wins its 14th-straight home game against a non-conference opponent, earn its 12th win in its last 13 home openers dating back to 1998 and improves to 13-3 all-time in Sun Life Stadium.

OFFENSIVE PRODUCTION:  Miami’s 35 first-half points are the most for the Hurricanes since they totaled 35 in a 56-45 win over then-No. 14 Virginia Tech on Dec. 7, 2002, in the Orange Bowl. Miami was ranked No. 1 at the time. Miami’s next opponent after that 35-point first half was also Ohio State.

DEFENSIVE STAND:  The Hurricanes’ defense held FAMU to just 52 yards on 39 carries – the fewest yards allowed since holding North Carolina to 35 rushing yards on 33 carries on Sept. 27, 2008.

BIG WIN:  Miami’s 45-point margin of victory over the Rattlers tied the largest under head coach Randy Shannon. Miami also defeated Charleston Southern by 45 points, 52-7, in the 2008 season opener on Aug. 28, 2008.

• Tonight’s 45-0 win marked the first shutout under Shannon and the first shutout for the Hurricanes since defeating FIU, 35-0, on Oct. 14, 2006.

HURRICANE FAITHFUL: Miami’s attendance of 53,674 this evening marks the third-highest attendance for the Hurricanes since their move to Sun Life Stadium. Miami welcomed 65,786 fans versus Florida State on Oct. 4, 2008, and 61,790 fans in last season’s win over Oklahoma on Oct. 3, 2009.

MAKING THEIR DEBUTS: Sixteen players made their first appearances as Hurricanes on Thursday evening: Spencer Whipple, Lamar Miller, Eduardo Clements, Maurice Hagens, Shayon Greene, James Gaines, Jared Wheeler, Seantrel Henderson, Allen Hurns, Asante Cleveland, Luther Robinson, Kelvin Cain, Chase Ford, Billy Sanders, Kacy Rodgers and Dyron Dye.

• Three players made their first career starts on Thursday: Brandon McGee (first career start), Ben Jones (first career start) and Tyler Horn (first career start).

WE’RE IN GOOD HANDS: With a 12-yard reception from Jacory Harris in the first series of the game, Leonard Hankerson has now caught a pass in 14-straight games. The duo followed that up with a Harris to Hankerson 19-yard TD pass – the first of the season for the Hurricanes and the 10th career TD reception for the senior wide receiver.
• Hankerson added his second touchdown reception – his first multi-TD game of his career – with a 40-yard catch from Harris in the second series of the game. Hankerson now moves into a tie for 10th all-time in UM history in career touchdown catches with 11.
• With 115 receiving yards with 6:07 to go in the second quarter, Hankerson recorded his second career 100-yard receiving game.

J12:  Ten of Jacory Harris’ first 12 completions of the game were for first downs. With the TD pass to Damien Berry, Harris moved into eighth place in Miami history with 39 career touchdown passes. He needs just one more TD pass to move into a tie with Bernie Kosar for seventh place.
• Tonight is the fifth time in Harris’ career that he has thrown for three TDs in a game. The last time was against Wake Forest on Oct. 31 last year.
• Harris finished 12-of-15 for 210 yards with three touchdowns in one half of action.

HE’S BAAACK:  Graig Cooper made his season debut with under five minutes remaining in the third quarter with an eight-yard run.

HE CAN RUN AND CATCH:  Damien Berry notched his first career touchdown reception with a 32-yard catch from Jacory Harris.

THAT’S A FIRST:  Ray Ray Armstrong returned an interception for a touchdown – a first on both counts – in the second quarter to put the Hurricanes ahead, 28-0, with 9:40 until the half.
• The last time a Hurricane returned an interception for a TD was on Nov. 21, 2009, versus Duke when Darryl Sharpton ran back a pick 73 yards to put UM up 34-16.
Lamar Miller rushed for a 25-yard touchdown to put Miami ahead, 42-0, with 7:18 remaining in the third quarter. It was his first career TD.
Eduardo Clements registered his first career catch on a nine-yard completion from Spencer Whipple in the fourth quarter.
Lee Chambers made his first appearance at cornerback tonight.

THROUGH THE UPRIGHTS:  All-ACC punter/kicker Matt Bosher went 6-for-6 in PATs tonight to increase his streak to 96 straight – the third best streak in a career in Miami history. He needs three more to move into a tie for second place.
• Bosher added his first field goal of the season with 14:08 to go in the fourth quarter, connecting on a 24-yard kick. He has made 13-straight field goals in a row dating back to the 2009 season.

SACKED!:  Marcus Forston, Marcus Robinson and Olivier Vernon all notched their first sack of the season in the first quarter.
• Vernon tallied a career-high 3.5 sacks for a loss of 36 yards.
Josh Holmes added a sack for a loss of eight yards in the first play of the second half.
• Miami’s eight sacks tonight are the most for the ‘Canes since they posted nine in a 24-14 win over Duke on Sept. 29, 2007.

RUN IT:  Mike James posted his second career rushing touchdown and the third TD of his career with a one-yard TD run in the second quarter to put Miami ahead, 35-0.

IN THE SECOND HALF:  Sophomore Alonzo Highsmith was Miami’s starting QB in the second half. Junior Spencer Whipple made his first appearance at QB for the Hurricanes in the second series of the half.
• Whipple recorded his first career completion with an eight-yard pass to Lamar Miller in the third quarter.

TODAY’S STARTERS: Miami’s offensive starters tonight were: Jacory Harris (QB), Damien Berry (HB), Travis Benjamin (WR), Leonard Hankerson (WR), Richard Gordon (TE), Harland Gunn (LG), Orlando Franklin (LT), Brandon Washington (RG), Tyler Horn (C), Ben Jones (RT) and Aldarius Johnson (WR).
Starting for Miami on defense was: Olivier Vernon (DE), Marcus Forston (DT), Josh Holmes (DT), Allen Bailey (DE), Colin McCarthy (LB), Sean Spence (LB), Brandon Harris (CB), Vaughn Telemaque (FS), Ray Ray Armstrong (SS), Brandon McGee (CB) and DeMarcus Van Dyke (CB).

TODAY’S CAPTAINS: The 2010 captains for Miami are Jacory Harris, Matt Bosher, Colin McCarthy, Pat Hill, Leonard Hankerson and Allen Bailey. Representing the captains for the coin toss were Bosher, Bailey, Hankerson and Harris.

QUICK HIT:  Miami notched three scoring drives of under two minutes versus Florida A&M this evening.
Plays-Yards    TOP     Result                                                Opponent
7-63              1:40    Leonard Hankerson 19-yd TD catch        FAMU
6-64              1:17    Hankerson 40-yd TD catch                    FAMU
6-55              1:51    Mike James 1-yd TD run                       FAMU

Team Stat Comparison
1st Downs 8 23
   Rushing 1st downs 5 11
   Passing 1st downs 3 11
Net Yards Rushing 52 155
   Rushing Attempts 39 36
   Avg Per Rush 1.3 4.3
   Rushing TDs 0 2
   Yards Gained Rushing 133 191
   Yards Lost Rushing 81 36
Net Yards Passing 52 155
   Cmp-Att-Int 5-11-1 19-26-1
   Avg Per Attempt 15.3 9.6
   Avg Per Completion 11.6 13.2
   Passing TDs 0 3
   Yards Lost Rushing 81 36


Individual Stat Leaders
Passing Leaders
Cmp-Att-Int Yds TD Long
   J. Harris 12-15-0 210 3 40
   M. Ukpai 5-11-1 58 0 28


Rushing Leaders
Miami No Yds TD Avg
   L.Miller 11 66 1 5.9
   D.Berry 6 45 0 5.9
FAMU No Yds TD Avg
   P.Sylester 15 45 0 3.0
   L.Page 4 35 0 8.8


Receiving Leaders
Miami No Yds TD Long
   L.Hankerson 6 115 2 40
   A.Johnson 3 43 0 16
FAMU No Yds TD Long
   A.Lawrence 2 42 0 28
   P.Sylvester 1 13 0 13