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Recap and More: 'Canes Shell Terps 26 - 20

Coral Gables, FLA – True freshman Stephen Morris threw for 286 yards in his first college start and hit Leonard Hankerson for a 35-yard score with 37 seconds left Saturday, rallying Miami past Maryland 26-20.

The touchdown capped an 82-yard drive that began with 3:06 left and Miami trailing 20-18. The Hurricanes overcame 10 penalties, including one that negated a defensive score, and two blown extra-points.

Morris had an interception returned for a touchdown but finished 18 for 30 and led an offense that outgained Maryland 504-254. He was filling in for Jacory Harris, sidelined last week by a concussion.

The Hurricanes (6-3, 4-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) kept alive their slim hopes in the league race and became bowl-eligible by beating the Terrapins (6-3, 3-2). Maryland drove to Miami’s 30 before Danny O’Brien’s pass into the end zone was incomplete on the final play.

A touchdown for Miami by Marcus Robinson on a 55-yard fumble return was negated when teammate Sean Smith was flagged for grabbing a face mask. Five players later, Maryland’s Travis Baltz kicked a 23-yard field goal with 9:19 left for a 20-18 lead.

On the winning drive, Morris converted a third-and-11 situation with a 16-yard scramble. On the next play, he threw deep to Hankerson, who pulled away from two defenders and caught the ball over the shoulder just before crossing the goal line.

“Great throw, great catch, I’ll take that,” Miami coach Randy Shannon said.

Lamar Miller ran for the 2-point conversion.

The Hurricanes had possession for nearly 37 minutes, but mistakes hurt them. A botched hold foiled their first extra-point attempt, and Joe Vellano blocked the second try. A season-long problem of penalties persisted, and the Hurricanes used up all of their second-half timeouts in the third quarter.

Linebacker Alex Wujciak scored on a 60-yard interception return for the Terrapins, but they had trouble moving the ball. Freshman O’Brien started 1 for 10 and finished 9 for 28 for 134 yards.

O’Brien did hit Kevin Dorsey near the pylon for a 42-yard score.

Wujciak stepped in front of the intended receiver on a throw over the middle, made the interception and benefited from blocking that left two Hurricanes shaken up. The 250-pound middle linebacker sprinted untouched to the corner of the end zone to give Maryland a 14-6 lead.

Wujciak made another interception in the third quarter to give Maryland the ball at the Miami 17, but O’Brien was intercepted in the end zone by Ray-Ray Armstrong.

Morris’ first completion was a deep throw to Travis Benjamin for a 53-yard gain. That set up an 8-yard touchdown run by Miller for a 6-0 lead.

The Terrapins had a first and goal at the 2 in the second quarter, but backup quarterback Jamarr Robinson lost 8 yards after fumbling a snap and they had to settle for a field goal.

Maryland missed four tackles on a 47-yard reception by Benjamin that set up a Miami field goal. Benjamin finished with five catches for 127 yards.

Stats | Photos | Video | Notes | Quotes
  1st 2nd 3rd 4th F
Miami 6 9 3 8 26
Maryland 0 17 0 3 20
Team Stat Comparison
  Maryland UM
1st Downs 15 25
   Rushing 1st downs 4 11
   Passing 1st downs 9 13
Net Yards Rushing 96 218
   Rushing Attempts 25 49
   Avg Per Rush 3.8 4.4
   Rushing TDs 0 2
Net Yards Passing 158 286
   Cmp-Att-Int 11-30-1 18-30-2
   Avg Per Attempt 5.3 9.5
   Avg Per Completion 14.4 15.9
   Passing TDs 1 1
Individual Stat Leaders
Passing Leaders
  Cmp-Att-Int Yds TD Long
   S. Morris 18-30-2 286 1 53
   D. O’Brien 9-28-1 134 1 42
Rushing Leaders
Miami No Yds TD Avg
   L. Miller 22 127 1 5.7
   M. James 10 51 1 5.1
Maryland No Yds TD Avg
   D. Meggett 9 70 0 7.8
   D. Scott 9 30 0 3.3
Recieving Leaders
Miami No Yds TD Long
   T. Benjamin 5 127 0 53
   L. Byrd 5 61 0 26
Maryland No Yds TD Long
   K. Dorsey 3 63 1 42
   T. Smith 3 35 0 13

Lamar Miller

Matt Bosher

Leonard Hankerson

Brandon Harris

Ray Ray Armstrong

Allen Bailey

START IT UP
True freshman Stephen Morris made his first start today for the Hurricanes at quarterback, finishing with a career-high 286 passing yards with 18 completions on 30 attempts.

With a season-high 504 yards of total offense (295 in the first half), Miami has surpassed 400 yards of total offense for the fifth-straight game and for the sixth time this season. This is the most offensive yards for the Hurricanes since Nov. 7, 2009, when Miami had 515 yards versus Virginia.

RUN LAMAR RUN
In his first career start, Lamar Miller has rushed for a career-high 125 yards on 22 carries – the most rushing yards by a Hurricane back this season. The last time a freshman rushed for as many yards was on Sept. 30, 2006, when Javarris James ran for 148 yards against Houston to set a freshman record.

He is the second Hurricane back to achieve it this season, alongside Damien Berry. He is the first freshman to record a 100-yard rushing game since Graig Cooper racked up 101 yards versus Duke on Sept. 29, 2007.

HANKERSON EXTENDS STREAK, SCORES AGAIN
With four catches today for 66 yards, Leonard Hankerson extended his consecutive games with a catch streak to 22. Hankerson also improved on his ACC-leading touchdown total in the fourth quarter when he recorded his 10th TD of the season with a 35-yard game-winning touchdown reception.

Hankerson is having one of the most productive seasons as a receiver in UM history. Through nine games, Hankerson has 48 catches for 747 yards and a team-best 10 touchdowns. He has scored at least one touchdown in seven of UM’s nine games and needs just one more receiving touchdowns to tie Michael Irvin’s single-season school record mark of 11 set in 1986. After recording 801 receiving yards last season, Hankerson is also looking to become just third player in school history to record back-to-back 800-yard receiving seasons. Michael Irvin (840 in 1985; 868 in 1986) and Andre Johnson (881 in 2001; 1,092 in 2002) are the only other `Canes to have ever accomplished the feat.

MORRIS TO BENJAMIN
Travis Benjamin registered a 127 receiving yards (just one shy of his career high) on five catches for his first 100-yard game of the season and second of his career. His first 100-yard receiving game was at Florida State on Sept. 7, 2009 when he had 128 receiving yards.

Stephen Morris threw a 53-yard completion to Travis Benjamin to set up an 8-yard touchdown run for Lamar Miller (third of his career) to put Miami up 6-0 with 6:09 remaining in the first quarter. Morris threw a career-long 60-yard pass to Benjamin in his collegiate debut at Virginia.

In the second quarter, Benjamin grabbed a 47-yard reception from Morris and made his way to Maryland’s 20 yard line. The Hurricanes scored on a 33-yard field goal from Matt Bosher, making the score 17-15 with 36 seconds in the second quarter.

LaRon Byrd grabbed a 26-yard pass from Morris to set up Mike James’ second career touchdown run (two yards) to bring the `Canes within a pair of points, 14-12 with 7:14 remaining in the opening half.

I’LL TAKE THAT
Ray-Ray Armstrong’s third quarter interception was Miami’s 16th of the season in nine games. Coming into today’s game, UM was tied for third in the nation in interceptions. Last season, the `Canes recorded just nine interceptions in 13 games. Miami has created 24 turnovers this season and were ranked sixth in the nation in this category entering today.

COOOOOOPThis afternoon, Cooper tallied a season-high 40 yards on a season-high 10 carries.

LOSING IT
Adewale Ojomo tackled Maryland QB Danny O’Brien for a loss of one yard and now has 4.5 tackles for loss this season. Marcus Robinson tackled Maryland QB Jamarr Robinson for a loss of eight yard – his fourth tackle for loss in 2010. Miami came into the game second in the nation in tackles for loss.

DEFENSIVE STOPS
Miami’s defense held Maryland to 254 offensive yards with 96 on the ground and 158 through the air – all under the Terps’ season averages.

Allen Bailey sacked O’Brien for a loss of three yards in the third quarter and now has a team-leading 6.5 sacks this season. Olivier Vernon sacked O’Brien for a loss of seven yards in the third quarter and now has 5.0 sacks this season – second-best on the squad.

The Hurricanes entered today’s game ranked sixth in the nation in sacks.

TODAY’S STARTERS
Miami’s offensive starters today were: Stephen Morris (QB), Travis Benjamin (WR), Leonard Hankerson (WR), Richard Gordon (TE), Orlando Franklin (LT), Harland Gunn (LG), Tyler Horn (C), Brandon Washington (RG), Seantrel Henderson (RT), Patrick Hill (FB) and Lamar Miller (RB)

Starting for Miami on defense was: Allen Bailey (LDE), Micanor Regis (LT), Marcus Forston (RT), Adewale Ojomo (RDE), Sean Spence (WLB), Colin McCarthy (MLB), Ramon Buchanan (SLB), Brandon Harris (CB), Vaughn Telemaque (FS), JoJo Nicolas (SS), Ryan Hill (CB).

Miami Head Coach Randy Shannon

“That was a huge win today for us today to become bowl eligible and have an opportunity to come out and play the way we did on Homecoming. I thought it was a tremendous effort from everyone on the football team, especially the offensive line. I think they really stepped up the pace today in what they did protecting [quarterback] Stephen [Morris], but also we were able to run the ball. We had over 200 yards rushing and took control in certain situations of the game. Towards the end that really opened up our pass game.

“We were in that situation, Stephen started on the 18-yard line, coming out making plays, using his feet. He stayed poised. He got hit on the one long pass, which was one of those penalties. He didn’t panic, he stayed poised and he came back and threw some passes and stayed focused. Then we took the one shot to the end zone to try to make a big play. He threw the ball between two defenders, it had great placement and it was a great catch by [Leonard] Hankerson.

“Then the defense came up and responded. They came up at the end of the game by stopping them, but I also thought it was great for us to come out and play and have a lot of enthusiasm today for Homecoming. I’m excited because we had 500 yards and the defense held those guys to 200 yards. It was a team coming in that was averaging 400 yards per game and 38 points per game coming in. They are a very high explosive offense, they lined up in different formations and we had injuries today. We had people go down during the course of the game, we lost two DBs, a receiver, we lost like five guys who were key to special teams. That’s why you saw Colin McCarthy, Vaughn Telemaque, a lot of different guys who were starters were on that last kickoff. We were depleted at that point in time, but you know what, somebody had to step up and those guys did. I’m really happy for the young men on this football team and really excited for them.”

On the plan on the last scoring drive…
“You play for three and then you get an opportunity to play the sticks and play the yard mark. On third down and 8 or third down and 10, you’re going to play the sticks because you know you need a field goal to win the game. We just took a shot, threw it into the end zone, to see what could happen. Hank [Hankerson] ran a great route, the safety bent and bit on the post route and he came back out to the corner route. I think the corner took somebody in the flat and he reacted late. It was a great throw and a great catch.”

On if Stephen Morris played better than expected…
“I think so, especially when you play a team like that, that blitzes from every way you can imagine. Against a team that is blitz happy like that, he made some great throws in certain situations. But also getting himself out of bad situations like he did with [Graig] Cooper on that run that got us a first down. He did one with Aldarious [Johnson] in traffic and got out of a blitz situation. So anytime a young player does those type of things to make plays, you feel real good about him.”

On Leonard Hankerson’s development…
“I think his development at the University of Miami has been great. He’s had some ups and downs, but he is having some good times now. He’s made some big catches across the middle. He’s taken some big hits, but he is a big receiver so he is allowed to do that. Also he can get past you deep in the passing game. He’s really developed into a special guy, and like anything, we just tell him he’s got to stay focused and stay hungry all the time.”

On Lamar Miller stepping up…
“I think all the running backs stepped up, I think Lamar Miller had some good runs. He showed his burst. Lamar has just got to understand that you don’t have to make an 80-yard run. You know if you can get a five-yard run – great, get the five yards and we will get a first down. He’s starting to see those things in the running game, every run doesn’t have to be a 40- and 50-yard run to get the crowd in to it. Five yard gains get you first downs. Five yard gains get you second and five which is great position for us on offense. I thought [Graig] Cooper did well today – came in with some key plays and catches and runs in the game. And Mike James was the bruising guy today. All those guys contributed to what we needed to get done today. It shows you how far this team has really come.”

On what he told the team before the game…
“I said this to them the other night – the University of Miami is built on who the people on the football team are at that time. I said you guys cannot be who I was at the University of Miami. I was a linebacker. I was 4.8, the guy next to me was 4.8 and the guy next to him was 4.8. I said you guys in here are 4.5 and 4.6. I said on the offensive line, the biggest guy we had was 275. The biggest guy we got right now is probably 360. It’s totally two different teams and two different eras. You guys have to establish your identity for who you want to be the next four years at the University of Miami. Every four years there is a trend at the University of Miami of guys establishing their identity of what they want to be in the long term. You’re going to have to show it tomorrow. If you go there and perform and establish an identity tomorrow, people are going to know what kind of football team you are and what you want to be.”

QB Stephen Morris

On his first start…
“It was a great opportunity to be back home in front of our fans. The whole week we were motivated and focused and today was just about getting the ball in the hands of our playermakers.”

On the touchdown pass to Leonard Hankerson
“Coach [Mark] Whipple called the right play. We worked on it in practice and I knew when he called it, the play would work. The rest was just Hank [Leonard Hankerson] doing what he does best.”

On the victory…
“It was great win for our team. We wanted to get back on track after the UVA game and we did just that. We’ll enjoy it tonight and then it will be time to get ready for Georgia Tech.”

RB Lamar Miller

On the importance of the win…
“It’s a very good win for us. After a loss last week, we just came out hard this week in practice. We gave it our all. The offensive line did a good job, quarterback, defense did a very good job for holding them to the points. We did very well.”

On how his first career start went…
“It went very good. The offensive line did a good job with blocking, and I just had to run the ball and move the chains.”

On the emphasis on the running game…
“We were trying to take most of the pressure off the quarterback. All the running backs listened to our assignments, did very well and got the W.”

DL Allen Bailey

On how emotional the game was…
“It was a really emotional game towards the end, you know, with the last two-minute drive..”

On what they did differently this week in making a big stop in the fourth quarter…
“We were just focusing on getting off the field on third down. We had problems with that last week, so we worked on that all week and it showed during the game.”

WR Leonard Hankerson

On the feeling of catching the game-winning pass…
“It was very emotional for me, very emotional. But, I made a play to help my team come out on top, so it was a great feeling.”

On the nerves of freshman QB, Stephen Morris on the last drive…
“Throughout the game, he was very calm. He was like `let’s go, let’s make plays`. The last drive he was the same way he was at the beginning of the game. He started off strong, he finished the game and he had fun.”