Hurricanes vs. Eagles: Final Report Card, Player Grades for Miami
It wasn't pretty but the Miami Hurricanes left Boston College with the win, 41-32. The Hurricane defense was less than stellar as they allowed the Eagles to stay within striking distance all day long.
Boston College outgained Miami in total yards, 541 to 414. Chase Rettig picked apart the Hurricanes defense, throwing for 441 yards and two touchdowns.
Miami, however, controlled the game with big offensive plays, especially from true freshman Duke Johnson who had 135 yards and two touchdowns on just seven carries.
Here are is report card for the Miami Hurricanes' first game of the season.
Stephen Morris was extremely effective, completing 28 of 45 passes for 207 yards and a touchdown. He also threw an interception, but it was not his fault. The pass bounced off the chest of wide receiver Rashawn Scott into the hands of an Eagle defender.
Although Morris didn't have the greatest stats, he was very methodical in his passes. I only counted two or three passes that he foolishly tried to force.
Morris kept the Boston College defense honest on his feet as well, rushing for 18 yards on eight carries—three of them for first downs.
Overall, Morris played a solid and very safe game. I would have liked to see Morris make some deeper throws, but he just never got the opportunity.
Final grade: A-
Well the answer to who is going to fill Lamar Miller's shoes may have been answered by true freshman Duke Johnson.
Johnson ran for 135 yards on just seven carries and two touchdowns. He took a handoff from Morris in the second quarter and bounced off a couple tackles for a 54-yard touchdown. Then in the third quarter Johnson turned on the jets and sailed passed a would-be tackler for a 56-yard touchdown.
Mike James got a majority of the carries, rushing 14 times for 54 yards. Eduardo Clements scored the other touchdown on the ground for Miami when he ran it in from one yard out in the opening quarter.
Overall grade: B+
There are good and bad things to say about the receivers—they made some very good catches but also dropped a few easy ones as well.
Allen Hurns was the primary receiver—catching eight balls for 81 yards—while true freshman Malcolm Lewis had four catches for 42 yards and Miami's lone receiving touchdown.
It was truly hard to grade the receivers just because they never ran any deep routes. They were constant, but I would have liked to have seen more deep passes thrown.
The Hurricanes have a lot of playmakers on the field, and they decided to play it safe—which is probably a good thing in the opening game of the season.
Rashawn Scott had three drops—which is totally unacceptable in trying to maintain drives.
Final grade: B-
I was disappointed that the Hurricanes never used their tight ends that much in this game. Clive Walford and Asante Cleveland only caught four passes combined.
Cleveland caught two passes for 12 yards while Walford caught two for 10 yards.
What made the Hurricanes such a great pro-style team in the past was getting the tight ends involved more, and four catches are hardly enough.
Again, this was more the coaches' fault than the ends; they caught almost every pass thrown their way.
Final grade: B+
Overall, the offensive line played a terrific game. They didn't commit a lot of penalties, and they protected Morris all game long.
Now they didn't play perfect, as it took them a quarter to get into the flow of the game, but overall they played great as a unit.
Just as I was impressed by two other true freshmen—Malcolm Lewis and Duke Johnson—I was just as impressed with freshman tackle Erick Flowers.
Flowers controlled the defensive ends with ease and kept the defensive line away from Morris the entire game.
Final grade: A
If I could only use one word to describe the defensive line, it would be—pathetic. They gave Eagle quarterback Chase Rettig an eternity to throw the ball all game long.
Rettig threw for a career-high 441 yards, and it wasn't because he was the best quarterback in the country either—there was just no pressure all game long from the defensive line.
I expected the line to be much better than last year. So far after watching the first game of the season, I can honestly say the Hurricanes may be in trouble.
Now don't get me wrong, Boston College tends to have good offensive linemen each year, but the Hurricanes made Rettig look like an All-American quarterback, which I don't believe he is.
Although the entire defense held Boston College to just 2.9 yards per carry, I only counted two tackles for losses by the linemen.
Honestly, the only positive thing I took away from the linemen was the fumble that Anthony Chickillo recovered in the second half.
Final grade: F
Although the linebackers were able to commit turnovers, they still missed far too many tackles. Denzel Perryman led the way, including a 41-yard interception for a touchdown in the first quarter.
Perryman showed how great of a linebacker he could be with the interception and the mind-shattering hits he put on multiple Eagles throughout the game.
Eddie Johnson also played a solid game stripping the ball away from an Eagle player in the second half.
Ramon Buchanan had a solid game after coming back from a season-ending injury last season.
Final grade: B
Although I want to blame the defensive line for not pressuring Rettig, I just can't do it. I have to put some blame on the defensive backs as well.
The Hurricanes played soft coverage all game long, and it allowed the Eagle receivers to catch anything and everything Rettig threw.
Overall, the defensive backs allowed 441 passing yards.
Ladarius Gunter did recover a fumble caused by linebacker Eddie Johnson, but besides that, the defensive backs didn't create any turnovers.
Cornerback Brandon McGee should have had an interception on Rettig's last pass of the game, but he couldn't haul it in.
For the first game of the season, I will give them more credit than I should and put most of the blame on the defensive linemen and coaches.
Final grade: C-
The special teams was the most constant unit on the field for the Hurricanes. Not only did the kicker and punter do well, the kickoff team flew down the field and didn't allow much on returns.
Kicker Jake Wieclaw made both field goals he attempted and was five-for-five on PATs. Punter Dalton Botts punted five times for 203 yards (40.6 yards per punt), including a 48-yard bomb in the first half.
Botts saved Miami from a disaster when the long snapper hit the up-man on a punt, causing Botts to chase the ball down, elude a defender and punt it away.
Final grade: A+
It is so hard to grade a coaching unit that has 64 freshmen on their roster like Miami has. There are going to be mistakes, and many of them came due to inexperience.
Now, putting the freshman stuff aside, the coaches struggled to adjust to the Eagles' offensive attack. I thought for sure they would make some adjustments after the dismal first half, but it never came.
Defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio struggled calling the right defensive plays all game long. I don't know if it's because Miami lacks the players on defense or because he didn't know how to defend it—either way, I was disgusted.
Offensive coordinator, Jedd Fisch called a very safe game for the offense. Although i was irritated by the short pitch passes, they seemed to be pretty effective.
Head coach Al Golden did a great job overall getting his team ready for Boston College. Beating a conference opponent on the road to start a season isn't the easiest thing to do—especially for such a young team.
Overall, I was too disappointed in the defense to give them a good grade. There are too many good athletes on the defense to allow such a ridiculous amount of yards to a fair-to-good quarterback in Chase Rettig.
Final grade: D