With the help of Miami's offensive line, Duke Johnson manhandled the FAU defense.
The Miami Hurricanes officially returned 16 offensive and defensive starters from the 2012 season, and Al Golden’s team won its season opener against the Florida Atlantic Owls.
Led by quarterback Stephen Morris and linebacker Denzel Perryman, the 'Canes defeated FAU 34-6.
Of course, new starters may have been on the field for the first snap of the game before, but their teammates started a majority of the contests in previous years.
Duke Johnson was the obvious star of Miami’s six new starters, as he had a career-best game. However, not everyone's performance was worthy of a stellar grade.
The 'Canes will be looking for these guys to step up next week against the Florida Gators because Miami must play a phenomenal game as a team to beat Will Muschamp's 10th-ranked squad.
Johnson was easily Miami's best player on Friday.
Yeah, he did just fine.
In his first game as the full-time starter, Duke Johnson set career highs with 19 carries and 186 yards. The sophomore broke a huge 53-yard touchdown run and had two other plays of 30-plus yards against FAU.
Johnson exited the game during the third quarter after throwing a block on Herb Waters’ reverse touchdown.
With an exciting, difficult matchup with the Gators looming on Saturday, Miami fans greatly enjoyed Johnson starting the 2013 season with a bang.
Ereck Flowers started a handful of games as a true freshman, but—barring injury—he will be the starting left tackle for the duration of the season.
Flowers temporarily left the field early on before returning and playing a majority of the game.
He didn’t make extraordinary blocks worth mentioning, but he did whiff on a cut block that led to an interception. Flowers dove, the defender hurdled him, and Morris rushed his throw.
Overall, Flowers played an average first game and will need to step up when Florida's pass-rush comes to town next week.
Curtis Porter finally made it through an entire offseason without suffering an injury, but the senior showed he still has much room for improvement.
Porter earned the start against FAU, and hopes were high for the defensive lineman.
However, Porter did not make a big impact in the season opener, failing to register a tackle—let alone a sack.
He was near Anthony Chickillo when the junior tallied a sack, but Porter was pushed back from the line of scrimmage throughout the night.
Heading into Friday night’s contest, Thurston Armbrister was listed as a co-starter with Alex Figueroa.
Figueroa had a fantastic debut, making five tackles against the Owls while Armbrister definitely put together a solid performance of his own.
Armbrister led the 'Canes with two tackles for loss—his only stops of the night—including Miami’s first sack of the 2013 season.
Figueroa is hot on Armbrister’s trail for the starting job, but the sophomore’s disruption in the backfield helped the Hurricanes force 10 punts.
Tracy Howard does not show up in the box score of Friday night’s game.
As a cornerback, that is not necessarily a bad thing.
Florida Atlantic’s trio of quarterbacks combined to complete just 16 passes for 117 yards. The longest reception went for only 18 yards.
Howard shut down his man all night long and rendered any FAU receiver who came his way ineffective.
Rayshawn Jenkins was certainly the surprise of Al Golden’s depth chart, and he immediately made an impact.
Jenkins earned the first tackle of the 2013 season—a relatively meaningless honor—but the important part is he made the stop.
Later, he combined with Luther Robinson to make a tackle at the line of scrimmage, but Jenkins contributed most by not letting FAU’s receivers get behind him.
Ultimately, Jenkins did not allow any big plays to happen on his watch.