The Miami Hurricanes dominated the Russell Athletic Bowl with a 31-14 win over the #16 West Virginia Mountaineers at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, FL. This is Miami’s first bowl win in a decade.
The Canes had a rough start. They could only manage 5 yards rushing and 14 yards passing in the first quarter, while West Virginia managed 87 offensive yards and a touchdown in the first.
Miami struggled to gain yards into the second quarter as well, but the Canes explosive offense managed a 71-yard pass from QB Brad Kaaya to WR Ahmmon Richards for a touchdown, stunning and electrifying the crowd of 48,000 fans. Miami head coach Mark Richt said that this play was the spark that woke up the offense.
Coach Mark Richt: ” Early on, I thought West Virginia was just whipping us. First quarter, it was just very evident. They were just more physical than us up front and in the perimeter. But, again, you know, we got the one play. We got more confidence. It energized the team and we just started getting after them a little bit better.”
Later in the second quarter, Miami drove for 5 plays and 70 yards and a second touchdown. Just before the half, Miami’s Kaaya hit Braxton Berrios for a touchdown strike to take the game to 21-7 with :27 seconds left in the half.
The Hurricanes continued to dominate in the third quarter, With a Kaaya hitting Berrios again, taking the score to 28-7.
The Mountaineers managed a 75 yard drive to score another 7 points, 28-14. and Miami answered with a 47 yard drive and a 30 yard field goal.
Game MVP Brad Kaaya racked up 4 touchdowns, (tying Miami’s Greg Erickson in 1991 for a school record) and 282 yards. Surprisingly, the Hurricanes managed to rush for only 81 yards in the contest.
BRAD KAAYA: “Yeah, it’s awesome, but all credit to the guys that I had catching the ball for me. I’m sure Erickson had some good guys catching for him. Two of those passes, [Richard] Ahmmon took a 5-yard hitch, like 60, and David did the same for a bubble screen. So just credit to those guys right there. That’s awesome”
So fans of “The U” can take heart, they’re moving in the right direction.