MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — No. 22 Miami had nine players score touchdowns, won by the biggest margin in school history, had four quarterbacks lead scoring drives — and broke out the new and improved “turnover chain.”
And Miami coach Mark Richt was happiest about something else.
Despite all the big numbers on the stat sheet, Jaquan Johnson’s blocked field goal in the third quarter — in Richt’s eyes — was the best play of the night for the Hurricanes. It helped ensure that Miami would get its first shutout in three years, as the Hurricanes rolled past overmatched Savannah State 77-0 on Saturday night.
“That was my first highlight, if I had to rate them,” Richt said.
He had plenty to choose from.
Malik Rosier threw for two scores and rushed for another, N’Kosi Perry came off the bench to throw the first three touchdown passes of his collegiate career, Brevin Jordan had two touchdown catches and Lorenzo Lingard ran for two scores for Miami (1-1), which snapped a four-game slide dating to 2017.
The Hurricanes’ 77-point margin was the biggest in school history, breaking the 70-point win over Savannah State in 2013. Miami’s 77 points tied a school record, also set in that Savannah State game. And Miami has now won 12 straight home openers, another school record.
“Winning is a lot more fun than losing,” Richt said. “We had lost four in a row, as everybody knows. Sometimes people want to help remind us of that and I don’t blame them. But it was good to get a victory today, good to play a lot of people today.”
It was Miami’s first shutout since blanking Bethune-Cookman in 2015 and the first shutout for defensive coordinator Manny Diaz in exactly six years. Diaz was at Texas when the Longhorns blanked New Mexico on Sept. 8, 2012.
“Shutouts are always special,” said Diaz, after at least 32 Miami defenders had a role in a tackle or takeaway. “Every guy we had on defense went in there and was a part of it.”
Rosier completed 8 of 12 passes for 131 yards, including a 67-yard scoring pass to Jeff Thomas before coming out for good early in the second quarter. That was the second-longest scoring pass of Rosier’s career, topped only by a 78-yarder to Thomas last season.
Perry, Cade Weldon and Jarren Williams also saw time at quarterback for Miami, all making their Hurricane debuts. And the updated version of the “turnover chain” came out for the first time in 2018 during the second quarter, after a fumble recovery by Trajan Bandy .
“It’s another bold statement, I would say,” Richt said of the new chain.
Perry completed 9 of 14 passes for 93 yards, the three touchdowns and an interception. Weldon and Williams both rushed for scores.
“We got the ball rolling,” Rosier said.
Lawrence Cager caught a touchdown pass and Scott Patchan returned a blocked punt 10 yards for another Miami TD. The biggest shutout win in Miami history, before Saturday, was a 62-0 win over Havana in 1928.
Savannah State (0-2) has played Miami twice, losing those matchups by a combined 154-7 score. The Tigers are dropping from the FCS level to Division II next season.
“It’s a tough matchup for us,” Tigers coach Erik Raeburn said. “Hopefully, playing against a team the caliber of Miami, when we get against other FCS teams we will be better prepared. The game won’t seem as fast to us.”
Savannah State: This was the 43rd time in the last 20 seasons that the Tigers have lost a game by at least 40 points. The last time the Tigers beat anyone by 40 or more was 1996. But there was some improvement from Week 1 to Week 2 for Savannah State, which was 1 for 17 passing in the opening loss to UAB. TJ Bell and D’Vonn Gibbons completed 6 of 12 passes Saturday.
Miami: Rosier got booed after throwing incompletions on his first two attempts, and then connected on his next seven throws — a streak that ended when he had one tipped on the final play of the first quarter. “Kind of made me laugh,” Rosier said of the boos. In games where he’s attempted at least 10 passes and completed 50 percent or better, the Hurricanes are now 10-0.
Miami should remain in the AP Top 25, for what would be the Hurricanes’ 20th consecutive appearance in the poll. It would be the sixth time that Miami has had such a streak; the Hurricanes’ record is 162, set from 1985 through 1995.
TIGHT END U
Miami has two freshman tight ends and both got into the scoring action. Will Mallory caught a 2-yard TD pass from Rosier to open the scoring, and Jordan was targeted seven times — making seven catches, including two scores from Perry for 3 and 7 yards.
Savannah State: Visits Howard next Saturday.
Miami: Visits Toledo next Saturday.