In a welcomed turnaround on a Friday night at Hard Rock Stadium, it was the Miami Hurricanes that stood their ground and made the key plays when they needed them the most to knock off the #20 Virginia Cavaliers, 17-9. The Hurricanes red zone defense was elite.
The way the defense played for the Miami football team on Friday night was the difference in the game. Miami was 95th allowing teams to score 87.5 percent of the time inside the RedZone and to score TDs at 68.75 percent.
Led by redshirt sophomore quarterback N'Kosi Perry, starting in place of injured quarterback Jarren Williams, Miami totaled 265 yards of offense. After UM's opening scoring drive, Dan Enos' offense went completely cold, compiling six (YES SIX) straight punts through the next 2 and a half quarters. The Hurricanes took the lead on an N'Kosi Perry to DeeJay Dallas 17 yard touchdown via a screen pass. The Miami offense had 40 yards outside of the fourth quarter and the opening drive of the game.
"We trusted each other more and I feel like this was our best defensive game, for sure", said defensive lineman Greg Rousseau. As a team, Miami totaled seven tackles for loss and five sacks against the Cavaliers.
Who else could it have been other than Perry, who, making his first start since November 2018, saw his season go off the rails against UVA a year ago in an ugly 2 INT performance where he was benched.
Miami: Host Georgia Tech on October 19, ending a five-game homestand.
Making his first career start, DE Gregory Rousseau was a star, getting in the backfield all night and making Perkins' life miserable; Rousseau finished with 7 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack, a QB hurry, and a forced fumble on the game. Romeo Finley led Miami with eight tackles.
Bryce Perkins connected on his first nine passes and finished 24 for 41 for 244 yards for Virginia (4-2, 2-1).
Five of the Cavaliers drives were at least 40 yards. Virginia got inside the Miami 30 on six separate possessions, and came away with only the three field goals.
The Canes' defense wasn't ideal - it allowed UVA to convert 50 percent of its third downs - but it made stops when it mattered most. Virginia was 8-16 on third down. Pat Bethel blocked a field goal for Miami and K.J. Osborn caught four passes for 60 yards. Tight end Brevin Jordan was held to two receptions for 48 yards. We had multiple drives to the red zone and not a single touchdown. Davidson was named the starter after pregame warmups. He was 2-2 on extra points and added a 19-yard field in the fourth quarter. As for Miami, the victory on Friday night pushes the Canes to.500 on the season at 3-3, which should instill a little bit of confidence into the team that entered the season with some high expectations under first-year coach Manny Diaz.