No. 16 Miami overwhelms Savannah State 77-7

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — No. 16 Miami got a big win, and may have survived a bigger scare.

Dallas Crawford and Gus Edwards both scored three touchdowns and Miami got into the end zone on its first seven possessions, rolling to a 77-7 victory over Savannah State on Saturday night.

Miami set a school record for points, doing so even after losing quarterback Stephen Morris in the first quarter with what a team official said was a sprained ankle.

“The X-rays are negative,” Miami coach Al Golden said of Morris. “We’ll be cautious with him. We’ll get him off his feet or whatever for the next 48 hours, but it looks like he’ll be fine.”

Morris got hurt with 8:51 left in the opening quarter, on a play where he was under pressure from Savannah State’s Alex Wierzbicki. Morris threw an incomplete pass and ended up on the ground for the next few moments. He ended up walking to the sideline without assistance, though he was surrounded by Miami medical personnel and moving with a pronounced limp.

He left the field for further testing not long after.

“I thought I had a sack but he got rid of the ball,” said Wierzbicki, who initially did not realize Morris had been hurt on the play. “He just went down like normal.”

It was about the only problem for Miami (3-0).

The Hurricanes never punted in the game, in which the fourth quarter was shortened to 12 minutes by mutual consent of the coaches. And no one scored in that fourth quarter either, especially since Miami did all it could to shorten the game — not even lining up on offense until 10 seconds or so remained on the play clock and running simple dive plays repeatedly.

“I think you know what we were trying to do, long before the fourth quarter,” Golden said.

Miami outgained Savannah State 637-183, held the Tigers to a 1 for 13 success rate on third downs and picked off four passes. Many of Miami’s first-stringers were done for the night after the first quarter, including Johnson, who had nine touches in the first 15 minutes that wound up going for 154 total yards — including a 95-yard kickoff return to open the game.

Crawford ran in from 4 yards out on Miami’s first snap, and the Hurricanes were off and running. Morris found Allen Hurns for an 80-yard touchdown on the second possession — a two-play drive — and Johnson extended his streak of games with a touchdown to seven with a 2-yard scoring run with 6:21 left in the first.

Morris watched that play from the sideline, checking out the replay on a jumbo screen over one end zone, then left moments later for X-rays.

“I know that I can change a program like this,” Savannah State coach Earnest Wilson said. “We aspire to be big-time. A game like this helps us judge where we are. The only difference is depth. I know I have to go out and recruit and get some guys like they have.”

DeQuan Daniels had a 75-yard touchdown run for Savannah State (1-3).

Savannah State played two ranked teams last season in Oklahoma State and Florida State, losing by a combined score of 139-0, and some oddsmakers listed the Tigers as a 60-point underdog in this one.

And predictably, they were overwhelmed. That enormous 60-point spread? Miami had it covered — for the first time, anyway — with 2:22 left in the third quarter, when Edwards barreled in from 3 yards out for his second touchdown of the game. He added another later in the third that wound up closing the scoring.

“Coach just told me to be ready the whole week of practice,” Edwards said. “I got my chance, my opportunity early in the game and I was just excited to put my practices into the game.”

Daniels scored on the first play of Savannah State’s drive that followed Edwards’ second score of the night. The good feeling lasted a few seconds: Coley ran the kickoff that followed Savannah State’s TD back 88 yards for a 70-7 lead, and by then most of the announced crowd of 42,571 was long gone.

“It felt great just to see the green grass and the people going crazy,” Coley said.

The Hurricanes play winless South Florida (0-3) next week. Golden sounded confident that Morris may be able to play, but backups Ryan Williams and Gray Crow combined to complete 17 of 19 passes for 231 yards and three touchdowns.

“It was an unfortunate circumstance,” Golden said. “We’re blessed and we’re grateful that he’s healthy and he’s going to be OK. But at the same time, we learned a lot about Ryan. And I thought Gray Crow came in and did a good job too.”

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