Brad Kaaya Become’s Miami’s All-Time Leading Passer as Hurricanes Throttle Duke 40-21
Miami Gardens, FL – The Miami Hurricanes finish the 2016 regular season with a dominant performance over the Duke Blue Devils 40-21 on a night where quarterback Brad Kaaya became Miami’s All-Time leading passer in the history of the program. The Hurricanes 2016 regular season officially was four wins in a row, followed by four losses in a row and finished off with four wins. Four up, four down, four up with the final win on Senior Day.
Hurricanes quarterback Brad Kaaya passed Ken Dorsey for first All-Time in passing yards(9,565 yds) with his prolific performance against Duke throwing for 396 yards on 22 of 35 passing and four touchdowns. The junior quarterback had plenty of help from his receivers today and went deep more often than we’ve seen through most of the season. Kaaya made sure to send the Miami seniors out in style and really put it on Duke in the second half.
“Just look at all the quarterbacks who come here…it’s just a huge honor.” Said Brad Kaaya after breaking the record. “It just feels great. But all credit to the guys who have made plays for me the past three years. Even back in my freshman year, you get guys like Clive Walford, Duke Johnson, Phil [Dorsett]. Last year was Rashawn Scott, Herb Waters, just all the guys I had…plus some of the [offensive] lines I’ve had. Similar to some of the quarterbacks that been here before me, they had great supporting casts. I really couldn’t have done that without all these guys, including these guys this year. Credit to all those guys up front. It just feels great.
“He did a great job.” Said Hurricanes Head Coach Mark Richt about Kaaya’s play. “The play at that broke it open, obviously was the one down the middle to [David] Njoku. They were showing a blitz. He felt like it was true zero coverage, meaning no safety deep, so he checked to a play that’s really good against that. As it turned out they did have a safety deep, but Njoku kept enough width and had enough speed, and Brad just laid it out beautifully out of that really fine pocket. After that, it kind of snowballed on them. I know they’ve had some injuries on the perimeter and in their defensive backfield. We probably waited too long to exploit it a little bit, but in the end, just about everybody had a deep ball somewhere along the way, which was great.”
Miami was locked in a tight one early on where the ‘Canes had to settle for field goals and Duke was moving the ball very well to start the game. Duke’s red-shirt freshman quarterback Daniel Jones started the game 9-9 with 112 yards and two touchdowns to put Duke ahead at the time. Jones had a short six yard touchdown and a 13 yard touchdown throw in the first quarter but started to stall at the half. Miami and Duke we’re locked up 16-14 with the ‘Canes leading and then it all went south for Duke.
The ‘Canes front seven really took a step up and figured out David Cutcliffe’s offensive system and freshman Joe Jackson was the one to benefit from the new found penetration recording two sacks on the day. The Blue Devils we’re held to just seven yards on the ground for the rest of the game and Miami found life offensively to back up the defensive play.
Kaaya had six passes of 30 yards or more, three of them going for touchdowns. The first an over the top throw to Mark Walton who had a fingertip catch over his head. The second a 76 yard catch and run by tight end David Njoku. Njoku caught the ball on a cover zero play(no safety over the top) and had space in front of him with just one defender to beat and stiff armed him into the dirt upon contact, touchdown. Njoku made a similar play of 58 yards where he broke free but this time he had more defenders to get through. Still the dynamic tight end ended the day with only two catches but for 134 yards and two touchdowns those are ‘Madden-like’ stats.
“He audibled to the first one, and I laughed when I saw him on the sidelines, ‘You got tired of all of this dink-and-dunk, high-percentage stuff?” Coach Richt said about Kaaya’s big play stretch. “You just want to launch it?’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, I wanted to launch it.’ He launched it and it was good. It got contagious with me. I said, ‘Alright, let’s launch a few more and see what happens.’ You need protection. You need guys to make plays. [Stacy] Coley made a great play, [Braxton] Berrios made a phenomenal catch. I don’t even remember everybody who made all those plays. The little naked bootleg we ran and hit [David] Njoku out in the flat. He got a great block from his fellow tight end [Christopher] Herndon. I know Stacy was blocking downfield. That’s when you get big plays, when guys will block down field for their teammates. That was nice as well.”
The Hurricanes spent much of the fourth quarter grinding down clock as they firmly took control from the third quarter on and sent the seniors out with a great win during their final game at Hard Rock Stadium. Defensively the seniors did their part. Jamal Carter led the team with 13 tackles, Rayshawn Jenkins had 10 tackles with a hit on the quarterback and Corn Elder contributed with a fairly quiet game by his standards with six tackles and one pass break up.
The Hurricanes finish the season strong with a Bowl game still looming in the distance. For now it’ll be time for the team to get healthy, work on prep for the bowl game, coaches will continue recruiting and juniors will start thinking about if they will declare or not for the draft.
It’s been a great regular season ‘Canes fans thanks for tuning into MiamiSportsNative for your ‘Canes coverage throughout the season we hope you enjoyed.
- Darrell Wilkinson MiamiSportsNative.com
- Twitter: DarrellW_Sports
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