Live blog: No. 25 Miami at Appalachian State

The view from the press box at Miami-Appalachian State. (Matt Porter)

The view from the press box at Miami-Appalachian State. (Matt Porter)

[Pregame blog: observations, photos and video from Boone]

[Five predictions for Miami-App State]

BOONE, N.C. — Keep it locked here for live coverage as the 25th-ranked Hurricanes (2-0) face Appalachian State (1-1).

2:57 p.m. Miami 45, App State 10 

A Chad Thomas sack appeared to rattle Taylor Lamb, and Walton scored a 10-yard touchdown.

2:38 p.m. A first for Smith 

Backup middle linebacker Mike Smith snatched his first career interception.

Miami pooched a punt from App State’s 35 on fourth-and-7. Actually, forget that. Justin Vogel’s punt happened from the 40 after a false start.

2:33 p.m. Miami 38, App State 10

Miami is making App State, which most people consider a pretty good Group of Five team, looking very much like an average Group of Five team.

Brad Kaaya found Ahmmon Richards deep again, this time for 62 yards. Richards juked, spun and stiff-armed his way out of three tackles to gain extra distance.

Kaaya hit Stacy Coley for an 8-yard touchdown. Kaaya is 19-of-24 for 352 yards, with three touchdowns and one interception. This, from a quarterback who looked a little shaky the first two weeks.

Miami is and has been thoroughly whipping App State. The crowd? No longer a factor.

2:28 p.m. Another sack

Corn Elder blitzed and picked up UM’s second sack of the day, stunting another App State drive.

Miami’s defense, which entered the day leading the nation in negative plays, has eight tackles for loss and two sacks.

2:20 p.m. Miami 31, App State 10

Kaaya didn’t miss a play, or a beat.

On third-and-10 from his own 25, Kaaya floated a perfect pass up the left sideline, behind two defenders, where only a streaking Ahmmon Richards could get it. Richards, who dropped a pass on first down that would have gone for a first down, hauled it in for a 61-yard gain.

Kaaya ran up the field pounding his chest and shouting.

Richards was tackled via his facemask, which gave Miami the ball at App State’s 7. A false start — UM still has serious penalty issues — meant Joe Yearby’s touchdown run was 12 yards, not less.

2:12 p.m. Miami 24, App State 10

Mountaineer momentum.

After the interception, App State scored its first touchdown of the game. Quarterback Taylor Lamb rolled out left, circled and threw right to wide-open tight end Barrett Burns. The crowd is back into it.

Attendance was announced as 34,658, a school record. This is the first time App State has hosted a Power Five opponent, as noted ad nauseam.

The previous record was set against Elon.

2:10 p.m. Cox out

As we await word on Kaaya, App State announced its standout running back, Marcus Cox, will not return. He has a lower-body injury, the school said.

2:09 p.m. A turn for the worse

UM, which deferred until the second half, came out dominating just as it did in the first.

And then, Kaaya made a mistake.

On the first play of the half, tight end David Njoku bullied three defenders while sprinting downfield for a 54-yard reception. Mark Walton was stopped for no gain on third-and-goal from the 1, and Miami went for it on fourth down.

Kaaya, looking for fullback Marquez Williams, was picked off by John Law. As he tried to get Law sprinting past him, two players landed on him. One of them was teammate Chris Herndon.

Kaaya limped off, assisted by trainer Vinny Scavo, and appeared to be favoring his left leg. There was no immediate word on his condition.

(Not that it matters, but since we noted it as that series was going on …)

All that was set up by another Miami matchup win: the kick-return game. Malcolm Lewis saw favorable coverage and took the kickoff 27 yards from his end zone. Earlier, Braxton Berrios went from the paint to the 32.

1:33 p.m. Halftime: Miami 24, App State 3

App State freshman kicker Michael Rubino missed a 41-yard field goal with two seconds left in the half.

The home crowd, on fire at the start, showered their team with some very lukewarm cheers as it trotted to the locker room.

It was a blistering start for the Hurricanes, as evidenced by the score.

Miami outgained App State 246-158, going 3-for-5 on third down, and gained 8.8 yards per play to App State’s 3.7. Miami had five tackles for loss and a sack. No turnovers on offense, either.

The bad: Miami was assessed 58 yards on six penalty calls. App State didn’t impress Ron Cherry, either — he threw five for 39 at the Mountaineers.

More penalties for Miami on that drive. Sheldrick Redwine was called for a personal foul, helping App State move the chains into position for the field goal try.

Penalties also led to the Hurricanes’ first punt of the day, on the previous drive.

A personal foul on Sunny Odogwu for shoving an App State player after the play and a false start (couldn’t tell who earned it) put Miami in a third-and-24 situation at its own 18.

Justin Vogel saved the day with a boomer of a 46-yard punt.

Braxton Berrios returned the kick 32 yards from the end zone. Good burst.

1:27 p.m. Miami 24, App State 3

App State turned the stop into a score, but not six points.

With 2:02 left in the first half, freshman kicker Michael Rubino hit a 31-yard field goal. That came after a App State drove 74 yards and messed up a promising drive. Darrynton Evans was stuffed for a 1-yard loss by Kendrick Norton and Chad Thomas and quarterback Taylor Lamb fumbled the snap for a 12-yard loss.

The kick was set up by a 30-yard rush by backup running back Jalin Moore, whose teammates blocked for him on the right side. Assisting that: the offensive line swallowed blitzing linebacker Michael Pinckney.

1:19 p.m. Mountaineers make a stop 

App State earned its first third-down stop at 8:46 of the second quarter.

Mark Walton was tackled one yard shy on third-and-4, and Mark Richt elected to punt from his own 36. Miami went three-and-out.

1:15 p.m. ‘D’ is for Diaz 

Another punt for App State, which can’t get much going through the air and is still without top ballcarrier Marcus Cox.

From a dime package on third-and-9, Miami ganged up on Taylor Lamb. The quarterback went left, found nothing, went right and was swallowed and digested whole by Chad Thomas, RJ McIntosh and Shaq Quarterman.

Miami has four tackles for loss and one sack, according to the official stats.

1:05 p.m. Miami 24, App State 0

Michael Badgley, who missed two field goals in the first two games (one blocked), made good on a 44-yarder. Good sign for the junior, whom Mark Richt believed would work out his early-season struggles.

Miami’s protection broke down and Kaaya was hit for the first time, earning an intentional grounding call on a throwaway. He hit Joe Yearby on a third-and-16 flare, but only got 6.

Braxton Berrios tapped a toe inbounds as he made a diving, 13-yard grab out of bounds. Phenomenal catch by the Raleigh, N.C. native.

12:52 p.m. End first quarter 

Miami outgained App State 216-51 in the first quarter, was 2-for-2 with two touchdowns on third downs, and averaged 14.4 yards per play.

This while possessing the ball for 4:52 of the first 15 minutes.

Even the penalty column is tilted for Miami (2 flags, 20 yards for UM, 5 for 39 for App).

So far this year, the Hurricanes have outscored their opponents 35-0 in first quarters.

12:47 p.m. Miami 21, App State 0

It wasn’t all short passes and tempo this time.

With a clean pocket on third-and-9, Kaaya found a wide-open State Coley for a 55-yard touchdown. No Mountaineers defender was within 10 yards of him.

We’re already seeing the infamous “surrender cobra” in the App State crowd.

Still 1:21 left in the first quarter.

Miami got App State with a defensive 12-man call. It had at least two chances before to snap the ball before that as a Mountaineer was running off the field.

Another note: Kaaya passed Gino Torretta and is tied for fourth with Vinny Testaverde and Steve Walsh in career touchdown passes (48).

12:37 p.m. Locals not happy with refs

The place exploded when Marcus Cox took a carry 79 yards to the end zone. Unfortunately for App State, Cox ran right by linebacker Kennan Gilchrist, who wrapped up cornerback Sheldrick Redwine. Not only was the TD wiped out by the holding call, Cox was hammered by Corn Elder, who caught him from behind as he crossed the goal line. He looked a little shaken up coming off the field and trainers massaged his left leg on the sideline.

App State wound up punting for the third time.

Overheard in the press box: “The problem is, the ACC has the worst officials, and has had them for years.” One Boone-based reporter isn’t pleased with Ron Cherry.

12:32 p.m. Miami 14, App State 0

That was the first time we’ve seen Brad Kaaya locked in, and it happened with tempo and quick passes.

Miami marched on App, with Kaaya going 5-for-5 for 45 yards before throwing a would-be touchdown to Stacy Coley that he dropped. Joe Yearby got five on second down, and on third-and-5, Kaaya hit David Njoku for a 9-yard touchdown.

Yes, a TD on third down in the red zone. It really happened.

Also, Miami declined App State’s defensive holding call, committed against Njoku.

Nine-play, 74-yard drive lasting 3:06. A masterpiece by Mark Richt and Brad Kaaya. If App State can’t stop that, it’s going to be a long day for them.

12:16 p.m. Giving them chances

The Hurricanes are beating App State’s heralded offensive line so far. The Mountaineers were called for a chop block and Zach McCloud laid a big hit on quarterback Taylor Lamb. App State’s run game hasn’t found much so far. Blockers are being driven backward.

Penalties are Miami’s problem.

Miami committed both a defensive offsides — declined — and a pass interference on the same third-and-5 play. Corner Sheldrick Redwine will hear about the PI tomorrow (and now, and at halftime, probably) … he kept shoving his man out of bounds instead of making a play on the ball.

But, UM forced another punt with stout play up front.

Linebackers Mike Smith and Darrion Owens, defensive tackles Anthony Moten and Gerald Willis and end Joe Jackson started on Miami’s second defensive series.

12:14 p.m. Miami 7, App State 0

Welcome to Boone, Miami.

On Miami’s first offensive play, Mark Walton slipped through a hole between Danny Isidora and Stacy Coley and took it 80 yards to the house. The crowd, which was incredibly hyped before the game, reacted accordingly.

The usual starters for Miami on offense, aside from Dayall Harris, who started at X receiver instead of Ahmmon Richards.

12:09 p.m. Penalty, but punt

App State running back Marcus Cox converted a third-and-2, and Miami gave App State a third-and-8 when RJ McIntosh jumped offside. On the next third down, Miami went dime, and quarterback Taylor Lamb found nothing downfield. Punt.

Gerald Willis and Michael Jackson saw action on that first drive.

12:03 p.m. Starters

Miami opened with three linebackers on the field, not two as in previous games. Zach McCloud got the start at Sam. Sheldrick Redwine made his second consecutive start at cornerback, with Adrian Colbert out.

Chad Thomas, RJ McIntosh, Kendrick Norton and Demetrius Jackson started up front. The other defensive backs were corner Corn Elder and safeties Jamal Carter and Rayshawn Jenkins.

12:00 p.m. Set for kickoff 

Miami wins the toss and defers.

Weather is 72 degrees and sunny at kickoff. Slight breeze. Ideal.

The teams coming onto the field:

 

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