Live blog: Miami Hurricanes vs. Pittsburgh Panthers, 2016

Miami-Pitt after the opening kickoff. (Matt Porter)
Miami-Pitt after the opening kickoff. (Matt Porter)

[Pregame blog: photos and observations from the stadium]

FINAL: Miami 51, Pitt 28

TD: Miami 51, Pitt 28 (2:12 4Q)

Miami’s run game hadn’t been a big-play factor today, but Mark Walton’s 55-yard run, on which be broke several tackles, provided a late highlight.

Miami scored 50 points for the first time it put up 70 in the season-opener against Florida A&M. It was Miami’s first 50-point game against an ACC opponent since the 2012 season-finale at Duke.

FG: Miami 44, Pitt 28 (3:21 4Q)

Michael Badgley hit a 25-yard field goal after a clock-killing drive lasting 4:54.

On a previous series, UM’s Michael Jackson and Travis Homer combined to keep a punt out of the end zone. Both have been special teams weapons this year.

An injury note: defensive tackle RJ McIntosh limped off, favoring his lower left leg.

TD: Miami 41, Pitt 28 (13:27 4Q)

On the first play, UM allowed a touchdown. Whoops.

Nathan Peterman’s 75-yard touchdown pass to Jester Weah came on a total coverage bust. He was left alone near the right hash.

TD: Miami 41, Pitt 21 (13:38 4Q)

This one’s just about over. David Njoku caught his second touchdown of the day, a 5-yarder on which he drew a pass-interference call. It was, naturally, declined.

Brad Kaaya connected with Ahmmon Richards on a pretty 38-yard completion to set up the score.

It is the first time Kaaya has thrown for four touchdowns against a Power Five team, and the third time in his career he has thrown for four. The others: Arkansas State 2014, Florida A&M 2016.

The rushing touchdown gives him a career-high five touchdowns.

End 3Q: Miami 34, Pitt 21

The Hurricanes are moving the chains, looking for a score that could put this game out of reach.

Missed FG (2:27 3Q) 

Pitt’s Chris Blewitt clanked a 43-yard try off the left post, keeping it a 34-21 Miami lead.

The Hurricanes have had trouble getting Nathan Peterman on the ground, but Trent Harris’ sack on third down set up that field goal.

It was the sixth sack Pitt has allowed this year. The Panthers rank second nationally in that department.

Interception (5:15 3Q) 

Rayshawn Jenkins’ end-zone interception saved Miami after its first stretch of shaky play.

The offense went three-and-out for the first time today, and the defense missed opportunities.

On separate plays, Joe Jackson and Chad Thomas had shots to sack Nathan Peterman, but he escaped. A big play: He hit Jester Weah for 33 yards, a catch Sheldrick Redwine allowed.

But Peterman, pressured by Zach McCloud, threw to the end zone for fullback George Aston. Jenkins leaped in front and grabbed it.

A stop (10:39 3Q)

Clearly fired up after that last series, Miami’s defense forced a punt for the second time today.

Jamal Carter and Joe Jackson nearly combined for a sack on third down. Corn Elder had a form tackle for no gain. Pitt got to Miami’s 45, but no further.

Miami’s defense has four tackles for loss and zero sacks, but is holding the nation’s 25th-ranked rushing attack (231.75 yards per game) to 74.

TD: Miami 34, Pitt 21 (13:33 3Q) 

Miami opened the second half in a big way, turning a fumble recovery into a quick score.

Pitt’s Quadree Henderson coughed up the ball as Miami gang-tackled him. Chad Thomas recovered the ball and rumbled eight yards to bring UM inside the 10.

Brad Kaaya stunned everyone — again — by scrambling for 5 yards. He then hit Stacy Coley for a 3-yard touchdown pass in the back of the end zone.

That’s Coley’s second touchdown of the game. He now leads the ACC in receiving scores (eight).

Miami’s offense hadn’t scored 30 points since putting up 35 on Oct. 1 at Georgia Tech.

Kaaya has thrown for three scores, something he hadn’t done since Sept. 17 at Appalachian State. He also has a rushing touchdown. His last four-TD game was the opener, Sept. 3 against Florida A&M.

Halftime: Miami 27, Pitt 21

The Hurricanes had trouble with penalties (68 yards on seven flags), but rolled up 326 yards of total offense in the opening 30 minutes. It was Miami’s highest-scoring first half since Oct. 1, when it scored 28 at Georgia Tech.

Brad Kaaya was 19-for-28 for 250 yards and two touchdowns, completing his first 13 passes against a brutal Pitt secondary. Ahmmon Richards had a team-high 83 yards on five catches, while David Njoku (72, on four) and Stacy Coley (41, on five) caught touchdowns. Mark Walton rushed nine times for 56 yards. Kaaya had a 1-yard sneak for a score.

Stacy Coley’s third penalty of the game, and 11th of the season, hurt the drive.

A positive: Coley passed Michael Irvin and Santana Moss on UM’s career receptions list.  Coley had five catches in the first half, giving him 144, one more than Irvin and Moss (143).

Miami’s offensive line had its best half in a month, allowing zero sacks and one pressure.

A punt (1:23 2Q)

Our first punt of the day, after Pitt’s third-down bobble and drop saved a touchdown. The Panthers were just out of field goal range.

It looked like they would down a pooch punt at the 1, but gunner Rafael Araujo-Lopes dropped it into the end zone.

Corn Elder nearly made a diving interception, thanks to a pressure by Michael Pinckney.

Still raining off and on, heavy and light. Heaviest rain of the day came midway through that drive. It chased some fans in the lower bowl to the sheltered areas.

TD: Miami 27, Pitt 21 (6:05 2Q)

Brad Kaaya’s 1-yard sneak put Miami back on top.

Malcolm Lewis made a key third-and-10 catch, picking up 14 yards in the red zone. That came after Kaaya went twice to the end zone from the 25. Braxton Berrios and Dayall Harris couldn’t come up with catches.

Setting up that score: Mark Walton’s 29-yard rush, which probably should have been more. The right side of the field was open for Walton, but Pitt safety Terrish Webb caught him.

Situation to monitor: After that Walton rush, Pitt’s starting defensive tackles — seniors Tyrique Jarrett and Shakir Soto — laid on the turf. Jarrett had to be helped off. Soto walked off slowly.

TD: Pitt 21, Miami 20 (8:45 2Q)

Penalties continue to hurt Miami.

Defensive tackle Courtel Jenkins jumped on a pile, after RJ McIntosh and Trent Harris dropped running back James Conner for a loss. The flag moved the ball to the UM 23. On the next play, quarterback Nathan Peterman shoveled the ball to fullback George Aston, who raced 23 yards for a touchdown.

Miami has lost 58 yards on six penalties. Two of those moved Pitt inside Miami’s red zone. Three of those helped turn a Hurricanes touchdown into a field goal.

Pitt hasn’t earned a flag yet.

That defensive series started in promising fashion for Miami. Peterman lost six yards when he fumbled and recovered. He got those yards back by hitting receiver Tre Tipton over the middle for 25 yards.

Tipton beat freshman corner Malek Young, who continues to learn how to cover college players. Safety Jamal Carter arrived to help him. After Carter and Young sandwiched him, Tipton was helped off the field.

Quadree Henderson, who burned UM for a 100-yard kickoff return, broke a 22-yard rush on that drive.

Miami injury update

WQAM reported Stacy Coley was “having his left knee worked on” and is expected to return.

FG: Miami 20, Pitt 14 (11:18 2Q)

Michael Badgley’s 48-yard field goal doubled Miami’s lead. On third down, Brad Kaaya couldn’t find David Njoku, who beat two defenders to the paint.

The best thing about that drive: Kaaya, on first down, had room to run and … ran. He gained 12 yards, and a first down, on the longest run of his career.

The worst thing: Stacy Coley, after gaining 16 yards on a sideline catch, appeared to be in pain and was attended to by UM trainers. He grabbed his left knee while the other was on ground.

Badgley, by the way, hasn’t missed a kick between 40 and 49 yards in his three-year UM career. He is 17-for-17.

TD: Miami 17, Pitt 14 (13:44 2Q) 

Running back James Conner can power through defenders. He can also scoot past them. His 12-yard run ended a relatively easy Pitt drive.

The Panthers went 75 yards in 10 plays, with Miami linebacker Charles Perry helping out. He threw a late hit on Pitt quarterback Nathan Peterman, picking up a roughing-the-passer call.

The Hurricanes, 117th in penalty yards per game (69.6) entering today, already have 43 yards on five flags.

End 1Q: Miami 17, Pitt 7

The Hurricanes rolled up 205 yards, including 180 through the air, in a first quarter they held the ball for 10:29.

Brad Kaaya is 13-for-15 for 180 yards and two scores. Also, he was not sacked.

Pitt’s pass defense entered Saturday allowing more yards per game (312.3) than all but two FBS teams.

FG: Miami 17, Pitt 7 (2:26 1Q)

Miami got to the 3-yard line, yet wound up kicking a 46-yard field goal.

Brad Kaaya, who started 13-for-13, threw a would-be touchdown pass to David Njoku. But Stacy Coley, who had a touchdown catch on the previous drive, committed a pass-interference penalty (he set a pick), which wiped out the score. He then false-started.

Michael Badgley kicked a would-be field goal, but a holding call on Njoku drove the Hurricanes back 10 more yards. Badgley nailed his second try from 46.

Heavy rain fell during that last drive.

Pitt trickery fails (5:44 1Q)

Miami started its third drive at its own 48 after Pitt tried an unsuccessful fake punt. Punter Ryan Winslow threw a deep ball to safety Jordan Whitehead, but Sheldrick Redwine broke up the pass.

Safety Jaquan Johnson started for Miami at cornerback, in place of Redwine. He broke up a pass on second down.

Miami brought in Malek Young at nickel on third down, with Johnson at dime, Elder and Redwine the corners, and safeties Jamal Carter and Rayshawn Jenkins.

TD: Miami 14, Pitt 7 (7:33 1Q) 

Stacy Coley’s touchdown catch put Miami back on top.

UM tried twice to power it in with Gus Edwards behind fullback Marquez Williams, and then brought in Mark Walton. But he was a decoy. Brad Kaaya floated one to Coley, who made a leaping catch on a fade.

Coley entered tied for second in the ACC in touchdown catches (six), one behind Syracuse breakout star Amba Etta-Tawo.

Miami got there through the air, once again. Kaaya found David Njoku down the seam for 30 yards, and 12 yards to the sideline to Ahmmon Richards, who contorted his body to make a tough catch.

Kaaya is 10-for-10 for 139 yards and two touchdowns.

Weather update

Off and on rain here in Miami Gardens throughout the first quarter.

TD: Miami 7, Pitt 7 (12:30 1Q)

Leading up to the game, Miami focused on stopping James Conner, Pitt’s star running back, and outstanding defensive end Ejuan Price.

Another guy to worry about: Quadree Henderson.

After Miami went up 7-0, the 5-foot-8, 190-pound sophomore ran a kickoff 100 yards to tie the game. He was not touched. Cornerback Malek Young, one of the fastest Hurricanes, had the last shot to stop him, but couldn’t catch up.

UM hadn’t allowed a kick return for a touchdown since Sept. 1, 2014 at Louisville, when Corvin Lamb raced 97 yards through UM’s coverage.

Before Saturday, the Hurricanes allowed four kick returns of longer than 30 yards. They were one of 36 teams to not allow one longer than 40.

TD: Miami 7, Pitt 0 (12:46 1Q)

Breaking: David Njoku is very athletic.

He scored Miami’s first touchdown on a forward flip into the end zone. He took a check-down pass, after which he broke for the sideline and cut back toward the goal. He added a half-twist for good measure as he cleared a pile of bodies.

Another good sign for Miami’s offense: it attacked Pitt’s struggling secondary on that opening drive. After a few horizontal plays, Brad Kaaya lofted a 41-yard pass to Ahmmon Richards.

Coin toss 

Pittsburgh won the toss and will kick. Miami will receive.

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