It wasn’t pretty, but the Miami Hurricanes got the job done.
Quarterback D’Eriq King accounted for over 250 yards and four touchdowns as the UM defense forced four field goals in the red-zone to top Pittsburgh, 31-19 on Saturday.
The bottom line: Miami (4-1, 3-1) didn’t let Clemson beat them twice.
Field position was the story for the UM offense in the first half. When Miami had favorable field position, the Hurricanes scored. When they didn’t, they sputtered.
Miami started two drives on the Pitt 45 yard line and turned each one of those drives into touchdowns.
Defensively, the story for UM in the first half was the ability to bow up inside the red-zone.
Twice, Pittsburgh was able to drive the ball inside Miami’s five yard line and the Hurricanes were able to hold the Panthers to a field goal.
The passing game sputtered in the first half with D’Eriq King completing 6-of-15 passes for 79 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Running back Cam’Ron Harris led UM in receiving with one catch for 35 yards. It was Harris and Don Chaney Jr. who led UM in rushing with 20 yards each.
Defensively, it was Jared Harrison-Hunte and Quincy Roche who sparked things, each totaling two tackles for loss in the first half.
Miami held a 14-6 lead at halftime.
The Hurricanes received the first possession in the second half and put together a six-play, 75 yard drive that was capped by a 38 yard touchdown pass from King to Mike Harley, which gave UM a 21-6 lead.
Then things got tight.
Pitt immediately responded with a six play, 58-yard drive that was capped by a 36-yard field goal by Alex Kessman to make the score 21-9. That drive was boosted by a 55-yard pass play to receiver Jordan Addison, which gave Pitt the ball inside the red-zone.
King made a poor decision to test an out-route and Marquis Williams made him pay by picking off the pass and returning it down to the UM one yard line. On the next play, Yellen found Moraga for an easy one-yard score to tight end Daniel Moraga. That touchdown cut UM’s lead to 21-16.
With 6:21 remaining in the third quarter, Miami’s defense stepped up once again, this time it was Roche who came away with a fumble from Yellen to give the Hurricanes possession on the Pitt 38 yard line.
With 6:21 remaining in the third quarter, Roche recovered a fumble from Yellen that gave the Hurricanes the ball at the Pitt 38 yard line. UM made the most of that field position by once connecting on a 45-yard pass to Mallory to push the lead to 28-16.
Pittsburgh was able to put together a ten play, 74-yard drive in which the Panthers had to once again settle for a field goal on their next possession to cut into UM’s lead, 28-19.
Miami then put together a 14-play, seven minute drive that chewed up clock and ended with 4:13 remaining in the fourth quarter, kicker Jose Borregales converted a 37-yard field goal to push UM’s lead to 31-19.
Miami returns to action next week by hosting Virginia at Hard Rock Stadium. Kickoff for that game is slated for 8 p.m.