A line-up change, injury and an early bench press forced the Miami Hurricanes to use seven different offensive linemen in the first quarter of their 38-17 loss to the Michigan State Spartans on Saturday.
Miami used its third offensive line starting combination in just as many games, then put its new starting right tackle on the bench and lost its starting left guard due to injuries on his third drive at Hard Rock Stadium.
Jalen Rivers, of offensive lines coach Garin Justice on Tuesday said he was the Hurricanes # 24 best offensive lineman so far this season, went down with an apparent knee on his right leg. The freshman wasn’t putting any strain on his right leg as a pair of sneakers helped him off the field and into a medical tent on the sidelines in Miami Gardens.
Rivers was re-rated at halftime and did not return. He was wearing an orthosis on his right knee as he watched the second half from the sidelines.
“The loss of Jalen was a severe blow,” said coach Manny Diaz. “I don’t have an update. He was obviously up to the game. “
Miami is reshuffling the offensive … again
For the third game in a row, the Hurricanes used a new offensive line.
After benching DJ Scaife Jr. in the middle of his season opening loss to senior Alabama Crimson Tide, Miami sent offensive lineman Navaughn Donaldson to the bench to begin his game against Michigan State. Justice Oluwaseun, who replaced Scaife on right tackle in the middle of the Alabama game, switched from right tackle to right guard to replace Donaldson, and Jarrid Williams took over on right tackle.
“I think we still have to find the right side,” Justice said on Tuesday. “The right side isn’t playing a good ball … Neither Vaughn nor Justice played any winning football on Saturday night, so we need to keep exploring our options.”
The new look only lasted two series: Scaife returned to the line-up to replace Williams on real tackle after the seven-year-old was called on a hold and gave up a sack on the Hurricanes’ third possession.
It’s the first start of the year for Williams, who moved to Miami from the Houston Cougars before last season. The seventh-year senior started every game with right tackle in 2020 and started training camp as the first-team right tackle before Scaife knocked him out for the starting job. Listed as the backup left tackle on the depths chart, Williams spent a significant portion of the fall camp as the first team left tackle when offensive lineman Zion Nelson was sidelined with an undisclosed problem.
Oluwaseun played the majority of the first two games with the correct tackle, but the Hurricanes added him as a transfer from the UNLV Rebels in anticipation that he would be an inner lineman. The Redshirt Junior started all six games in the right tackle for UNLV in 2020 and made five starts in the right tackle and six as a guard the year before.
D’Eriq King plays through injury
Quarterback D’Eriq King suffered a blow in the Miami loss with three touchdowns and will have his right shoulder reassessed on Sunday after playing in pain for much of the second half.
King landed hard on his shoulder at the end of a brief scramble in the third quarter and jogged into the locker room for a quick check. The quarterback didn’t miss a single game and got back on the field just in time to lead Miami’s next drive.
“I’m fine,” said King, who also wore a black splint on his right forearm after the game. “My shoulder is not that bad.”
Later at half time, King also hit his head in a defender as he dived to first down, despite again not missing a game.
The Redshirt senior ended with 59 attempts and a team high of 12 carries.
1991 championship meeting
Two-time Hurricanes manager Dennis Erickson and many of his players returned to Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their 1991 season – Erickson’s second title.
Erickson and his canes, which included defensive tackle Warren Sapp, quarterback Gino Torretta and receiver Lamar Thomas, ran through the smoke and were featured in a halftime ceremony.
Miami went 12-0 in 1991, crowned by a 22-0 win over Nebraska in the Orange Bowl.
This story was originally published September 18, 2021 12:55 pm.