Miami Opens Season With 31-3 Win Over Marshall
Sept. 1, 2007
MIAMI (AP) -- Randy Shannon's debut as coach of the Miami Hurricanes was a breeze.
Graig Cooper ran 12 times for 116 yards in his first college game, James rushed for 99 more and Kirby Freeman completed 9 of 21 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown as Miami (1-0) won its final season-opener at the Orange Bowl.
Bernard Morris completed 16 of 27 passes for 162 yards for Marshall (0-1), but was intercepted three times.
Unranked entering a season for the first time since 1998, Miami looked at the opener as its first chance to prove this isn't the same sort of team that stumbled its way to a 7-6 record last season.
The Hurricanes didn't waste time suggesting their new coach will change things around.
Shannon is a Miami native, was a star linebacker at the school and spent 14 years as a Hurricanes assistant. He was defensive coordinator the past six seasons under Larry Coker, who was fired in November and watched Saturday from the Orange Bowl's third floor -- as a TV analyst.
Shannon probably liked most of what he saw, too.
Gooden caught Morris' deflected pass midway through the opening quarter and ran it back 35 yards to the Marshall 1 -- not scoring only because Morris hopped on his back inside the 5 and eventually wrestled him down. On the next play, Freeman hit DajLeon Farr with a scoring pass that put Miami up 10-0.
Campbell's interception came with 3 1/2 minutes left in the second. The 6-foot-8 defensive end released from a blocker and made a one-handed snare of Morris' pass, getting taken down at the Marshall 24. James scored on a 5-yard run three plays later for a 17-0 edge.
James pushed the lead to 24-0 with 7:06 left in the third with a 5-yard score. His 50-yard run on that drive was nullified by a holding penalty, but Cooper took off on a 56-yard scamper one play later to set up the Hurricanes' third touchdown.
Anthony Binswanger's 37-yard field goal with 13:37 remaining ensured Marshall would avoid the shutout.
Tight end Chris Zellner recovered a fumble in the end zone with 1:51 left for Miami's final touchdown.
Marshall has dropped eight straight games against teams from BCS conferences, getting outscored 228-84 in those matchups. It doesn't get any easier next week for the Thundering Herd; they host No. 3 West Virginia.