September 23, 2017
The No. 14 Miami Hurricanes are down 16-10 to the 3-0 Toledo Rockets at halftime at Hard Rock Stadium.
Miami started off hot with an early 10-0 lead, but Toledo dominated in the second quarter to take over.
Here is what has stood out so far.
Mark Walton on fire early…but gets hurt
With explosive runs of 44 and 82 yards, Hurricanes junior running back Mark Walton has thoroughly lit up the stat sheet early. He already has 137 yards rushing and a touchdown on just six carries. Safe to say he’s not feeling any rust from the long break caused by Hurricane Irma, but an injury midway through the second quarter has temporarily put a damper on Walton’s parade.
On his first rush on a Canes’ drive that started at the 7:48 mark in the second period, Walton seemed to have hurt his left leg when getting tackled to the ground. After rolling on the ground in pain for a few seconds, he quickly hopped off the field while putting no weight on his left leg. He went immediately to the trainer’s table to get treatment.
It is being reported that the injury is to the left ankle, and Walton is being taped up in the locker room. The Canes are hopeful for his return, but it is unclear if he will as of now.
With his first-half scoring run, Walton now has 26 rushing touchdowns total for his career at Miami, tying him for fifth on the all-time list with Duke Johnson, Melvin Bratton and Tyrone Moss.
Hurricanes’ defense struggling on third downs…but gets huge stop
Miami is showing some rust on defense after going three weeks without playing a game. It allowed Toledo to go an efficient 10-14 on third down, not a stat UM defensive coordinator Manny Diaz would likely be happy with.
The Canes also allowed a wide-open, 37-yard touchdown pass by Toledo QB Logan Woodside that gave the Rockets their first lead of the game.
However, the Canes’ defense has shown bright spots. Senior defensive end Trent Harris recorded two sacks in the first half, putting pressure on Woodside.
UM got a key stop early in the second quarter. The Toledo offense had marched down to the Miami one-yard line, but the Canes showed grit, stuffing the Rockets on three-straight possessions to force a fourth down and a field goal.