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Freshman Standouts From Miami’s Win Over Bethune-Cookman

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Photo Credit: Miami Athletics

Miami built a 34-0 halftime advantage in its win over Bethune-Cookman, which allowed many inexperienced freshmen to receive extended playing time.

Here are three notable performances from these first-year players.

QB Emory Williams

Williams was under center for the entire second half and played well. The efficient signal-caller completed nine of his 11 passes for 102 yards. He almost had his first career touchdown on a pass that was nearly hauled in by fellow freshman Riley Williams.

“No surprise there. I mean, he’s been doing it in practice, very smart decision-maker,” quarterback Tyler Van Dyke said. “[Williams] knows where to go with the ball all the time, very proud of him and the way he played tonight. Like [Xavier Restrepo] said, his future is very, very bright.”

Williams early enrolled at UM this spring, and he has impressed fellow teammates and coaches since his arrival. Head coach Mario Cristobal was also very complimentary of his performance but noted that the offense as a whole was “a little bit sloppy” as the game progressed.

“I think [Williams] looked really good when he had the supporting cast, most of the ones [first string] and some of the twos [second string]. He understands the offense really well. He was protected well. He seemed to operate at a relatively high level and did a good job. And then, as the game went on a bit, we were a little bit sloppy,” Cristobal said. “There were some free hitters in there. We gave up a sack and there really should have been a second one. We didn’t look as sharp as an offense and that’s the part that’s the letdown. That’s what you don’t want to see. You want to see your team get better, even when you put in some of the other guys. Overall, a solid day by him.”

RB Chris Johnson Jr.

Making his collegiate debut, Johnson made sure to showcase his greatest ability: his speed.

With 6:43 left in the fourth quarter, Johnson bounced a run outside the UM right tackle, racing past an approaching Bethune-Cookman defender for a 21-yard touchdown, which was his first career score.

“It felt good. I feel like he had like a warm feeling in his heart. He finally got the chance, like I always say, when your number’s called, you go out there and prove yourself, and that’s exactly what he did,” veteran running back Donald Chaney Jr. said about Johnson’s performance.

Johnson ended with seven carries for 40 yards.

DL Rueben Bain Jr.

Bain accomplished several firsts against Bethune-Cookman.

Not only did he make his first career start in place of the injured Akheem Mesidor, but he also recorded his first collegiate sack on Miami’s first defensive snap of the game.

Lining up on the left side of the lane, Bain blew past his defender with a quick swim move and was the first Miami defender to reach Wildcats quarterback Luke Sprague.

Bain said that the milestone “felt pretty good” but that he’s “ready for the next one.”

Freshman Stats

Offense:

QB Emory WIlliams: 9/11, 102 yards

RB Chris Johnson Jr.: seven carries, 40 yards, one touchdown

RB Ajay Allen Jr. (redshirt freshman): 12 carries, 68 yards, two touchdowns

WR Nathaniel Joseph Jr.: three receptions, five yards

WR Robby Washington: two receptions, 27 yards

TE Riley Williams: 74.1 overall PFF grade

OL Samson Okunlola: 92.1 overall grade (third-best on team)

OL Matthew McCoy (redshirt freshman): 80.5 overall grade (eighth-best on team)

Defense:

DL Rueben Bain Jr.: one sack

DL Jayden Wayne: four tackles

DB Damari Brown: two tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss

LB Bobby Wahsington Jr.: two tackles

LB Marcellius Pulliam: one tackle

DL Cyrus Moss: one tackle

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