On a night when avoiding injuries was the main goal, the Hurricanes fell short in that department.
Senior quarterback Stephen Morris left Saturday night’s game with 8:51 remaining in the first quarter against Savannah State with an apparent right ankle injury.
On 560 WQAM, the Hurricanes’ flagship radio station, sideline reporter Josh Darrow said UM was “treating it like a sprain” and that X-rays showed no break.
At halftime, Hurricanes coach Al Golden told ESPN: “Stephen’s fine. X-rays are negative.”
Morris left the field under his own power while favoring his right leg. He was checked out by trainers on the sideline, then donned a ballcap and returned to the locker room.
Backup Ryan Williams relieved him and completed nine of his first 10 passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns. Redshirt freshman Gray Crow entered the game late in the first half.
Morris sprained his left ankle last Oct. 13 against North Carolina and was listed as doubtful for the next week’s game against Florida State, which he ended up starting. In 2010, Morris sprained his left ankle four days before Miami faced Notre Dame in the Sun Bowl. Morris relieved starter Jacory Harris in the second quarter of that game.
Before departing, Morris was 3-for-4 for 83 yards and an 80-yard touchdown pass to Allen Hurns. With that throw, Morris passed Jim Kelly for 10th place on Miami’s career passing yards list. With 5,272 yards, Morris needs 97 yards to pass Steve Walsh for ninth.
Wheeler gets call: Senior Jared Wheeler made his first career start, playing center for injured starter Shane McDermott. McDermott, from Palm Beach Central High, was ruled out with an undisclosed lower extremity injury and was seen wearing a walking boot on his left leg during warm-ups.
Bush plays: Sophomore safety Deon Bush made his season debut. Bush, who showed promise as a hard-hitting playmaker in the secondary last season, had sports hernia surgery in June and missed games against Florida Atlantic and Florida.
Noteworthy: Savannah State traveled to Sun Life Stadium by bus. It is approximately a seven-hour drive from Savannah, Ga., to Miami Gardens. … Tigers coach Earnest Wilson III cheerfully greeted Golden on the field nearly two hours before game time. Wilson, wearing the same white shirt and orange tie that has become a Golden trademark, chatted animatedly with Golden for more than five minutes.