The Canes’ second touchdown in the sequence was an 18-yard fumble returned by defensive lineman Joe Jackson.
“At first, I couldn’t believe that I scored,” Quarterman said. “After I scored, I’m still a little tired and a little out of breath, so we get right back out there. Joe (Jackson) gets the fumble and runs it back and I don’t have a lot of words to say about it. It was really exciting.”
Quarterman, a freshman linebacker from Orange Park, Fla., is used to scoring touchdowns. Quarterman said he played quarterback during his senior year at Oakleaf High School and scored three touchdowns.
Encouraging the Canes to keep up the defensive intensity they’ve had in their past three games, Richt began Miami’s practice during the week with a disruption drill.
In his first-year as defensive coordinator, Manny Diaz is starting the youngest defense he’s ever started against Tech on Saturday with three freshmen at linebackers, including Jackson and Quarterman, and two sophomore defensive tackles. With his young defensive starters, Diaz wasn’t surprised freshmen were involved in Saturday’s plays.
“As we know, we talk about a lot of times with defense, they score because of the efforts of somebody else,” Diaz said. “Somebody else made the ball pop out, and those guys were just running the ball and hustling, both for charity hops.”
Harris finished Saturday’s game with seven tackles, two sacks and three tackles for loss.
Because the Canes had two weeks to prepare for Tech’s offense and the option, practice was thorough throughout the bye week. The Canes used running backs and fullbacks on their scout team to prepare them against the speed of Tech’s offensive line.
“When playing this type of offense, you see them on film but you can’t really gauge how fast those linemen are going to come at you,” Quarterman said. “For two weeks straight, we’ve been running past these little guys, using our hands and trying to defeat blocks. So when we came to the game and the lineman actually are bigger, even though they may be flying out from there and staying on point, our speed is on another level as far as what we’ve been practicing.”
Quarterman finished Saturday with eight total tackles and one tackle for loss.