Hurricanes breeze past FAMU, hand Mark Richt first win at Miami

Brad Kaaya throws 4 touchdowns, 3 running backs top 100 yards in rout

Mark Richt earned his first win Saturday as head coach at Miami.
Mark Richt earned his first win Saturday as head coach at Miami. (Peter Burke/Local10.com)

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya threw for four touchdowns and three running backs topped 100 yards on the ground as the Hurricanes ushered in the Mark Richt era Saturday night with a 70-3 victory against Florida A&M.

It was a fond homecoming for Richt, who grew up in South Florida and returned to his alma mater in December after 15 seasons at Georgia.

A mostly partisan crowd of 60,703 was in attendance at Hard Rock Stadium to watch the new-and-seemingly-improved Hurricanes under Richt, who returned to calling his own plays for the first time since 2006.

"I enjoyed it," Richt said of the responsibilities that he relinquished after his first six seasons at Georgia.

His enjoyment may have come from the fact that his team hung 70 points on FAMU for the first time in the history of the series. It was also the most points scored by a Richt-coached team since Georgia's 63-16 win against New Mexico State in 2011.

"My guess is we might have called, maybe called, a half of what we were going to," Richt said.

Richt improved to 12-0 in home openers as a head coach dating to his days at Georgia.

Kaaya finished the evening completing 12 of 18 passes for 135 yards and four touchdowns. Redshirt sophomore Malik Rosier replaced him in the third quarter.

Miami junior running back Joe Yearby also had a productive night, rushing for 105 yards and two touchdowns. Yearby's 64-yard touchdown run in the second quarter was the longest of his career.

The Hurricanes scored early and often against the Rattlers of the Football Championship Subdivision. Senior defensive back Corn Elder intercepted FAMU senior quarterback Kenneth Coleman's second pass of the night, setting up Miami's first touchdown -- a 4-yard strike from Kaaya to senior fullback Marquez Williams.

Yearby scored his first touchdown on a 1-yard run as Miami took a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Kaaya connected with junior tight end Christopher Herndon on a 16-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter to put Miami ahead 21-0, and he hooked up with freshman wide receiver Ahmmon Richards on a 15-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter.

Miami went into the locker room with a 28-3 halftime lead. FAMU's lone points of the game came on a 31-yard field goal by sophomore kicker Austin Miller late in the second quarter.

Sophomore running back Mark Walton notched his first touchdown of the season on a 37-yard run to open the scoring for the Hurricanes in the third quarter. Walton led the rushing effort with 116 yards. Miami junior Gus Edwards rushed for 106 yards on seven carries, while Yearby finished with seven carries for 105 yards.

Kaaya's final touchdown was a 4-yard pass to senior receiver Stacy Coley that cushioned Miami's lead to 49-3.

Miami scored the final 42 points in the third quarter, including a 41-yard punt return from junior Braxton Berrios.

The Hurricanes have won 10 in a row against the Rattlers since FAMU's 16-13 win in the first meeting between the teams in 1979. Richt was a backup quarterback for the Hurricanes when Miami lost its only game against the Rattlers in Tallahassee.

Miami got payback the next year, winning 49-0 at the old Miami Orange Bowl.

After the game, Richt had an opportunity to reflect on the first of what he hopes will be a long tenure at the school where his lifelong connection to college football began.

"I'll just say this: I really, really like it here," Richt said.

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