No. 25 Miami routs Appalachian State as Kaaya throws 3 TDs

Jeremy Brevard—USA Today Sports
Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Ahmmon Richards (82) catches a pass during the third quarter against the Appalachian State Mountaineers at Kidd Brewer Stadium.

BOONE, N.C. — Miami’s first visit to the North Carolina mountains was a curiosity on the schedule.The No. 25 Hurricanes acted like they were in a hurry to take care of business and move on in what became a dominant performance.Brad Kaaya threw three touchdown passes as Miami rode a strong start to a 45-10 victory against host Appalachian State on Saturday afternoon at Kidd Brewer Stadium.”We started hot on both sides of the ball and were getting after it,” coach Mark Richt said. “We knew we had better have our jaws set for a very physical game.”Running back Mark Walton rushed for 130 yards and two touchdowns as the Hurricanes were largely smooth in their first road game of the season.Kaaya completed 21 of 27 passes for 368 yards, with one interception.The Hurricanes bolted to a 21-0 lead in the first 13 1/2 minutes as Richt was on his way to becoming the fifth Miami football coach to begin 3-0 in his first season.A record crowd of 34,658, an overflow turnout because of an additional 5,000 temporary seats or standing areas made available with the first nationally ranked opponent to visit the North Carolina mountains, looked on.Appalachian State coach Scott Satterfield said he knew there would be unusual attention on his team and he was hoping for a better reaction.”What we try to do is stay in that same routine,” Satterfield said, acknowledging the unprecedented hype that accompanied the matchup because of the location. “It just so happens that (it attracted) a lot of people in the state.”We’re not scared to play anyone. At some point and time, we’ve got to win.”Even when Appalachian State (1-2) threatened to make it interesting by pulling within 24-10 in the third quarter, Miami responded with a touchdown less than two minutes later on running back Joseph Yearby’s 12-yard run.Receiver Stacy Coley’s 8-yard catch later in the quarter pushed the edge to 38-10.”When they find that window, they break it,” Satterfield said of Miami’s big plays.The Hurricanes wasted no time in flexing their muscle at the outset, with Walton going 80 yards on a run on the team’s first snap for a touchdown. It was the first of his 16 carries in the game.”That set the tone there,” said Richt, whose team had five plays that accounted for 50 or more yards. “Some of those were just guys making plays.”On their next possession, the Hurricanes’ hurry-up approach kept the Mountaineers off balance with a nine-play drive that resulted in Kaaya’s 9-yard scoring pass to tight end David NjokuThe next time Miami had the ball it took five plays to go 68 yards, with Kaaya throwing 55 yards to Coley for the points.”We didn’t tackle well,” Satterfield said. “We knew those guys were really good and they were a load.”Kaaya hit on 10 of his first 12 passes, while Appalachian State quarterback Taylor Lamb completed one of his first eight throws.Despite the score, the Mountaineers had first-quarter possession time of more than 10 minutes, but Miami’s quick strikes more than negated that.The Hurricanes added a field goal on their first possession of the second quarter for a 24-0 advantage. That kind of beginning showed Richt that his team was focused.”How can you take this team lightly?” Richt said of the Mountaineers. “This is a good football team and everybody knows it.”Appalachian State, which took nationally ranked Tennessee into overtime in the season opener, was at the doorstep of the end zone late in the first half before a wayward snap forced it to settle for Michael Rubino’s 31-yard field goal just 2:02 before halftime. He then missed from 41 yards out with two seconds left in the half.”Down in that red zone, we forced some kicks,” Richt said.Running back Jalin Moore gained 89 rushing yards, including 83 in the first half, on 23 carries for the Mountaineers.However, Appalachian State running back Marcus Cox, who led the team in rushing through the first two games, left in the second quarter with 30 yards on the ground and didn’t return for the second half because of a lower-body injury.Lamb ended up 10 of 21 for 115 yards with a touchdown and interception.NOTES: This was part of a two-game arrangement, with Appalachian State visiting Miami in 2021. … Miami is ranked in both the media poll and coaches poll for the first time since November 2013. … The Hurricanes scored a school-record 108 points across their first two games. … Appalachian State QB Taylor Lamb is the son of Mercer coach Bobby Lamb. … TE Barrett Burns of Appalachian State was in action after leaving a game early a week ago against Old Dominion with an undisclosed ailment. He caught a 24-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter. … Miami, which is off next week before opening Atlantic Coast Conference play Oct. 1at Georgia Tech, returns to North Carolina for a Nov. 19 game at North Carolina State. … Appalachian State goes to Akron next week.