- What started out as a good night for Stephen Morris ended with the quarterback having to leave Miami's game against Savannah State with what appeared to be an injured right ankle Saturday.
Morris, a senior, was injured on the Hurricanes' third possession of the game with Miami facing a 2nd-and-8. He was hurried on the play by Tigers' defensive end Alex Wierzbicki, came up limping and was tended to by trainers on Miami's sideline before eventually going into the locker room.
Late in the second quarter, Miami officially announced that Morris would not return after sustaining a lower extremity injury, although the radio broadcast on WQAM-560 reported that x-rays on Morris ankle came back negative and the injury was being treated as a sprain by Miami's medical staff.
"After the game, when Miami coach Al Golden was asked about Morris' injury, he said his it would have been a tough call to sit Morris that early in the game. He also added that Miami would be cautious with Morris in the coming days.
"It's so difficult because I always get the questions going into a game 'Are you going to sit so-and-so.' The reality is these guys work so hard. Try and go tell Stephen he's not going to play after a bye week," Golden said. "It was an unfortunate circumstance. We're blessed and grateful that he's healthy and that he's going to be okay."
Morris, a South Florida native out of Miami's Monsignor Pace High, has dealt with ankle injuries before during his Miami career.
Last season, he injured his ankle in the Hurricanes' 18-14 loss to North Carolina on Oct. 13.
He didn't practice much in the days after the injury, but returned in time for Miami's 33-20 loss to Florida State a week later.
Before leaving Saturday's game, Morris moved past Hall of Famer Jim Kelly on the Hurricanes' all-time career passing list.
Morris entered the game needing just 39 yards to move past Kelly into the No. 10 spot on the list, and he got those yards on his second attempt of the night, an 80-yard touchdown pass to Allen Hurns on Miami's second possession.
Morris finished the night completing 3-of-4 passes for 82 yards.
Backup Ryan Williams, a former Miramar High standout, came into the game and played the remainder of the first half completing 11 of 13 passes for 176 yards with two touchdowns.
Third-string quarterback Gray Crow also saw action in the first half for Miami.Savannah State's Wilson a fan of Golden
While preparing his team to face Miami on Saturday night, Savannah State coach Earnest Wilson III spent time doing more than watching the Hurricanes on film.
Wilson, the Tigers' first-year coach, watched plenty of Golden's media interviews.
What he saw was a coach he wants to emulate in more than one way.
"We're such a young program, I'm actually mimicking a lot of what he's done at Miami," Wilson said earlier this week. "I've been at Penn State, and coach [Golden] was there. I'm mimicking everything he's saying. I watched his press conference last night, and how he said it was all about us and not them. I'm telling my team the same thing."
Wilson understands the challenge he undertook when he accepted Savannah State's coaching job this past June. The Tigers were 1-10 last season and started this year with a pair of blowout losses.
But Wilson isn't deterred. He sees the potential for growth, the same way, he says, Golden saw potential when he took over as Miami's coach three years ago.
"There were some problems before [Golden] got there, there were problems before I got here. He has guys fighting for jobs, that's what I want," Wilson said. "I want to see our guys improve. I want them to feel confident. I don't care what the line says. I want you to improve and play every play like it's your last."firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @ChristyChirinos.