Miami’s freshman quarterback on record-setting day in win over Louisville: ‘You come to ’The U’ to set records. I expected to do something different, to break records”

MIAMI GARDENS — The Miami Hurricanes have a pretty rich quarterback history. There’s a reason why this was the original ‘QB U.’


Besides Heisman Trophy winners Vinny Testaverde and Gino Torretta, there were All-Americans Fran Curci, George Mira Sr., Steve Walsh and Ken Dorsey. Jim Kelly is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Bernie Kosar is a two-time Pro Bowler and Craig Erickson is one of five quarterbacks to lead UM to a national championship.


But none of them ever lit up the scoreboard the way freshman Jarren Williams did Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium.


Williams, starting just his seventh game, tossed six touchdown passes in a game that equaled the most impressive Hurricanes offensive explosion ever in an ACC game. Miami (6-4, 4-3 ACC) scored touchdowns on its first four drives and Louisville never recovered as the 52-27 victory not only assures Miami of a bowl, but now has the Hurricanes’ postseason prospects rising.


“It’s starting to look like the way we want it to look,” coach Manny Diaz said.


And Williams is looking like the quarterback Diaz wanted him to look like when Diaz put his faith in the second-year freshman back in August. Williams not only broke the school record of five TD passes held by Kosar, Walsh, Dorsey, Brock Berlin, Kyle Wright and Stephen Morris; but he equaled an ACC record held by such legends as Clemson's Deshaun Watson and Louisville's Lamar Jackson among others.


The six scoring slings came in a span of 30 minutes with Dee Wiggins and Mike Harley catching two each and DeeJay Dallas and Will Mallory hauling in the others. Two of those were on one-play drives as Williams finished 15 of 22 for 253 yards.


“It’s really why you come here,” said Williams, who was as subdued talking about his performance as he is when he is stringing together those scoring passes.


“You come to ‘The U’ to set records. You come to this place to do something that no one else has done. I expected to do something different, to break records, that’s the goal.”


Lofty expectations that were about as realistic two weeks ago as Miami climbing back into the ACC Coastal Division race. That was when coaches decided to stick with N’Kosi Perry as the starting quarterback at Pittsburgh, a decision that upset Williams enough for him to skip at least a portion of the Wednesday practice that week. A team meeting was called, leaders spoke, things were said, and Miami moved on. … with Perry.


But late in that game, with the offense sputtering, Diaz went back to Williams, who bailed out his team with perhaps the most important drive of the season.


Williams hit K.J. Osborn with just under a minute remaining and Miami held on to upset Pitt. With Williams regaining his starting spot, UM then dominated Florida State and Louisville to remind Diaz of just why he made the decision to chose Williams over Perry and transfer Tate Martell in the first place.


“It’s very easy to look back and say that series turned around our season,” Diaz said. “Jarren is understanding what it means to be a week-in and week-out big-time quarterback at the University of Miami and how that goes in terms of the preparation, the little things and the details. The way he has prepared since that day has been at a different level.”


Including that final drive at Pitt that helped Miami pull out a 16-12 win, Williams has completed 60 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns and no interceptions. He has displayed leadership at the position that this program his not seen in recent years.


“He’s just taken that leader role,” Harley said. “That Pitt game he came in and did what he had to do. The Florida State game he carried us.


“His confidence is sky-high. He’s at the top of his game right now.”


Williams’ sixth scoring pass — 28 yards to Harley — came midway through the third quarter and pushed the Hurricanes’ lead to 49-21. Miami was then able to celebrate on the sidelines for most of the fourth quarter, a rare happening for a team that still is just 8-13 vs. Power Five schools since starting 10-0 in 2017.


Still, this is a long way from three weeks ago when Miami was walking out of Hard Rock Stadium after an overtime loss to league doormat Georgia Tech and Diaz was calling this a rebuild.


Now, Diaz might want to think about opening his own construction company.


“We felt like a performance like this was coming,” Diaz said. “I knew that the foundation we were building the program on it wasn’t a hope or a whim, these were values that would win given persistence.”


Persistence, or a resurgent quarterback.


tom_dangelo@pbpost.com


@tomdangelo44