As kickoff approached, though, the overcast skies cleared, giving way to perfect conditions for some afternoon football.
For the first time since November, Hurricanes football was back at Sun Life Stadium, as the team wrapped up its spring schedule with the annual Orange-White game in front of a crowd of Canes-crazy fans.
This type of intra-squad scrimmage, an annual tradition for major college programs, is used to evaluate players in a live game setting. It also gives fans what is likely a first look at this year’s team, which is coming off of a 7-5 season. On Saturday, many Hurricanes appeared to already be in midseason form.
The Orange team, which was led by the quarterback Stephen Morris, running back Duke Johnson and the first-team offense, beat the White team, 35-20.
From start to finish, it was a day to celebrate the program and the season to come, with a Select-A-Seat event for prospective season ticket members preceding the game.
Early in the first quarter, the spotlight shifted to a player making a much-anticipated return. In one of the great moments of the day, Morris found Malcolm Lewis, the rising sophomore receiver who suffered a cringe-inducing, season-ending ankle injury last year at Georgia Tech, for a 75-yard touchdown pass, immediately setting his all of his teammates off on a mad dash to the end zone.
As fans buzzed about the Hurricanes’ future, they got a little taste of the program’s championship past. Sure, current stars like Johnson impressed – he finished with 120 yards on 10 carries – making tacklers miss seemingly at will. But a few former greats got in on the action, as well.
Former Miami center Brett Romberg snapped the ball to Gino Torretta, the 1992 Heisman Trophy winner, who floated a perfect pass down the left sideline to Andre Johnson for a 45-yard touchdown; a cool moment from a trio of Hurricane legends.
Miami will return to Sun Life Stadium for its 2013 season home schedule, opening against Florida Atlantic on August 30. For more game and ticket information, click here.