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Fast-learning Marve improves in second start

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Even after an unexpected break Saturday and some early success, Miami freshman quarterback Robert Marve was determined to come back for more.

Marve rebounded after missing a couple of series midway through the second quarter to efficiently direct the Miami offense in a convincing 41-23 victory over Texas A&M.

It wasn't always easy. Marve felt the crush of Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller, who knocked him out of the game after a well-timed blitz.

"It was one of those plays where you're wide open and have your chest exposed," Marve said. "They had a great rush all day. They just got under my pads and knocked me down. It was kind of hard getting back off of it."

After collecting his senses along the sidelines, Marve wanted coaches to know he was ready. After several plays out he rifled a 26-yard TD pass to Thearon Collier -- his first career touchdown pass -- to extend Miami's halftime lead to 24-10.

If anybody needed any reminders of Marve's toughness, they could be seen looking at his playing apparel. He still wears a plastic glove on his left hand after missing last season after severe injuries to his left hand -- a broken wrist, deep cuts and a dislocated ring finger -- sustained in an automobile accident.

So something like a blitzing linebacker definitely wouldn't keep him down, he said.

"I knew I was coming back," Marve said. "I just had my wind knocked out. It wasn't any big thing. I knew I would be back."

Marve looked much more relaxed and composed in his second career start. The Hurricanes' big-play was visible with eight "explosive plays" -- runs of 18 yards or more and passes of 20 yards or more -- including five in the first half. Their single-game high last season for a game was five explosive plays.

Included in the surge Saturday were early touchdown runs of 19 and 51 yards by Graig Cooper on Miami's second and third running plays that enabled Miami to take early control of the game. Those big plays set the tone for Miami's 398-yard offensive production.

"We got those touchdowns early and it really gave us confidence," Marve said. "That really boosted us early and we went from there."

It would have been understandable if his confidence had been dragging after the Hurricanes' disappointing 26-3 loss at Florida on Sept. 6. Marve made his first career start, but the Hurricanes produced only 140 yards and less than three yards a snap in a feeble performance against a ferocious Gator defense.

"Anybody playing against a top-five team at their place on national television, of course, everybody will be a little tighter," Marve said. "We just tried to relax a little bit today and go from there."

Even as Marve said his demeanor didn't change from his first start, some elements came easier for him. The result was his first career victory and something for the Hurricanes to build on as Atlantic Coast Conference play approaches.

"I saw the safeties out there better and I think my eyes were open a little more," Marve said. "I'm very satisfied with the win. It's something good to build on."