Miami’s win stacks up with all the great finishes

by Gary Shelton on November 1, 2015 · 0 comments

in general

Sunday, 1:05 a.m.

It may have been the most dramatic play in college football history.

It was wackier than Run, Lindsay, Run. It was crazier than Hail Flutie.Nuttier than the River City Relay. Except for the part about the band, it was sillier than The Play.

This was the Miami Miracle. Hail Corn. And they still may be lateraling the ball.

The UM's wild victory over Duke was incredible Saturday night. If you didn't see the replay yet, do yourself a favor. Watch it. Tape it. Tell your buddies.

It was insane. Eight laterals. Forty-six seconds in duration. Ninety-one yards at the end. Nine minutes of reviews. A clip that was alluded to but forgiven, even though

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replay isn't supposed to address those, possibly because a clip would have lost all of this to history. An untimed play (one after the clock expired) was announced, but that, too, was forgotten.

And then Miami, playing under interim coach Larry Scott, had won. Despite 23 penalties for 194 yards. Despite blowing a 12 point lead in the last three minutes. Despite last week's 58-0 loss.

Also, there is this: Wow.

How did Miami win this? How did Miami almost lose this? It wound up 30-27, somehow. And if only for a minute, Miami felt like Miami again.

The Hurricanes led 24-12 late in the fourth period, but their penalties almost did them in. UM had 23 penalties for 194 yards, and Duke came back to go ahead 27-24 with six seconds to play.

Given the way Miami's season has gone, perhaps you could have predicted what followed.

Miami's return was one of those desperation plays that criss-crossed the field, the laterals taking the Canes back to the four. But UM finally threw a backward lateral across the field, and Corn Elder finally broke free to the end zone. The official ESPNplay by-play: (0:00 — 4th) Ross Martin kickoff for 39 yards, Dallas Crawford return for a loss of 5 yards, Corn Elder return for 1 yard, Jaquan Johnson return for a loss of 7 yards, Mark Walton return for 7 yards, Jaquan Johnson return for a loss of 4 yards, Tyre Brady return for a loss of 8 yards, Corn Elder return for a loss of 7 yards, Dallas Crawford return for 6 yards, Corn Elder return for 91 yards for a TD.

That run came at the end of a week where coach Al Golden was fired, where Scott was hired, where defensive back Artie Burns' mother died, when Michael Wyche was arrested for domestic violence and quarterback Brad Kaaya was ruled out of the game with a concussion.

"We've been through a lot this week, but this says a lot about this team," Elder said in his postgame interview. "We just kept fighting, kept fighting. We wanted to do this for Artie's [Burns'] mom, Coach Golden and the City of Miami."

For the Hurricanes, freshman Malik Rosier threw for 272 yards in his first start.

Florida 27, Georgia 3: The University of Florida, picked near the bottom of their division before the season came close to wrapping up the SEC East title Saturday.

The Gators won a surprisingly easy victory over the University of Georgia in their annual game played in Jacksonville.

The Bulldogs, picked to win the SEC East when the season started, sputtered all year behind new quarterback Faton Bauta. Bauta hit only 15 of 33 passes and threw four interceptions.

Treon Harris hit only eight of 19 passes for 155 yards, but Kelvin Taylor rushed for 121 yards and Jordan Scarlett added 96. Georgia's Sony Michel could rush for only 45 yards for the Bulldogs. It wasn't the smoothest game for the Gators' offense, but it was Harris' second victory in the series.

Freshman wideout Antonio Callaway caught three passes for 110 yards, including a 66-yard touchdown.

“It was painful at times on offense,” said coach Jim McElwain, “but our defense played a heck a ballgame and it was fun to watch.”

The Gators can wrap up the division with a victory over Vanderbilt – the last place team in the East – Saturday.

FSU 45, Syracuse 21: Florida State's was without their most talked-about player Saturday afternoon.

 Sean Maguire, the quarterback who was edged out for the job in the fall by Everett Golson, who missed the game with a concussion. Maguire played the best game the Seminoles have seen from a quarterback, this year, throwing for 348 yards and three touchdowns as he hit 23 of 35 passes. Travis Rudolph caught five passes for 191 yards and all three scores.

So you ask: Would Jimbo Fisher actually change quarterbacks before his biggest game of the year. Remember: It was Maguire who threw for 300 plus last year as FSU beat the Tigers.

"I'm always re-evaluating things," Fisher said. "We have two good quarterbacks. The best player will play.

"When (Maguire's) number was called, he stepped up.  I couldn't be any happier for any one guy."

FSU travels to Clemson next week for its biggest game of the season.

Navy 29, USF 17: In the end, USF's defense wasn't able to solve the shell game that is the Navy offense.

"Imagine being the Bulls trying to deal with the triple option of the Midshipmen Sunday. There is quarterback Keenan Reynolds, who rushed for 117 yards. But what if Reynolds hands it to fullback Chris Swain? Well, Swait ran for 131. But what if Reynolds pulls the ball out and pitches to Dishan Romine? Well, Romine ran for 114.

It was the first time in history that Navy has had three 100-yard runners. USF, meanwhile, with the celebrated duo of Quinton Flowers and Marlon Mack, gained only 62 yards on 24 a team.

For Navy, Reynolds scored twice to bring his rushing touchdown career total to 77, tying Montee Ball of Wisconsin of rate most in FBS history.

Still, the Bulls led 10-3 and 17-13 during the game. Even a little bit of defense might have been enough.

“We didn’t make the winning plays that we needed to make in that ballgame,” head coach Willie Taggart said. “We didn’t stay in our gaps, where we were supposed to be, and he (Reynolds) snuck it in there. (Navy) is a really good football team with a good offense.

“I think our offense just wasn’t clicking the entire game,” Taggart said. “We missed some reads that we had and we just didn’t execute like we have the past three weeks.”

Wide receiver Rodney Adams had two key kickoff ruturns. His opening return was a 97-yard touchdown, but his final one was a fumble after a 42-yard return at a time the Bulls trailed only by seven.

The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Bulls and lowered their record to 4-4 on the year. The Bulls travel to East Carolina Saturday.

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