The Miami Hurricanes gave everything they had in Tallahassee, Saturday night. Unfortunately the University of Miami came up a few plays short in the fourth quarter, losing to rival Florida State 29-24.
What went right:
Brad Kaaya had a great game. He came up a few plays short, as did the offense as a whole, but Kaaya was impressive. He finished the game completing 29/49 for 405 yards and three touchdowns.
The wide receiver group had a strong game. Most notably, junior Stacy Coley and senior Rashawn Scott made big time plays all night. Coley has had a strange, inconsistent, injury riddled career at UM, but he showed star potential Saturday night finishing with seven receptions for 139 yards and a touchdown. Rashawn Scott continued his productive season with six receptions for 108 yards and a touchdown.
Miami stayed competitive in the game all night and never panicked despite getting blown out in the first quarter. This team continues to stay together and not crumble when things go badly early on.
What went wrong:
Miami’s defense looked horrible in the first half yet again. It’s a theme that has plagued this program for coach Al Golden’s entire tenure at UM. Too many big running plays by the opponent meant for short yardage, resulting in huge touchdown runs. The Hurricanes need to play sideline-to-sideline and put themselves in a position to stop the run. The option play that had the ball pitched to FSU running back Dalvin Cook had multiple blown assignments by UM’s defense. It became a theme for the night. It was one of many failed executions by the defense against Cook.
Miami’s pass rush was nearly non-existent at times throughout the game. The opposing quarterback can’t have all day to step up and make a play.
The offensive line continues the inconsistency they’ve shown all season. It seems like every time UM gets momentum on offense, the offensive line gets beaten by the defense or commits a penalty. First and goal at the two-yard line in the first quarter resulted in a field goal after three downs of failed blocking by the line. Each play. the Hurricanes never looked like they had enough time to execute. The offensive line must step up and get nasty when inside the red zone in order to help out Kaaya. Miami kicks way too many field goals for the talent they possess on offense. This later lead to a theme of Kaaya getting crushed on certain pass plays throughout the night. Kaaya took a beating and played his heart out, but the offensive line needs to perform better for the offense to put up acceptable numbers.
Once again, Miami came up a few plays short against FSU. Late in the fourth quarter, Miami had a chance to win the game on defense with a stop, or score on offense with the last possession of the game; and they failed to execute either. This is consistent. The Hurricanes are competitive in games against their rivals, but falter in the fourth quarter when the lights shine the brightest. Amongst most UM fans, it seems like this team can’t get over the hump late in the game. It happened Saturday night, it happened against Cincinnati earlier this season, it happened versus FSU at home last year, and it’s happened during Golden’s entire career at UM.
Despite the team’s record standing at 3-2, the season isn’t over. Only one Atlantic Coast Conference game has been played for UM, meaning if Miami can win the rest of the games on their schedule, they can find themselves in contention for an ACC title game at the end of the season. Miami had a chance last season to compete for the title game, until they lost to FSU last season resulting in more loses to inferior opponents to finish a forgettable season.
If Golden is to right the ship, the Hurricanes must shake off this tough loss and show fight the rest of the season. Miami doesn’t have to win a national championship this season, but simply making it to the ACC title game and competing for a shot to win it might save Golden and his staff.
Brandon Carusillo is a senior majoring in public relations and minoring in psychology. He’s from Coral Springs and wants to work as an entertainment agent when he graduates. He loves music, sports, writing and photography.
words_brandon carusillo. photos_hurricanesports.com