Written by Darrell Wilkinson
University of Virginia fans stormed the field in celebration as they watched their Cavaliers upset the 16th-ranked Miami Hurricanes 16 to 13 in a game filled with mistakes from the Hurricanes that cost them the game.
With 3:04 left in the fourth quarter Miami had cut Virginia’s lead to three after a Rosier 11 touchdown run to make the game 16 to 13. Miami then lined up for an onside kick after a roughing the kicker penalty of UVA that would help the field position game. Then it all went wrong.
The onside kick flipped awkwardly into the air caught by Virginia and returned to the UM27. Somehow the ‘Canes forced a third and three from the 20 which was stuffed by Jaquan Johnson but a late unnecessary roughness penalty on defensive tackle Tito Odenigbo gave gifted UVA the first down. Three downs later Miami still found a way to stop Virginia short of the goal line and forced Virginia into a field goal that would still give Miami a chance with under a minute to go to score, but then the yellow marker made its presence felt once again with a roughing the kicker penalty on Trajan Bandy that effectively ended the game.
This is an extremely disappointing loss for the Hurricanes coming off the highs of their comeback victory of FSU and many of the mistakes that have plagued them throughout the season combined to stall them out against a Virginia team that didn’t play particularly well themselves. Both teams had three turnovers each and Virginia had 109 less total offensive yards than Miami’s 339 but special teams and field position negated those extra yards.
Redshirt freshman quarterback N’Kosi Perry was benched by head coach Mark Richt after four offensive series that resulted in a turnover on downs, one punt and two interceptions that left Richt with no choice in his mind but to turn to Malik Rosier. Rosier has struggled throughout the season and didn’t fare much better going 12 of 23 for 170 yards and one interception. The offense still had no spark, Rosier didn’t bring anything extra to the offense that Perry couldn’t of tried to work through for at least a few more series.
The ‘Canes defense kept the team in the game forcing three big turnovers and holding the Cavs to 231 total yards through the night but the offense simply didn’t show up. The Hurricanes offensive line looked like they couldn’t protect either quarterback and didn’t open up many holes for the running backs to burst through. When they did it was big time, like Travis Homer’s 70 yard run that put Miami in great position to score and they still couldn’t capitalize on the big plays. Richt went away from the run with Homer finishing with eight carries for 95 yards and DeeJay Dallas with 10 carries for 24. In a one score game abandoning the run left the team one dimensional and dependant on an inconsistent passer in Rosier.
Give credit to Virginia they played great special teams, stayed contained on defense and found a way to move the ball when it counted on offense despite the turnovers to put the game away, but this is a disappointing loss for Miami. Discipline, a reliable quarterback, a porous offensive line and Richt’s decision snowballed into a loss that effectively ends any chance of the 2018 Hurricanes reaching the college football playoffs, even if those odds were already slim to begin with.
Miami gets a much needed off week to sort out their issues before traveling to a tough environment and play a gritty Boston College team.
Darrell Wilkinson TheSkyBoat.com