Miami vs. Wake Forest

That big sigh of relief?  That was Miami hearing from the NCAA the week of their game with Wake Forest, that the Hurricanes would not face any further sanctions from the scandal that has clouded the program for the past 3 seasons.  Miami came in 6-0 and ranked #7 in the nation, and were hosting the 4-3 Wake Forest Demon Deacons (who had lost to Boston College, UL-Monroe, and Clemson prior to the UM contest).  In fact, Wake wasn’t able to build on its 4 wins and finished 2013 with a 4-8 record.

To start the game, Wake Forest demolished Miami’s Defense converting FOUR 3rd Downs on a 16-play, 8:34 minute drive to open the ballgame and took a 7-0 lead.  Miami quickly went 3 AND OUT and Wake missed a FG at the end of a 9-play drive and missed an opportunity to take a 10-0 lead.

The Canes had just 1 possession in the 1st quarter and decided to make their 1st possession in the 2nd quarter count and played possession football with 7 of the first 8 plays coming in as rushes.  When the Canes decided to go with Stephen Morris through the air on 3 consecutive plays Wake finally was able to stop Miami and the Canes had to settle for a FG, 7-3 Wake.

Wake’s Tanner Price hit Tyree Harris for a 56-yard reception to get into scoring position and a gutsy 4th & 1 from the 9-yard line turned into a TD for the Demon Deacons pushing the lead to 14-3.  To end the half, Wake & Miami traded possessions before Stephen Morris was able to connect two deep passes in a row (20 yards to Clive Walford) that scored a Herb Waters 35-yard TD with a 1:10 to go left in the 1st half.

Miami missed a FG to open the 3rd quarter after a 10-play 70-yard opening drive to the 2nd half.  The Canes got a 3 AND OUT and quickly got the ball back and failed to score AGAIN, this time failing to convert a 4th & 1 from the 9-yard line instead of going for a FG.  Miami’s defense, came up huge in time after time but for several possessions neither team capitalized until Miami with 5:36 remaining in the 4th quarter.  The Canes rode a Duke Johnson wave into the endzone on an 8-play 51-yard TD Drive that saw Duke carry the ball on 6 of Miami’s 8 plays (no Morris pass attempts).  17-14 Miami.

Wake Forest, came right back and scored in just 94 seconds to reclaim the lead (21-17 Wake).  WF got a huge 4th & 5 conversion on a pass over the middle to extend the drive, and then Tanner Price hit his RB on a wheel route who broke a tackle and went all the way into the endzone for a 44-yard TD.

Miami though, had plenty of time (4:02) to win the game.  3 straight rushes to Duke Johnson for 25 yards, a pass interference penalty on Wake Froest.  Dallas Crawford and Duke Johnson on the ground for another 1st down. Then all Duke Johnson into the endzone for Miami with 0:53 remaining to take a 24-21 lead.  Miami sealed the game on an INT off the hands of a Wake receiver.  What an ending.

What Do We Take Away?

To start the game, Miami couldn’t get off the field and it wasn’t until the Canes decided to control the ball themselves did they give their defense enough time to regroup.  Wake Forest was not a good football team, but UM was likely looking ahead to playing Florida State the next week.

We did, however, learn some trends….. at this point in the season for Miami when things got tight, Miami went to the ground and bullied their way into the endzone with the running game.  Mostly with Duke Johnson.  At clutch time it appears that Al Golden trusts his running game more than the aerial attack with Stephen Morris at this point in the season.

Miami did clean up the turnover issues. but were once again beaten in time of possession.  The Canes racked up 391 yards of offense, but allowed 361 to Wake including 8 of 16 on 3rd down (2 of 2 on 4th Down).  This was an alarming win for Miami but with a big game the following week (FSU) distractions and lack of focus on the current opponent things like this can happen.  Miami won the game and in the end that is all that matters.

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@UofLSheriff50. Louisville native, University of Louisville Business School Grad c/o 2004. Co-Founder of TheCrunchZone.com

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