Black PR Wire Newsroom
(BLACK PR WIRE) – These last-second drives to victory are becoming a little bit too common, and unnerving.
For the second week in a row, the Miami Hurricanes scored a touchdown with just seconds left on the clock to win a seesaw battle over the North Carolina State Wolfpack, 44-37 before 38,510 fans at Sun Life Stadium.
First, Miami jumped out to a big lead with four quick scores in the opening quarter, but then couldn’t add to the scoreboard for almost the entire next two quarters. All the while, NC State stayed in the game by attacking a porous Miami defense in every way possible.
NC State came out on top in most every statistical category - total yards, first downs, time of possession, conversions, all except the three most important ones: the final score, heart and physical conditioning.
With the score tied at 37 apiece and with only 48 seconds left in the game, Miami got the ball back on their own 39 yard line. Miami Coach Al Golden told his Offensive Coordinator Jedd Fisch that they needed to get to the 32 yard line for a game winning field goal. Miami’s Junior QB Stephen Morris had a different idea.
After the first two plays went for no gain, Miami was on their own 38 yard line with a third down and 11 yards to go. And that is when the “Miracle in the Gardens” occurred. Morris dropped straight back and was supposed to pass to Allen Hurns, who was wide open about 25 yards down the field near the Wolfpack 40 yard line. But Morris remembered last week’s OT game and didn’t feel like making a return visit.
So Morris juked an NC State linebacker to buy some more time and rolling to his right, he saw that WR Philip Dorsett had broken off his route and scrambled with him to the right side. Dorsett was able to get behind the Wolfpack defenders, so Morris launched a beautiful 62 yard pass to Dorsett, who caught the ball on the NC State’s 7 yard line and lunged forward for the game winning touchdown.
You couldn’t fault Miami fans believing in miracles when so many game circumstances lined up perfectly to help make this play work.
First, the score. With Miami needing only a field goal to win, NC State decided not to go into to a full blown prevent defense and this allowed Dorsett the chance to get open behind NC State’s secondary.
Second, the conditioning. Two plays before the game winning toss, on first down, Morris threw a 40 yard go route down the sideline for Dorsett. The pass was incomplete but the NC State defenders still had to cover it, just like the five consecutive passes thrown during Miami’s previous offensive series. It was apparent that the NC State defense was tired and had little left to defend a long vertical passing attack. On more than two occasions in the fourth quarter, NC State defenders were seen leaving the field overcome with the rapid pace of play and the South Florida heat.
Third, the distance. Morris was back near his own 30 yard line when he threw the bomb after rolling out. Dorsett said after the game that the defense acted as if they didn’t think Morris could throw that far and that helped him get behind the defensive secondary when Morris scrambled. Dorsett continued to explain the last pass. “On that last play the ball wasn’t even supposed to go to me, it was designed to go to Allen (Hurns). I just ran my route and tried to clear out the safeties for him, then I saw Stephen scramble so I went with him, then I saw him throw the ball and I was like ‘Oh snap, I have got to catch this.’ I saw the corner couldn’t get to us so I tried my best to get into the end zone. …. Stephen threw an amazing pass and threw it far. It was probably one of the greatest plays of my life.”
Morris, with all the fireworks and scoring, had a record day of passing, completing 26 of 49 for a total of 566 yards, with five touchdowns and one interception. The total passing mark set new Miami and ACC single game records.
Miami WRs Dorsett and Rashawn Scott also had career bests in receiving yards, hauling in 191 and 180 yards, respectively.
But on this day it wasn’t about individual records or performances. This team has developed a unity and a resiliency unseen in years before. After the last two weeks, it is obvious what is happening in Coral Gables. Coach Golden has forged a mentally tough football team that refuses to quit.
“We have a no excuses mentality,” Golden said after the game. “We’re not going to listen to anyone say we’re too young to do this. We’re not dominant in any one phase yet, it’s just survive and advance.”
Golden is happy with how far this young team has come in such a short time.
“I’m real proud of them. We’re not a perfect team. We’re not. That’s a veteran team over there with eight starters on one side, seven on the other coming back. I think we have nine first-time starters on offense. We’re not going to be a perfect team. If we can just get past that, and keep competing, and scratching and clawing and staying together, we’ll have a chance to continue to win.”
Miami (4-1, 3-0 ACC) will travel next to Chicago to play the ninth-ranked Fighting Irish of Notre Dame (4-0) at Soldier Field in a non-conference, nationally televised game.
NOTE TO MEDIA: High resolution images of the photos found below are available upon request.