Similar to an ESPN’s Bottom Ten or Worst Of The Week-type segment, we break down the five biggest plays in the Miami’s loss at Kansas State this past weekend. The Hurricanes fell 52-13 against the Wildcats and after breaking down the film, these were the five plays that really changed the course of the game in UM’s first loss of the season.
There might have been some bigger plays over the course of the game, but the focus of allCanesBlog.com here was on early plays that allowed this one to get out of reach. The type of plays that had the Canes take care of business, might’ve kept this thing for spiraling out of control:
No. 5 – Brandon McGee hauls in textbook interception - Sure this play came in the too-little-too-late category, down 31-6 midway through the third quarter, but it truly was the defensive play of McGee’s career, thus far, and deserves some credit.
Facing a 2nd-and-8 from the KSU thirty-two, Collin Klein aired one out and McGee, playing it perfectly, timed his jump and came down with a brilliant interception.
In a closer game, it would’ve had fans coming out of their seats, but completely demoralized at this point, hard for the U Family to get overly-excited with a play like this.
Still, for McGee and the other corners, this was a big and necessary play that they hopefully build on.
No. 4 – Clive Walford hauls in 56-yard pass, gets run down – Facing a 3rd-and-1 from the UM thirty-four, Stephen Morris hit Walford for a fifty-six yard pick-up. Walford rumbled down-field, but was eventually caught on the KSU ten.
Facing a 1st-and-Goal, Duke Johnson rushed ror one, on second Morris was sacked and a 3rd-and-Goal from the KSU fifteen, Morris’ pass was deflected, forcing the Canes to settle for a Jake Wieclaw field goal.
Miami was down 14-0 at this point and a Walford score would’ve narrowed the gap to 14-7. A field goal was points on the board, but a touchdown could’ve given the Canes defense a spark.
In a game that was primed to be a shootout on Miami’s lack of defense, leaving points on the field early was a crushing blow. Walford did all he could, but you wish he had an extra gear – or at least a better angle.
No. 3 – Duke Johnson looks very un-Duke in a few missed opportunities – After such a brilliant opening at Boston College, Duke Johnson looked all the part of a newbie in game two, with more misses than makes.
Down 17-3 early in the second quarter, Miami faced a 1st-and-10 from their own twenty. Stephen Morris dropped back and as soon as Johnson broke the line of scrimmage and past the front seven, Morris’ pass went off Johnson’s fingertips.
Had Johnson caught the pass, in full stride, hard to believe that he wouldn’t have booked eighty yards, with the Wildcats playing catch up, but on the stats sheet nothing more than an ‘incomplete pass’.
Johnson lost two on a second down run and facing a 3rd-and-12, Brandon Linder was hit with a personal foul. On 3rd-and-21 Morris was sacked for a loss and on 4th-and-25, Miami was forced to punt. Kansas State took over on the UM thirty-eight and went thirty-eight yards in five plays, pushing ahead 24-3 instead of potentially trailing, 17-10.
No. 2 – Allen Hurns goes down with a concussion on Miami’s first possession - With more depth and experience, the Canes wouldn’t over-stress the loss of a junior receiver, but after eight receptions for 81 yards in game one at Boston College, Hurns was asserting himself as Stephen Morris’ go-to guy.
Hurns caught two passes on the opening drive, amassed thirty-two yards, went down hard and never came back into the game. Tight end Clive Walford had three receptions for sixty-one yards and Rashawn Scott led all wideouts with thirty-nine yards on four grabs. Still, no one had that Hurns-like effect and his loss changed the course of the passing game, as did Miami playing from behind all game.
No. 1 – Eduardo Clements fumbles after picking up first down on 3rd-and-1 – The game was far from out of reach at this point. Miami trailed 7-0 and was moving the ball on it’s opening possession. Stephen Morris found Phillip Dorsett for a quick loss, but two strikes to Allen Hurns netted thirty-two yards and the Canes were moving the ball.
Facing a 3rd-and-1 from the KSU forty-one, Clements took the handoff, barreled a few yards for the first down, was popped and coughed up the ball. Near midfield, Kansas State recovered and five plays later extended the lead to 14-0.
Miami had gone forty-two yards in eight plays and tying the ball game 7-7, or at least pulling to 7-3, could’ve given the Canes some momentum. Furthermore, the position battle wouldn’t have been lost early, with the Wildcats starting the second possession just shy of midfield.