After breaking down film of Miami’s 41-32 win at Boston College this past weekend, allCanesBlog.com has compiled a list of the top five game-changing plays that helped shift momentum and gave the Canes a much-needed first win of the season:
The Canes forced a fumble and needed to capitalize with a score. Morris had a big hook-up with Rashawn Scott for fourteen yards but a few plays later the Canes were faced with a huge 3rd-and-8 from the BC eighteen.
Lewis lined up right, caught the Morris pass, made a few moves, found the end zone and made the dive. The Canes led 41-23, which proved to be necessary as the Eagles got a late score, pulling within eleven with just under seven to play.
The assist goes to linebacker Eddie Johnson on this play for causing the fumble. Johnson was going for strips on BC ball carriers early in the game but had come up empty. In this case the Eagles were driving and a big pass play almost had them in the red zone, going forty-seven yards on three plays.
A touchdown would’ve made it 34-30, still in Miami’s favor – but the strip and Lewis touchdown gave the Canes the 41-23 advantage. Huge play defensive followed by the exclamation point offensively.
No. 4 – Duke Johnson breaks off 54-yard touchdown in second quarter – Miami tied things up 14-14 to end the first, but Boston College responded with a field goal and took a 17-14 lead on the first possession of the second quarter.
The Canes needed to respond and did. After starting the drive on the twenty-eight, Miami picked up thirteen on a few plays and was aided by a holding call. With a 1st-and-10 from the UM forty-six, Johnson made himself a household name.
After bouncing right an almost losing his balance, Johnson broke few tackles, turned on the speed, broke two more and then kicked on the afterburners all the way to the end zone. Miami took a 21-17 lead and the Canes never trailed again.
BC pulled to within one late in the third, but again Johnson stepped up an broke off a 56-yard run for score, give UM a 31-23 lead and keeping momentum on the Canes’ side of the ball.
No. 3 – Miami’s defense comes up big with 4th-and-1 stop in final minutes – Boston College took possession with 4:49 remaining and drove eighty-one yards on eleven plays. Facing a 4th-and-Goal from the Miami one, UM got the stuff and kept BC out of the end zone.
The turnover on downs allowed UM to essentially run out the clock, taking a safety with :04 remaining, kicking off and ending the game.
The Eagles at one point faced a 1st-and-Goal from the five and after two straight incomplete passes, picked up four on fourth down. Taking a page out of the Canes’ book with the hurry-up, quarterback Chase Rettig attempted to sneak in, but was denied.
A quick score and two-point conversion would’ve made the game 41-38 and BC would’ve attempted an onside kick wit 2:20 remaining and plenty of time to set up for the tie or win. The fourth down stop was huge – for the game, but also as a confidence-builder for a defense that got chewed up early.
No. 2 – Duke Johnson buries his head and picks up 4th-and-1 to keep drive alive – Down 14-0, Miami started it’s second possession from it’s own seventeen and wound up driving eighty-three yards over thirteen plays, punctuated by a one-yard Eduardo Clements touchdown on 3rd-and-1, but no bigger play that Johnson’s pick-up on fourth down.
After Stephen Morris tried to plunge ahead on 3rd-and-1 he came up short and Miami faced a 4th-and-1 from the BC twenty-one. Morris rolled right, optioned to Johnson and the true freshman buried his head, went toe-to-toe with a few Eagles, had his helmet pulled off (by his facemask), would up with a bloody nose, but won the battle as the Canes had a fresh set of downs.
Miami had been smacked up early and this was the first true physical play of the game and the small victory helped UM take back some important momentum in a game that could’ve quickly spiraled out of control.
No. 1 – Denzel Perryman picks off Chase Rettig; takes it to the house – Down 14-7 on the final play of the first quarter, Perryman baited Rettig into an interception that was returned for a 41-yard touchdown.
Boston College had been torching Miami on the slant underneath and Rettig went back to the well one time too many.
Perryman made a move forward and as soon as Rettig locked on to a receiver, the Canes linebacker dropped back into coverage and snatched the ball out of the sky, ran it back and tied the game 14-14 when the clock his zero, essentially ending the quarter 0-0 again and giving UM some momentum and a much-needed fresh start.
Plays like this have always been a staple of the Miami defense. Whether it was Bernard ‘Tiger’ Clark taking one back against Oklahoma in the 1988 Orange Bowl or Ed Reed working his magic during the 2001 title run, there’s something special about the UM defense finding the end zone.
It gets the fans riled up and always seems to give the offense a spark. Bar-none the play of the game.