College Football: Miami 49, Duke 31
By Bret Strelow
DURHAM ó First-year Duke coach David Cutcliffe declared first that he felt frustrated. He retracted that statement and used stronger words to convey his emotional state.
Mad. Really mad. Angry.
Backup quarterback Jacory Harris threw four touchdown passes and rushed for one score as Miami dealt the Blue Devils a 49-31 loss at Wallace Wade Stadium on Saturday. The Hurricanes erased a third-quarter deficit of 10 points by posting five consecutive TDs against Duke, which has regressed since starting the season with a string of impressive wins.
“I’m not going to baby them,” Cutcliffe said. “I understand where we’re coming from, but I don’t plan on being real patient.”
The Hurricanes responded to beating Duke last season by dropping eight of their next nine league games. Miami (4-3, 1-2 ACC) ended a six-game ACC skid Saturday and sent the Blue Devils (3-3, 1-2) to their second consecutive loss.
A 27-0 setback at Georgia Tech on Oct. 4 marked the third straight game in which Duke struggled to gain yards on the ground, but it possessed the ball for more than 20 minutes in the first half against Miami and finished with 142 rushing yards. Dropped passes plagued quarterback Thaddeus Lewis, who connected with Clifford Harris and Raphael Chestnut for scores.
“We played much more physical on both lines of scrimmage at times than we have been,” Cutcliffe said. “We deteriorated on the perimeter. Some plays we’ve been making on offense and some plays we’ve been making on defense we didn’t make.”
Jacory Harris took over at quarterback for Miami after Adrian Aye-Darko intercepted a pass from starter Robert Marve early in the second quarter.
Aye-Darko picked off a Harris pass on the first play of the third quarter to set up a touchdown that pushed Duke ahead 24-14, and Harris rushed for a score 73 seconds later.
That touchdown started a 24-minute run in which Miami outscored the Blue Devils by a 35-0 margin. Harris threw TD passes to Aldarius Johnson, Travis Benjamin and Laron Boyd during the dominant stretch.
“It came in abundance,” Miami coach Randy Shannon said. “It was a great thing to see us score the way we did. It was kind of a hurry-hurry situation, and we did a great job of responding. It was like a two-minute drill but not a two-minute drill. Just line up and snap the football.”
A 76-yard punt by Miami’s Matt Bosher played a crucial role in the comeback.
The Hurricanes trailed 24-21 when they kicked from their own 11 midway through the third quarter. Duke’s Donovan Varner signaled for a fair catch near midfield, but the ball soared over his head and rolled to the Blue Devils’ 13.
Varner retrieved the ball and ran with it, leading the officials to call a delay-of-game penalty.
Miami took over at its 41 after forcing a three-and-out and went ahead for good on Johnson’s 6-yard touchdown reception with 2:52 remaining in the third quarter.
“When somebody gets ahead, you have to go back and respond,” Lewis said. “When somebody throws a blow at you, you have to throw one back. We didn’t do that.”