Shalacking in Chi-Town
The University of Miami Hurricanes took their 4-1 record and newly-generated hype to Chicago this weekend only to return with their tails between their legs. They received a thorough lashing from one-time rival Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish dominated the Canes in every facet of the game and the final score of 41-3 proved it. This marks the third consecutive loss to Notre Dame for Miami. In those three meetings (1990, 2010, 2012), Notre Dame has outscored Miami 103-40.
The Hurricanes looked out of sync right from kickoff. On their first offensive possession, wide receiver Philip Dorsett dropped two potential touchdowns. On the ensuing first crack on defense, safety AJ Highsmith dropped an easy interception. Those two blunders set the tone for the entire game. It was as if the Canes’ fate was sealed right there in the first moments of the game. After that, Miami couldn’t get anything going. They also were not able to control their emotions as they racked up 76 penalty yards on 9 flags.
The offense was not impressive. Quarterback Stephen Morris was the lone ranger who came ready to play Saturday. His receivers did not help his cause as they apparently forget their hands back in Miami. Morris was delivering strikes but to no avail. Dorsett’s two drops on the initial drive stick out the most. Had he hauled in one of them, it would’ve been a much different game. Notre Dame’s front seven, as expected, neutralized Miami’s rushing attack. Mike James was held to 28 yards on just 6 carries and Duke Johnson was held to 22 on 8 carries. Only 6 carries for the senior leader James? The same James that was playing for the memory of his mother Elgusta James. With just 6 touches, it was impossible for the Miami offense to harness and feed off of James’ emotions. Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch did not seem very intent on sticking with the run game and as a result, the Hurricane defense struggled.
Going in to Saturday’s game it was imperative that Miami establish some kind of offensive balance. That was not the case. The lack of rushing hurt Miami in the time of possession category. Usually this is a meaningless stat, but on Saturday it meant a great deal in regards to the defense. Miami’s defense, not very good to begin with, was on the field for 39 minutes on Saturday. A tired defense gets exposed. Miami totes a shoddy defense at best and when tired, they didn’t just get exposed; they got gashed. This 2012 defense is on pace to give up the most yards in school history. It comes as no surprise; they cannot manage to stop anyone. The defensive line is as bad as it’s ever been. They get no push off the line. They can’t stop the run, nor can they pressure the passer. The line is basically rendered useless game after game. The Canes defense gave up a combined 587 yards, 376 of them came on the ground.
All in all, this was an embarrassing showing by the Hurricanes. They were clearly unprepared. This was the moment for the program to reestablish themselves once again in the national spotlight. Instead, they lay an egg in front of the nation during primetime on NBC. Clearly the moment was too big for Al Golden’s young team. All Miami can do now is pick up the pieces and get ready for North Carolina. Carolina is coming off a big conference win against Virginia Tech. The Tar Heels piled up 339 yards on the ground. Miami’s hands will definitely be full trying to slow down the Carolina rushing attack. The Hurricanes need to put this most recent lost past them and really focus on getting their deficiencies fixed as they put their undefeated ACC record (3-0) on the line this Saturday at home. Kickoff is set for 2:30 from Sun Life Stadium in Miami.