These Miami Hurricane football seniors have experienced some worst times, so what is a 14 deficit to them?
The Hurricanes scored the final 30 points of the game, a 14-point deficit was gone – and only four wins remains within the Hurricanes’ reach for perfection.
Malik Rosier threw three touchdown passes and ran for another score, and No. 2 Miami pulled off its biggest comeback in five years by holding off Virginia 44-28 on Saturday to extend the nation’s longest winning streak to 15 games.
These seniors experienced planes flying above their home stadium with banners stating to fire their head coach, in addition, the worst loss in program history.
This game was for the seniors.
The Hurricanes twice climbed out of two-touchdown-deep holes, snapped a 15-game losing streak in games where it faced deficits of 14 points or more and finished off their first 7-0 home regular-season record since 1988.
These seniors help the program clinch their first Coastal Division championship punching the ticket to their first Atlantic Coast Conference Championship game.
Defensive end Chad Thomas, wide receiver Braxton Barrios, offensive lineman KC McDermott and defensive lineman Trent Harris all served as captains against the Cavaliers. All 11 seniors wore the captain’s “C” on their jerseys; a thank you from the program when things were not going well.
The senior class has been through a lot the last four years collectively. The accomplishments this season is well earned.
“It’s something that I’ve always thought of ever since I came here and ever since my brother came here. You look at the talent that this team has had year in and year out, and you ask the question, ‘why aren’t they winning?’ Senior Offensive Lineman KC McDermott stated. “Honestly it’s because we just haven’t had the right pieces in the right places, and that’s what Coach (Mark) Richt and his staff have done a great job of putting us in the right position to win with the way that we prepare for every single game and the way we attack every single week during practice. Things are just a little bit different, and that’s just the difference that keeps us going.”
The game started at noon, Virginia’s quarterback Kurt Benkert started on fire, he was 18 for 19 for 288 yards and four touchdowns in a little over a half. But he was a victim of the turnover chain that has taken the nation by storm.
Jaquan Johnson’s fourth interception of the season became a 30-yard return for a score. It was Miami’s second touchdown in seven seconds after Lawrence Cager hauled in a 9-yard scoring pass from Malik Rosier, a 28-14 Virginia lead was gone — and the Hurricanes left no doubt the rest of the way. Rosier and Travis Homer had touchdown runs in the final 4:03 to close it out for Miami. Rosier was 15 of 28 for 210 yards, improving to 11-0 as Miami’s starter.
Homer rushed for 96 yards for Miami, who is on the verge of a perfect ACC regular-season with only Pittsburgh waiting. The Hurricanes already had a spot in the ACC championship game against Clemson on Dec. 2 secured.
“It feels amazing. With me being a firm believer in this university, I watched. I was watching Chad (Thomas), and I was watching (Braxton) Berrios, and I was watching the senior class that we have.” Sophomore Linebacker Shaquille Quarterman stated. “They really endured it all and for them to stay here when some people left and some people did whatever, but they stayed here and really believed in the program, the process and they really earned everything that’s following us right now, so I love them. I’m glad that we were able to send them out right at Hard Rock for the last time this season, but it’s not over yet.”
The Cavaliers inept on the ground, finishing with 55 yards on 28 carries — and their longest was a 23-yard run by Jordan Ellis as time expired. The Cavaliers got two touchdowns in their first three possessions, then only two TDs in their next 12.
“They’re awesome. A year ago, the seniors were great because they bought in. That’s all I asked them to do. Just buy in, and guys will follow you. This year, you have guys who already know the standards we’ve set as a staff and as a team and now they’re able to make sure everybody is upholding the standard. That’s true leadership by them.” Hurricanes head coach Mark Richt stated. “There’s about 11 of them, not many. The guys that stayed are being blessed by now. Those guys have been through some rough times and they’re feeling the fun of what’s been happening this season and hopefully, we will be able to continue. We talked about playing for the seniors and trying to bless them with the effort you give, but we play two teams last year on their Senior Day and they were emotional playing. That emotion wears off and we have to get back to playing football.”
Hurricanes are the best in turnover margin among power five teams. The turnover chain is a psychological advantage for “The U.” Opponents don’t want to see that chain. It looks simple but not easy. All the Hurricanes have to do is win four more games, and these seniors are National Champions. The beat goes with Miami number two in the AP poll and the college football playoff rankings.