DURHAM – By now you’ve heard, or seen, what took place recently in Durham.
The talk of the sports world is all about the Miami Hurricanes last play against the Duke Blue Devils. What took place was a play that rivals the ending to the Michigan/Michigan State game, as well as the Florida State/Georgia Tech contest last week, maybe even the famed Stanford/California game many years before these current players were born.
The main two takeaways – special teams matter, and the game isn’t over until it’s over.
Duke drove 80-yards to take a 27-24 lead with six seconds remaining, many thinking the game was over. Wrong. The Hurricanes used a 48 second, 8 lateral play that ended with Corn Elder striking paydirt, flags on the field that were removed, and a bunch of players, fans and media left wondering, “what the heck just happened?”
After what seemed like an eternity, the officials picked up two flags and rewarded Miami with the win. Late Sunday, it was announced that the entire crew plus the official in the review booth would be suspended two games by the Atlantic Coast Conference for four calls missed on that now historic play.
Lost in all of this is the fact there was still a football game played prior to that 48 second circles. Here are some takeaways from the Canes 30-27 win over the Blue Devils.
Malik Rosier is good – Rosier came in for the injured Brad Kaaya, who was suffering from a concussion. Rosier, the redshirt freshman from Mobile, Ala., never started a game for the Canes before Saturday, however, he looked the part. Rosier finished 20-29 for 272 and two scores in his first major duty. He hit nine different receivers in the win.
Thomas Sirk can do more than run – Many wondered if Sirk was anything more than an extra running back for his lack of stretching the defense with the deep ball. While he didn’t throw deep every time, it was obvious the playbook was open for Sirk, who threw 52 passes, completing 31 for 258 yards.
Miami had no business winning this game – And this has nothing to do with the final play, which I guess according to league officials, shouldn’t have stood as a score. But before then, Miami had 23 penalties (a school record) for 194 yards. That’s almost enough penalties the length of two football fields. By comparison Duke only had five. The Hurricanes had three pass interference calls on the Blue Devils final offensive drive, yet somehow found a way to win inspite of themselves.
Duke still remains focused – Nobody would have blamed Duke if they came into the post game press conference spitting fire, upset about the injustice that had taken place on the field moments earlier. But it was quite the opposite.
Here’s safety DeVon Edwards –
“It’s still not going to decide our season. Everybody has to keep their heads up and keep moving. It’s not how you take a loss, it’s about how you bounce back. It’s something good to go through. It happens and it makes you a better player.”
And safety Jeremy Cash –
“We have to move on from this and get ready to prepare for North Carolina. Unfortunately, it didn’t go in our favor and move on from it. No matter what, we were going to put this in the back of our minds because the most important game is the next one. This game’s over, there’s nothing much we can do about it now.”
And finally, Cutcliffe –
“We are now moving forward. We are going to do what’s required of us to get ourselves ready for our next football game.”
It should be mentioned that the next football game is down the road at Chapel Hill, against rival North Carolina, who cracked the Top 25 for the first time this season, ranked No. 21. The battle for the Victory Bell is still as stake, but that’s not as juicy as a showdown for the top spot in the division. However, Duke still has a lot in front of them.
If they can beat North Carolina and win out, with some help, they could still play in Charlotte.
“Our guys are really smart, and you know they know every bit of that.”