After a crushing loss to South Florida last season, the Miami Hurricanes get a clutch game winning field goal from kicker Jake Wieclaw to win 6-3 on the road in Tampa.
With only two seconds remaining in the game and facing a 36-yard field goal, kicker Jake Wieclaw walked over to the sidelines after South Florida's Skip Holtz called his first time out. Head coach Al Golden scanned his sidelines and sensed tension, and then started jumping up and down as if he were in a mosh pit. His players followed suit and began getting hype. Wieclaw then returned to the field, a successful kick and he would win the game for Miami.
Wieclaw had made one field goal already but his second attempt was blocked. His third would come after another South Florida timeout. This time, the Miami sidelines didn't need any help from their physiologist-minded head coach and launched into the hype jumps on their own.
A poised Wieclaw went back out on the field and drilled the ball right in between the uprights, sealing the win making Miami bowl eligible at 6-5.
South Florida drops to 5-5 on the season and needs a win against Big East conference powers Louisville and West Virginia to become bowl eligible.
After the game, Golden praised his quarterback who played his best down the stretch on Miami's final drive. “Jacory just relaxed…that was great to see there at the end.” Harris' senior poise really showed on the game winning drive as he hit Travis Benjamin on 2nd and 16 and Chase Ford on 3rd and 6. Those two passes were completed under duress from the talented defensive line at South Florida.
Miami's offensive line had a game to forget.
They gave up six sacks and Jacory Harris ran for his life for much of the night. In addition, they lost right tackle Seantreal Henderson who went down with a knee injury. Golden said after the game he would not play next week against Boston College.
Miami's receivers didn't provide much help either, they dropped several passes that killed promising drives. Tommy Streeter led all recievers with five receptions, Benjamin had the most yards with 45.
Overall, the game was a defensive battle as there were a total of 17 punts. Miami punted 8 times and Al Golden called punter Dalton Botts the game MVP in his post game remarks. Botts averaged 43.4 yards per punt and had three downed inside the 20 yard line.
Lamar Miller was shut down by South Florida for most of the day behind his struggling offensive line. He ended the game with 50 yards on 20 carries for a mere 2.5 yard average. Third string back Eduardo Clements, however, was stellar. His strong rushing on short yardage proved critical to Miami's win converting two 3rd and 1 runs on the last drive.
"He’s tough, we call him OT, he’s from Overtown down by Miami, that means tough," said Golden clearly happy with this team's ability to win a close game using the mental toughness he's craved since the season began.
Today’s game was the first that Miami was held without a touchdown since a 26-3 loss to No. 5 Florida on Sept. 6, 2008.
Miami now will travel home for their season finale looking to add one more win to their bowl eligible resume.