They came to say good-bye to the Orange Bowl, but as it stands now, Hurricanes fans might as well say good-bye to the current season. UM has saved the worst for last.
Normally, I'd sit here and take in the final game ever at the Orange Bowl until the 7 minute mark -- when I head down to the field to grab quotes. But seeing how bad things are, I figured I'd let this become a forum for bigger issues you might want to tackle.
For starters, is this the most embarrasing moment for you as a Hurricanes fan?
Are we taking things for granted? I mean that in the sense that Randy Shannon is going to be able to turn this around. I know UM has some talented recruits waiting to come in, but can this program really climb back to the moutaintop? What makes you still have that faith today?
You digest that. I've got the dreadful play-by-play below.
By the way, I was on the field before the game, gathering thoughts from some of the greats -- Bennie Blades, Gino Torretta, Ottis Anderson and Darin Smith. I'll post the audio later tonight.
THE RECAP (THE PLAY BY PLAY UNTIL THINGS GOT REAL UGLY)...
- Virginia wins the toss and defers to the second half. UM will receive.
UM 1st Drive (1st and 10 at UM 33, 14:53)
- Ryan Hill returns the opening kickoff out to the 33-yard line.
- After a 4-yard run by Javarris James and a 2-yard scramble by Kyle Wright, Darnell Jenkins comes through with the first big play for Miami, hauling a 5-yard catch for a first down to the UM 44.
- On the next set of downs, Wright goes to Lance Leggett on third and 6, but for only 3 yards. UM punts and Matt Bosher gets off a 45-yarder downed by Colin McCarthy at the Virginia 4.
VA 1st Drive (1st and 10 at the UVA 4, 11:33)
- After Kenny Phillips make a nice play in the backfield for a 1-yard loss, Virginia QB Jameel Sewell finds his tight end Tom Santi for a 25-yard gain upfield before he Santi steps out of bounds. On the next play, Virginia runs a screen play to running back Mikell Simpson, who picks up 11 yards and another first down to the UM 38.
- On the next play, Simpson sweeps wide and rumbles all the way down to the UM 34, picking up 38 yards on the play after getting away twice from Tavares Gooden.
- On the very next play, UM has a chance to sack Sewell back for a big loss, but he escapes the grasp of Darryl Sharpton and Vegas Franklin and scrambles forward for a 5-yard gain.
- With 8:35 left Virginia faces 3rd and 5 at the UM 29 and picks up a first down when Sewell moves left and finds receiver Maurice Covington wide open in the middle of the field. And he waltzes past Willie Cooper for a with 8:26 left. Drive: 7 plays, 96 yards, 3:07. UVA 7, UM 0.
- And the Orange Bowl is stunned.
UM 2nd Drive (1st and 10 at UM 25, 8:18)
- On the ensuing kickoff, Shawnbrey McNeal goes down awkwardly after fielding the kick and limps off the field.
- On first down, Darnell Jenkins lines up at quarterback and takes a direct snap forward for short yardage. UM gets flagged for holding. Kyle Wright returns to the game.
- On first and 20, Dajleon Farr gets open over the middle for an 11-yard gain. On second and 9, fullback Jerrell Mabry picks up 3 yards, bringing up a 3rd and 6. On the next play, Virginia brings the safety blitz and Wright's pass to Jerrell Mabry bounces off his hands and into the hands of Virginia cornerback Vic Hall who intercepts the ball at the UM 36.
UV 2nd Drive (1st and 10 at UM 36)
- On the first play, Sewell tries to go deep down the center of the field and is intercepted by Randy Phillips, who returns the ball to the UM 27. The Canes catch a break.
UM 3rd Drive (1st and 10 at UM 27)
- After a 1-yard run by Graig Cooper and incomplete pass by Kyle Wright, he gets picked off again -- this time by linebacker Jon Copper who sits back in zone coverage and catches the ball at the UM 36.
UV 3rd Drive (1st and 10 at UM 36, 5:13 left)
- On first down, after a short run, UM defensive tackle Antonio Dixon limps off the field. Not good news. On third and 11 at the UM 37, UM brings the blitz and sacks Sewell, forcing a fumble that Colin McCarthy scoops up and returns for a touchdown. But the play is called back because Vegas Franklin jumped offsides.
- On the next play, Franklin makes up for his goof -- somewhat -- by sacking Sewell at the UM 35.
- Virginia punter Chris Gould tries to pooch the ball, but it bounces into the end zone.
UM 4th Drive (1st and 10 at UM 20, 2:51 left)
- Despite all the troubles early on, the Canes should feel lucky to only be down 7-0. If I'm Randy Shannon, I'm letting Cooper and James run the football.
- UM goes three and out after Darnell Jenkins and Jarell Mabry drop what would have been first down catches.
- Things get worse when Matt Bosher's punt gets blocked by Josh Zidenberg and it rolls out of bounds at the UM 5.
UV 4th Drive (1st and 10 at UM 4)
- Two plays later, tailback Keith Payne follows his blockers into the end zone to make it 14-0 with 1:08 to play. Drive: 2 plays, 4 yards, :44. UVA 14, UM 0.
UM 5th Drive (1st and 10 at UM 22)
- With all the big-time recruits on the sidelines, you'd think Randy Shannon would get some of them to put on uniforms at halftime.
- Javarris James picks up UM's 2nd first down afer back-to-back runs net 11 yards... END OF THE FIRST QUARTER.
UM 5th Drive (1st and 10 at UM 22)
- UM picks up action here in the second quarter with a 1st and 10 at the UM 33. On first down, Wright fakes a handoff and has Darnell Jenkins open despit double-coverage and the pass falls incomplete.
- UM's drive goes south two plays later when Lance Leggett finds himself open in the middle of the field, falls to the ground and Kyl Wright's pass bounces off his chest and hands and up into the hands off a Virginia safety who returns it to the UM 21.
UV 5th Drive (1st and 10 at UM 21)
- UM's defense is getting pressure on Sewell, but that offsides penalty right now on Vegas Franklin looms large.
- Virginia ends up scoring on a 33-yard field goal by Gould with 13:29 left.
UM 6th Drive (1st and 10 at UM 3)
- The comedy of erros continues. Ryan Hill fields a bouncing ball that would have gone out of bounds. Instead, he steps out of bounds at the 3 yardline giving UM horrible field position. Miami ends up punting.
UV 6th Drive (1st and 10 at UM 38)
- Sewell caps a quick drive with a one-yard plunge into the end zone, making the score 23-0 with 10:02 to play. Do the fans start hitting the exits now? UVA 24, UM 0.
UM 7th Drive (1st and 10 at UM 28)
- On first down, Nate Collins sacks Kyle Wright at the UM 23. On second and 15, Shannon calls time out. On the next play, Graig Cooper explodes for a 25-yard gain upfield to the UM 48.
- UM punts four plays later.
UV 7th Drive (1st and 10 at UV 28, 7:35)
- I'm just going to stop doing play by play. This is amazing. Virginia is just killing UM. Virginia scores again. 31-0.