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Harris was "numb" to pressure, pain

TALLAHASSEE -- Playing in big games and events can make some of the greatest athletes in sports physically uncomfortable. Nerves can make them feel sick, drive them to point the of total ineptitude. Jacory Harris wasn't born with that trait in his DNA.

Jacory Harris was Mr. Cool when the pressure was on Monday night at FSU Playing in front of 81,077 at Florida State, on national TV on Labor Day in a rivalry game, Harris was simply numb to it all when Monday night's game was on the line. Mentally and physically.

As the quarterback and leader of UM's offense, he led Miami back from a 23-14 deficit, a 31-24 deficit and a 34-31 deficit in the second half. In the huddle he was J Cool. On the field, he was a 6-4, 190-pound quarterback who could only use three fingers on his throwing hand to throw the football. Three fingers? That's all Harris said he could feel after he took a shot from FSU freshman cornerback Greg Reid early in the fourth quarter.

As Miami waited through two kickoffs to get the ball back after Markus White returned an interception 31 yards for a touchdown to give FSU a 31-24, Harris worked on the sideline to regain feeling in his shoulder, arm, pinkie and ring finger as true freshman AJ Highsmith warmed up. Harris took his first snap and fumbled it. The feeling never really returned. But whatever he did on the sideline convinced Randy Shannon to keep him in the game.

And, somehow, Harris mustered the strength to lead UM on back-to-back scoring drives. Harris didn't just toss the pigskin and let his receivers do all the work. He sparkled, completing seven of his final nine pass attempts for 122 yards and a touchdown.

On third and 15 from the UM 22, FSU sent the house, Harris stepped up in the pocket and found Leonard Hankerson crossing over the middle for 16 yards. On third and 6 from the UM 42, he had an FSU defensive end ready to take him to the turf. He fought him off, kept his poise and found Travis Benjamin opened downfield for 20 yards. Harris converted another third down conversion and then saved his best pass for last, squeezing the ball between Travis Benjamin, the sideline and two defenders 40 yards down field. A play later, Graig Cooper put UM ahead 38-34.

"It was a great throw," Benjamin said. "He put it outside, where only I could catch it and I made the catch."

Harris finished with 386 yards passing (the most by a UM quarterback against FSU), 21 of 34 with two interceptions, two touchdowns and a one-yard plunge into the end zone. It wasn't even close to his best performance. But it was arguably the best game by a Canes quarterback since Ken Dorsey was here. It was gutsy, inspirational and just his third start in a Hurricanes uniform.

Left tackle Jason Fox is amazed at just how cool Harris can be when the pressure is on. Even he was a little nervous when the game was on the line. Harris, however, was the same as he was in the final 12 minutes as he was for the other 48.

"If you get rattled in that situation, your offense will be able to tell, they can see in your eyes that you're scared," said Harris, now 32-1 as a starting quarterback in his football career. "I believe the only thing to be scared about is death. So, why go out there and be scared and nervous?"

Harris admitted afterward this was probably the toughest game he'd play in since he led Miami Northwestern to a come-from-behind win over Deerfield Beach when he was a senior in the state semifinals in 2007.

His teammates, however, couldn't tell. "He was never nervous, no yelling, always calm, working on the next play," Benjamin said. "If the quarterback is calm, there’s no sense to be nervous. Because he's the captain of the offense."

Yes, the type of captain and leader Miami has been longing under center since No. 11 left.

BUZZ KILL: I don't want to be Buzz Killington, but... how upset would you be about this team if Christian Ponder's final pass isn't dropped by Jarmon Fortson in the end zone? My point is Miami's defense still gave up 404 yards, 34 points and FSU was 6 of 15 on third down. As Randy Phillips said after the game, "You’ll never see this Miami defense play that bad again." You better hope so.

Graig Cooper GAME BALLS: Obviously, Jacory Harris earns the ball on offense. Defensively, I'm going with Brandon Harris. Despite being whistled for pass interference late in the game, he had nine tackles to lead UM and one huge pass breakup in the end zone in the waning moments. He also stayed stride for stride with an FSU receiver and batted another pass away in the second half. Good game for Harris, who was clowned against FSU last year. Graig Cooper only ran for 31 yards on seven carries and had a nice touchdown grab on Miami's next to last possession. But where he really impressed me was on kickoff returns. He had five returns for 177 yards including a long of 63. He gave Miami field position at its own 34, 46, 25, 32 and the FSU 29 yard line. He was very, very important in this win.

HELMET STICKERS: Got to hand one to receiver Leonard Hankerson, who started the night with a Hankerson special (drop), but rebounded with four catches for 72 yards including a long of 40. Here's a number that should grab you. Hankerson caught all of 11 passes last year. So, he's on pace to destroy his career bests. Randy Phillips should pick one up to for recording UM's first interception of the year and fifth since the 2008 season began. That's three picks now for the Canes secondary in the last two years of the Wesley McGriff era. Matt Bosher had a few kickoffs that weren't impressive and a few squibs that nearly blew up in UM's face. But he still did a great job on punts. He pinned FSU inside of its 10 yard line twice.

THE BIG UGLIES REPORT: Game 1 for new starters Harland Gunn and Matt Pipho were surprisingly good. Jacory took a few licks and was sacked by Dekoda Watson, but all in all plenty of time to throw. "“We didn’t want anybody to touch him,” Fox said. “He got hit some, but he was able to be successful tonight and that was our main goal.”

WORRY ABOUT: As good as Harris was Monday night, Miami fans ought to be concerned about his throwing arm. At the Emerald Bowl he suffered similar numbness after taking a big lick. He stayed in Monday's game because of adrenaline. But it will be real interesting to see how he wakes up on Tuesday morning and if the numbness is still there.

INJURY WATCH: On the injury front, the players to follow this week are sophomore receivers Aldarius Johnson (who looked like he tore a muscle as he was writhing in pain on the turf) and LaRon Byrd, who didn't return after landing on his back hard after trying to haul in pass in the first quarter. All of the other players who went out Monday -- defensive end Olivier Vernon, defensive tackle Marcus Forston, linebackers Colin McCarthy and Sean Spence -- returned after cramping up.

AMBER ALERT: If anybody spots Miami's pass rush please call John Lovett immediately. Outside of Allen Bailey's sack and Marcus Robinson's key sack and strip, Miami failed to put much pressure on Christian Ponder at all.

Comments

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We're not back yet, it's one good game.

We're no. 20....remember the last time we were ranked? I hope the players do and that they get after it starting today. Randy Shannon should pound on those boys all week.

Manny, What!? No game ball to Benji?? That kid is ice-water and electrifying. Please "Man up Manny".

ok for the guys that keep defending the special temas coach i have this question did anyone see FSU pooch Kick it as many times as we did? i understand greg reid was doing his thing ,but at the same time so was coop. i did not see FSU special teams coach shy from what coop was doing.

and if we would have lost the game i think the blame should have gone to the special team coach you give a team a half of a field with under a minute left in a shoot out sounds pretty dumb to me.

that is just my opinion and i still think randy should talk to the special teams coach and work the kinks out. we won so go canes, and UM is not back we have to take this one game at a time.

jacory leads ncaa in passing yards wk1

You people kill me, you all could win the lotto and be mad at the taxes you have to pay! You keep talking about why we kept doing the sqib kicks, only one of them was a bad idea, as for the other if you all saw what I saw you knew that Greg Reid is the truth and is going to have ONE HELL OF A CAREER, DAMN HE IS GOOD! I hope his cousin is half as good for us! All that it would have took was for Reid to take one kick back and you would have been saying Shannon is a fool why did he kick it deep. As for Spence, he will learn that when you are GAME PLANNED against and keyed on it is a lot harder to make plays! I have faith that he will make adjustments and start to ball out again. GO CANES!!!

hey peteroc, you did nothing to explain why they kicked it short. thanks for repeating stuff i already knew. hey, did you know that arod was traded to the yanks and that UM won last night against fsu? bosher definitely has the leg strength to kick it back, he did it last year. i want to know why they did it. i guess it was bc of reid, but his runs werent that amazing either

I'm not big on squib kicks, I just think it's a bad idea. Reid is a dangerous guy, but we really need to work on our kick return unit.

FSU clearly had a game plan for how to handle Spence. Hopefully he will bounce back against GT.

i don't like ppl over critical of shannon , as far as the special team coach i hope he does not bring that gameplan again in a shootout.

I agree w/ "pay attention to the U". After a win like this, I give credit to the entire organization. Remember Randy Shannon's trip to Philly to hire The Whip? That hire has proved masterful.

d,

Sorry for actually supplying support for an argument I was making, but apparently you're the one that didn't know what was happening yesterday, even after I pasted a summary for you.

Bosher wasn't kicking it deep yesterday. Of the three balls they intentionally kicked deep, one landed at the 14, another at the 10, and his best kick landed at the 5. I didn't have a stop watch on me, but it didn't appear he was getting much hang time on those kicks either. When you combine the inability to kick it deep with the fact that Reid returned his first kick for 29 yards and his second for 51 yards, at that point, a coach has to decide whether its worth it to keep trying.

If there was a mistake in that last pooch kick, it wasn't necessarily the decision to do it, it was not recognizing that FSU had snuck Reid up to receive a pooch kick in the even we tried it....but I bet you didn't notice that either.

*event

Boy a lot of you supposed to be tuesday morning coaches and fair weather canes fan..Need to get a reality check..I would not be surprised if Jesus Christ was stupid enough to come back become a Coach UM..
Some of you faultless weekend warrior type wannabees..Would have a problem with where he directed each one of you losers to go sit..at the last supper..For those of you who do not know yet..You will only win football games by talent acqusition proper execution courage under fire poise..and last of all when all else fails..and some of you who are so fainthearted ..and unable to recognize the inevitable..
By who has the most points on the scoreboard at the end of a very competitive young men on both sides of the ball surely want to and expect to find a way to win..the game..I would not like to be a woman or a child on the Titanic..With some of you guys who post here..As fellow passengers..
With all of your negative first it is all about me immature rants and just pure hate posted here..i am quite sure..Some of you young ladies would probably be the first ones..To push your own mothers and daughters out of the way.. and the elderly..Just to make absolutely certain that you could get your little frail fannies in the lifeboats first..
Grow up already..These kids and the Coaches at the U need your encouragement your support and your very vocal and hysterical buts in the bleachers where guess what you actually belong..Which is sorely lacking at UM home games across all sports..Go Canes handle your Business..Let the haters hate..that is the only encouragement they can give..Because that seems to be all that is in their overly critical hearts..Go Canes in 09..!!!! Make it happen anyway..Jacory and your True Cane Teammates...!!!!!

hey peteroc, i did watch the game. i was hoping for a real answer heard from the coaches, not what you think. thanks anyways

I've been following the Canes since long before Jim Kelly. I'm born and raised in Florida and like all the Florida teams.

Watching the Canes open it up last night was a special treat. Great new offensive look. Great intensity and passion. FSU looked good too. That was college football at its best.

The defenses will get better, this was a good game for both teams. Too bad somebody had to lose.

It's been a long time. Welcome back Canes. Good luck Seminoles with the rest of your games.

Go canes!!! It was a great game!!!

The defense actually gave up 27 pts( offense gave up 1 touchdown, PIPHO missed assignment pick 6),and count some of those 27 points to the special team blunders giving FSU great field position. We got the W and thats all that matters. Moncur, Ojomo, Byrd, Johnson, and Telemaque, please get better.

WOW.
Has there ever been a QB like Jacory?
Our offense was explosive - we are already back to the heights of our most potent offenses in UM history.
Just think: Byrd and Aj were invisible, and that didn't stop anything. We largely passed at will. We have too many weapons.
Jacory will be a top contender for Heisman next year (and he'd be already the early favorite THIS year, had he had the advantage of the necessary pre-season hype.)
A very encouraging start. No one who wasn't at the practices REALLY knew what kind of team we were going to get last night - and what we got was brilliance.
Without our DE starters, without a great Spence performance, we completely shut down their run - which bodes very well for GT.
In short, we awesome.
This is an undefeated NC year, next year we're pre-season no. 1 and we're not going to lose next year, either.
Saddle up and watch Thursday's GT game knowing that they won't be able to do squat about us - but they're going to *think* they can for another week, until they arrive at the home opener. After that, it will be "uh-oh" Miami's back, and we won't be able to enjoy the ridiculous smile of being an overlooked underdog.

d,

Since you only digest information communicated publicly by the coaches, Manny made reference to RS comments on Bosher's kickoffs in his chat today.

I promise this is my last response to you given your own words tell me all I needed to know about the game you were watching:

"i guess it was bc of reid, but his runs werent that amazing either"

Wrong, the defense only gave up 27 points. Come on you people, FSU's defense did score a TD. 27 isn't that horrible. You nay-sayers need to think before you type.

http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/166879/bowden.gif

great Bowden gof

Did Ponder run all over our LB's?? NO!!!!!!!!

Did FSU run for over 200 yds?? NO!!!!!!!


Therefore, the LB's did their job (including Spence)....

If Spence was TOLD to be disciplined and spy on Ponder and the RB, that is what he did...Despite a couple of missed tackles, he did HIS part..AND PLAYED THE WHOLE GAME!!!!!!!!


Please STFU and enjoy the win....LAst year we lost to UNC on a last pass attempt...I don't care How we do it, JUST WIN, BABY!!!!!!!!

86CANE is a classless punk....He gets FREE HOTEL stays when his sheep book through his site....


86CANE is a punk!!!!!!
.

PeteRoc,

i guess by your last post tells me all i need to know about your character. you sir, are an enormous tool. yea, good job coaching from your couch. and your analysis is so rock tight that i wonder why you werent on espn or in a booth analyzing the game. thanks for the tip about manny mentioning it his chat, but sorry, i cannot attend every chat as i was occupied by my job at the time. have a nice day!

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