SUN LIFE STADIUM -- Had things gone the way the Hurricanes wanted to on their final offensive play from scrimmage Saturday, Lamar Miller would have been on the receiving end of Jacory Harris' game-winning shovel pass.
Instead, Miller never got the pass because Kansas State defensive end Adam Davis blocked the lane, leaving Harris to choose between two other options: running it in himself or trying to connect with tight end Clive Walford on a pass in the flat.
"When the d-end decided he was going to be late off the ball, he kind of ruined the whole play," Harris said. "He wasn't paying attention and as soon as I said hike he got caught up in his assignment and it actually helped him. My only option was run it or throw it in the flat and I couldn't do that because they were playing man.
"They covered it pretty well. The d-end, him being late on the ball he actually played the shovel pass without knowing it. Next time we just have to run it up in there, never put ourselves in that situation again."
The Hurricanes (1-2) tried to punch it in twice with Mike James. It didn't work. So why didn't Miller -- the team's leading rusher -- get a crack? "He was too banged up," UM coach Al Golden said.
Miller injured his left shoulder with 7:55 to play in the game when he was tackled for no gain at the UM 28-yard line by Kansas State's Vai Lutui. Miller, who has suffered shoulder injuries throughout his career including last season, ran over immediately to the bench the Canes ended up punting on their next-to-last series. He returned for the final series, but had two carries for one yard before exiting and returning on the final play.
Should Canes fans be worried about Miller missing time? Well, Harris is. "Of course I'm worried about a guy that's injured," Harris said. "I don't know the extent of what his injury is, but he's a tough guy and I know he's going to be in the training room trying to get right, trying to get healthy so he can be ready next week full throttle."
The Hurricanes certainly need him. Miller scored on a career-long 59 yard touchdown run and broke the 100-yard mark for the third game in a row, finishing with 106 yards on 18 carries. He's now run for 1,055 yards 14 games into his career.
> Another injury to monitor: left tackle Brandon Washington went down with a right knee injury in the first half, but returned and played the second half.
The Hurricanes were only flagged four times for 30 yards Saturday, but two on the offensive line in the first quarter were "drive killers, energy vampires," according to Harris.
The first -- a false start on redshirt freshman right tackle Jonathan Felicano -- turned a 3rd-and-1 at the Kansas State 17 into a 3rd and 6. UM ended up settling for a field goal. Sixth-year senior Joel Figueroa came in for the injured Washington and was called for a false start on 4th-and-4 at the Kansas State 37. UM decided to punt.
SPENCE: "MISSED TACKLES KILLED US"
Sean Spence tied a career high with 14 tackles. He also had a sack, two and half tackles for loss and a forced fumble.
He was one of the few on UM's defense to have a good day as Kansas State scorched the Canes for 265 yards rushing and scored touchdowns on all four of its trips into the red zone. UM had only given up one touchdown defensively in nine trips into the red zone in their first two games.
"Goes back to leverage, we had a couple of run misfits, a couple of missed tackles -- nothing we can't correct," Spence said. "You have to give credit to their quarterback. He did a great job. We knew going into the game he was their best runner. Watching him on film he did everything today he did before."
The play that stung Spence the most? The 26-yard run K-State quarterback Collin Klein had on 2nd and 29 from the Wildcats 3. "It took a lot of air out of us," he said. "We had the crowd in it. They were backed up on the goalline and popped one on us right up the middle. It deflated us."
ARTHUR BROWN GOES HOME HAPPY
Former Hurricanes linebacker Arthur Brown, who transferred to Kansas State after the 2009 season, finished with six tackles for the Wildcats -- fourth best on the team in his return to Miami.
“One of the last things I heard when I left Miami is I’ll always be family," said Brown, who shook hands with Spence before the game. "There was a lot of excitement more than anything."
UM center Tyler Horn said: "Arthur is a stud. I knew that from when he was here."
Bryce Brown, Arthur's younger brother, played and had a pass thrown his way that fell incomplete. He did not, however, have any carries.