SUN LIFE STADIUM -- The mediocrity continues.
The Miami Hurricanes (4-4, 2-3 ACC play) still haven't won three games in a row since Oct. 2009 and they've got nobody to blame but themselves. Dumb penalties, blown coverages and an inability to execute when it mattered -- the same old losing recipe -- is what hurt them in Thursday's 28-21 loss to Virginia.
Here is some of what we learned post-game:
> Linebacker Jimmy Gaines, beaten on the game-winning 78-yard touchdown pass from Michael Rocco to Perry Jones, said he thought he had safety help in coverage and said that's why he lunged for the ball. Of course, Gaines didn't and Jones ran untouched into the end zone.
"Every play is full of one-on-one battles. On that play, I didn't win mine," Gaines said. "I didn't win the battle. I was hoping somebody was back there. I was just trying to make the play and I didn't. I have to make sure I use the proper technique, get him on the ground."
Of course, it would have been nice if somebody else -- say Vaughn Telemaque or Ray-Ray Armstrong -- were around. But they weren't.
> Quarterback Jacory Harris wasn't on the field for the final plays of the game. Although Al Golden said Harris has been "banged up" for a few weeks and needs rest, Harris said he'll be back for Duke. He finished 21 of 30 for 311 yards and three touchdowns and was sacked three times.
" I'm cool. No matter what you'll still see me on the field," Harris said. "Broken leg, whatever it is, I'll be there. Been doing it my whole career.
> Since climbing to as high as the third-leading rusher in the country (135.4 yards per game) on Oct. 9, North Carolina, Georgia Tech and Virginia have made it a point to try and take Lamar Miller (5-11, 212-pound redshirt sophomore) out of UM's offense. They've stacked the box with eight and nine man fronts, forcing quarterback Jacory Harris to try and beat them instead.
Although Miller had 93 yards on 27 carries and a touchdown Georgia Tech, he's been held to just 3.2 yards per carry over his last three games -- a total of 192 yards on 59 carries. Al Golden said that's not good enough.
"We have to examine the whole thing," Golden said. "I'm not going to sit up here and say it's one guy. We're just not running the ball as effectively as we need to and we're not staying on track on first and second down efficiency."
Harris said it's up to the passing game to make plays. "When teams stack the box we have the passing game open and I guess we don't enough there to win the game," Harris said. "I guess we have to step it up passing wise because teams are going to sell out."
> Receiver Tommy Streeter had a career-high seven catches for 176 yards and two touchdowns including an amazing 51-yard TD grab between two defenders.
"I just trusted him," Harris said. "I knew he would make the play. He basically had one guy underneath him and the other guy was just one-on-one with. So I said I'm just going to trust him to make the play. We needed something to spark us and fuel us to go forward. That was our momentum."
> UM, penalized just four times in their previous two wins, was flagged five times for 51 yards. The big dumb ones -- roughing the passer on Olivier Vernon on and incomplete pass on third down (Virginia scored its second TD three plays later) and a roughing the kicker penalty in the third quarter (Virginia missed a field goal, but ran 10 more plays after it).
"Clearly we had some penalties that were just absurd," Golden said. "We can't have those penalties and the mental breakdowns we did. The blocked field goal too. We weren't sharp and we didn't execute and that starts with me, period."