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Come-from-behind win at Georgia Tech proves these Canes have heart

It was one thing for the Hurricanes to rally back from a 14-0 deficit in the first quarter at Boston College in the season opener. What UM did against Georgia Tech Saturday was much different. It was on another level.

How many teams blow a 19-zip lead, give up 36 unanswered points, and come back from 17 points down late in the third quarter to win in overtime on the road at a conference opponent? Not many.

That's why UM coach Al Golden was running around Bobby Dodd Stadium Saturday night like the late Jim Valvano -- just looking for someone to embrace. How excited was Golden that his team pulled off a 42-36 come-from-behind victory? Canes mascot Sebastian the Ibis may end up on this week's injury report with an upper extremity because of the chest bump Golden gave him. "I hope that's not on YouTube," Golden quipped afterward, trying to dry himself from the ice bath he took.

This Miami team still has a long way to go. Great teams don't blow 19-point leads and give up 36 straight points to anybody. But teams with real heart don't ever give up either. That's what Golden has established with this group -- a team with a real heartbeat. A team with no quit.

Couldn't say that last year. It took Golden 16 games to weed out the bad apples, for guys to completely buy in. But that's what's finally happened. The result of that long process is what we saw Saturday.

Are the Canes back? No. Until they start playing defense for four quarters they won't be a real BCS bowl contender. But is UM ready to contend for a Coastal Division title? Maybe. They're in first place.

But we'll find out a lot more about them this coming Saturday when they host N.C. State at Sun Life Stadium. First place teams don't lose at home to conference foes that aren't ranked. Instead, they go on winning streaks. That's the next step. Three wins in a row? Never happened under Golden here. But opportunity knocks. When the Canes answer that bell then you can really start to feel good about this team.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Hard to go with one guy because so many had career days, but Anthony Chickillo gets it in my eyes. The sophomore defensive end finished with a career high seven tackles, three tackles for loss and a sack and pretty much helped UM's defense regain its footing in the fourth quarter. Without Chickillo's big stops, Georgia Tech doesn't end up in 2nd and 3rd and longs and UM's defense probably doesn't get off the field. Chick was huge.

PLAY OF THE GAME: So many great ones to choose from. Rashawn Scott's leaping 25-yard catch on 3rd and 8 at the Georgia Tech 40 before UM scored to make it 36-29 stands out and deserves honorable mention. So does Phillip Dorsett's 65-yard touchdown catch. That set the tone for the day. But no play was bigger than Eddie Johnson's fourth and inches stop at the 1-yard line. Tech quarterback Tevin Washington was in perfect position to slip past the Canes' defense for a third touchdown. But Johnson, who finished with a team-high nine tackles, was right there to shut the door because he stuck with his assignment. As Golden pointed out, Georgia Tech probably converts that play 95 percent of the time.

OFFENSE: The Canes churned out 609 yards of total offense -- the team's most since they crushed McNeese State back in 2000. This wasn't McNeese State. This was a pretty good Al Groh defense. Quarterback Stephen Morris wasn't perfect. He continued missing a few open receivers and got picked when he under threw Scott on a go route. But he still had a career day with 436 yards and two touchdowns (the last UM QB to throw for 400 was Ken Dorsey back in 2002). Morris engineered a gutsy 8 play, 91 yard scoring drive at the end of regulation and helped UM's offense finish 11 of 16 on third down conversions -- most of those of the 3rd and long variety. Mike James? Career day with 89 yards rushing and four touchdowns. Dorsett (9 catches, 184 yards, 1 TD and Davon Johnson (7-107) each had career days while Allen Hurns tried to battle back in his first game back from injury. The offense line? Didn't give up a sack. Ben Jones saw the most action he ever has in a Canes uniform and Seantrel Henderson once again manned both sides of the tackle spot. Except for two turnovers, you couldn't have asked for a better day. GRADE: A-

DEFENSE: It was another up-and-down afternoon for Mark D'Onofrio's group. The first quarter and fourth quarter were spectacular. The second and third quarters were miserable. The bottomline: D'Onofrio's D got just enough stops not to be the reason why UM lost this game. The Canes didn't force any turnovers. But they got pressure on Washington the few times he dropped back to throw (he was 3 of 8 for 132 yards) and held Georgia Tech almost 90 yards below their season average in rushing with 287 yards. UM produced eight tackles for loss. Chickillo and Johnson had huge days. So did Jimmy Gaines, who did a stellar job filling in for Denzel Perryman at middle linebacker. Gaines had seven tackles and nearly came up with a huge interception. Brandon McGee and Kacy Rodgers each had six tackles and constantly came up from the secondary to make big stops. Saturday's effort wasn't a masterpiece. Georgia Tech had four plays go for more than 30 yards and two passes go for 50 yards plus. But it was good enough when it counted and much better than I thought it would be. GRADE: B.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Except for a 46-yard kickoff return by Duke Johnson, this was definitely the one area the Canes struggled. Jake Wieclaw missed a chip shot field goal and booted a kickoff out of bounds. The coverage teams were dreadful. The Yellow Jackets' Jamal Golden twice returned punts much further than he should have and Orwin Smith made up for his bonehead safety with a couple nice returns. Now, the Canes have another problem on their hands. All-ACC punter Dalton Botts could be out awhile. He hurt his ankle and was on crutches Saturday. Matt Goudis got off an ugly 37-yard line drive punt filling in for Botts that led to a long a return. The Canes have work to do this week here. GRADE: D.

STOCK RISING
> WR Davon Johnson:
 With Malcolm Lewis going down, Johnson's opportunities figure to expand. So far, he's proven he's reliable, making big catches left and right. Johnson's development is another feather in the cap of Golden and his staff. Basically, he's another guy that did nothing under Randy Shannon's staff and suddenly has proven he can help.
> OT Ben Jones: Another guy who can fall into that category if he starts contributing more. Jones played lot in the second half. Golden said it was due to guys being banged up. At least Jones didn't make any major mistakes Saturday.

STOCK SLIPPING
> CB Tracy Howard: He didn't make a tackle and I'm not sure I ever really saw him get into the game. Word has it Howard may have had some words with D'Onofrio a week ago. Golden said last week Howard had to freelance a little less. Needless to say it's a situation to keep an eye on.

Comments

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Well the score wasn't what I predicted but I sure will take the W!!! Hard work pays off Canes!!!!!!


WAY TO GO HURRICANES!!!!


WAY TO GO GOLDEN!!!!

BRING ON NCST!!!

ugocane: FSU has only 8 more (jr/sr) combined than us. They are play the same young guys. We see if it is a process. Wins are all that matters. Prediction as long as the current DC is there. Miami does not have a winning season. I see it already in the statistics. Lets see whos right, shall we. Dosent matter who Golden hugs or how many tissue you use. This is how seasons are won:

1. Miami defense = 1814 yards @453 avg
2. NCS = 1300 yards @325
3. FSU = 736 @184

Contenders are under 1000 at this point....

Alabama = 185
LSU = 199

Miami remaining: current defensive standings

NCS = 325
FSU = 184
ND = 291
NC = 322
VT = 328
Virginia = 407
Sfla = 384

where do you think the term defenses win games....put the bong down and go to class

Jim Gallo

NCS has't played anyone on their schedule in comparison to those that we have already played. You must take that into consideration. Their schedule...
Tenn 35-21 L
Connecticut 10-7 W
South Alabama 31-7 W
Citadel 52-14 W
Canes are going to win this game. Strength of schedule at least dictates that.

Fswho... The only team of quality that this team has played so far is Clemson. Everyone else so far is a joke. This is a cupcake schedule to build them up. They're putting up 50pts a game but against who? All that tells me is that they are overrated, but we'll see. They were in a good game against Clemson who took the lead only to lose it in the second half. Clemson exposed fswho's weaknesses and simply didn't continue it in the 2nd half. It was their's to lose.

fswho's schedule..

Eddie Murphy St 69-3 W
Savannah St 55-0 W
Wakeforest 52-0 W
Clemson 49-37 W

Same thing can be said about VT...
Here's their schedule
GT 20-17 W
Austin Peay 42-7 W. Who the hell is this????
Bowling Green 37-0 W
Pittsburgh 17-35 L HAHA!
(Mind you...Pittsburgh has only beaten VT and Gardener-Webb 55-10). Food for thought.

The term that "defenses win games" is true but against who is the question that should be asked right after.

The only soft team that Miami has played was Bethune-Cookman. That's it. Boston College looks to have a difficult season since their schedule doesn't look to get any better down the line. They'll be luck to go .500 this year. Other than that The U has played quality teams. Hell, I'm not even impressed with NDs schedule either. Look at who they have beaten and then go and look at their schedules and how they have done so far.

I'm just going by the numbers that should truly be looked at and taken into consideration and not just scores.

As always...

IT'S GREAT

TO BE

A MIAMI HURRICANE!!!!

I SAY IT'S GREAT

TO BE

A MIAMI HURRICANE!!!!

GO CANES!!!!! GO GOLDEN!!!!


The canes have impact players at all the important positions. They will only grow and get better. The talent has always been there but the heart has been lacking until now

A hard working group of players with that much talent makes Miami' s future look really, really good

tears comes to my eyes the way golden was holding m lewis family canes forever go canes

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