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Golden after heartbreaking Virginia loss: "It's really important we don't splinter"

The Hurricanes are back at .500 following a heartbreaking 41-40 loss on the road at Virginia.

Of all five UM losses this season, this one will probably haunt UM coach Al Golden and his assistant coaches the most. UM (5-5, 4-3 ACC) had a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, and then a five-point lead with the ball following a safety with 4:19 remaining. 

This loss wasn't about a lack of talent or being outclassed by a better team. The Canes simply blew too many opportunities against a Cavaliers team (4-6, 2-4 ACC) that will be lucky to finish .500.

This, by the way, is Golden's third loss to a sub .500 team in his first 22 games as Hurricanes coach. Golden's assistants deserve to share the blame equally.

Jedd Fisch's offense had the ball in Virginia territory on each of its last two possessions and went three-and-out on each drive.

Mark D'Onofrio's defense, meanwhile, gave up a 12-play, 71-yard scoring drive which made it 38-35 and then a 16-play, 87-yard scoring drive with six seconds left to give up the lead for good. Virginia converted two fourth downs on the game-winning drive including the last one on a defensive holding penalty on cornerback Thomas Finnie.

Afterward, Golden called the loss "heartbreaking."

UM, which was minus two suspended starters (linebacker Eddie Johnson and receiver Rashawn Scott) and two injured starters (linebacker Denzel Perryman and safety Deon Bush), returns home next week to host USF.

We have to see if Bush and Perryman will be healthy enough to return, and if Johnson and Scott will be allowed back. Golden didn't elaborate on the status of either suspended player.

"We just got to keep fighting," Golden told WQAM after the game. "We can't go backwards here. We got to stay together. It's really important we don't splinter, we stay together."


> Freshman Duke Johnson pretty much solidified his spot as the ACC's Rookie of the Year. He ran for a season-high 150 yards on 16 carries, threw an 8-yard TD pass to Allen Hurns and returned a kickoff 95 yards for a score (the two kick returns in one season tied the school record). His 368 all-purpose yards in Saturday's game helped him surpass Edgerrin James, Graig Cooper, Chuck Forman, Santana Moss and Lamar Miller for all-purpose yards in a season. Johnson now has 1,688 total yards on the season. Willis McGahee holds the UM record with 2,108 in a season.

Yet, it somehow still wasn't enough.

Fisch turned to Johnson with the game on the line -- with UM facing a 3rd and 6 at the Cavaliers 49-yard line with under three minutes to play. Johnson only got two yards on the carry and the Hurricanes had to punt. But Saturday's loss was hardly Johnson's fault.

"The last 3rd and 5, I wanted the ball in his hands, thought he would be able to get us in there," Golden said. "We didn't and had to punt the ball. Duke gave great effort. Last couple of weeks he's been healthy, preparing better. He's really playing hard for us right now."

UM's defense gave up 482 yards of total offense including 388 through the air as Virginia's two QBs Michael Rocco and Phillip Sims combined to go 40 of 51 passing in the game. That's a 78 percent completion percentage. Rocco was completing just 58.2 percent of his attempts coming in. Sims was completing 55.8 percent of his passes.

By giving up 41 points, UM's defense has now surrendered 312 points on the season -- just two shy of the previous UM worst set by the 1984 and 2008 defenses. The Canes have already given up 4,896 yards in all. The previous worst was 4,369 yards (1997).

The records for most yards allowed rushing (2,492, 1944) and passing (2,695, 2009) are well within reach with two games to go. The Canes have now given up 2,310 yards rushing and 2,586 passing after Saturday's loss.

> Gionni Paul ended up leading UM with a career-high 14 tackles. With Perryman and Johnson out, Paul and Jimmy Gaines (12 tackles) saw extensive playing time. Paul was beaten by Jake McGee for the game-winning touchdown pass.

"Obviously we left some guys home that could have helped us here today," Golden said. "We got to get off the field more on third down or the play count gets too high. The play count got really high on us. We didn't have the depth we need right now at the linebacker position and it showed late."

> Defensive end Anthony Chickillo produced his first sack in six games and helped along with Curtis Porter to produce a safety on Rocco in the fourth quarter when it was ruled he intentionally grounded the ball while jumping back towards the end zone. Chickillo was later credited with his second sack on that play.

Despite his effort Saturday, it's clear the Hurricanes need Chickillo -- and other pass rushers -- to be more productive consistently. Virginia's QBs rarely felt the heat on third and fourth down. The Cavaliers were also 6 of 6 in the red zone with 6 TDs against Miami. The Hurricanes have now given up 33 touchdowns in 54 red zone trips this season.

> Freshman Rayshawn Jenkins didn't start for the Hurricanes at safety, but finished third on the team with eight tackles. Jenkins and Bush are the future for UM at safety and D'Onofrio might consider playing both together in Miami's final two regular season games -- assuming Bush will be back.

> Cornerback Ladarius Gunter continues to impress in pass coverage. He had three of UM's five pass breakups. Most of Virginia's successful passes went in the direction of Finnie, freshman Tracy Howard and over the middle against UM's linebackers, who were out of position on many plays. 

> A week after going 1 for 12 on third down versus Virginia Tech, UM finished 4 of 10. It's the last two third down attempts that will haunt them.

> Receiver Phillip Dorsett, who had just eight catches for 81 yards in his four previous games combined, finished with six catches for 103 yards and a touchdown.


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Heartbreaking loss today! On to the next lets beat South Florida.

Season is over no use thinking otherwise. This defense is dreadful. The Third down call with 6 yard to go and 2+ minutes to go cost us the game. Thats on the coaching staff.

Very tough loss....could have put it away in 2nd half and couldnt do it...the defense is what it is...offense needs to win these games.

You don't hand the ball up the middle to Superman on 3rd and 6 if there's even a remote chance you won't get it. You do everything you can to ensure the game is not left in the defense's hands. I haven't criticized play calling all year, but that call defied all good judgment. When you know you can't rely on your defense, you have to let the QB make a play and accept whatever happens on that throw.

A J Highsmith may need to find a new position on the field, because every game he is a yard to late or someone is catching a ball over him....or it could just be the D coordinator.

Thomas Finnie

Can someone explain to me how they are even on this team?

This is a team that was beat handedly by Georgia Tech at home, yet UM seems to always fold when the game is on the line. When it really matters- and against so-called inferior competition.

How can anyone stimulate these kids to play liek theres no tomorrowgame in game out? Oregon can do it, Alabama can do it. Why not these kids?

How can you go 3 and out 3 and out with the game on the line and run the ball like that KNOWING FULL WELL THAT DONOFRIOS DEFENSE CANT STOP MY GRAND MOTHER FROM GETTING OPEN?
They should have stayed aggressive. Pas the firggin ball like it was the 2nd quarter.

Now, even if we beat Duke its still going to be bitter sweet because it should have never come to this.

Donofrio has to be fired.

Fisch needs to be on the hot seat.

Any Joe Blow can come in here and be better than these clowns. Any one. Even me.

This kids are playing their hearts out. I agree, this one is on both coaches offense, and defense for not able to do anything with the ball. How can you lose to a two quaterback system team.

My emotions are all over the place watching and following this team. The defense is pathetic, the offense produces 31 points, special teams 7 and the defense 2. The Offense couldn't produce when it counted, the defense never did produce. Young players, poor schemes on defense, coaching, just don't have faith in this team.

For the first time I'm wavering on D'Nofrio. This is just maddening, ready to beat USF and take the bowl ban no matter what happens against Duke.

Don't know when I have been this disappointed with the coaching staff, I am still a believer in Golden but something on defense has to change. I love these kids and put my heart in the games hoping they come through, this is just tough to take.

BTW, Alachua County Detention Center U and Nopes can go to hell!

Nothing should be discussed but the release of D'Nofrio!! These kids play their hearts out without a competent DC to lead them. How many times have we seen teams do the same thing 100 times, over the middle today, without D'Nofrio knowing how to adjust these kids?? Youth is not an excuse he can be given. Golden said that at the begining of season. Rise up Miami and demand D'Nofrio be fired now so we have time for a professional DC to come in and recruit. Call in! protest! These kids and we deserve better!

I can't let this coaching staff off the hook folks! This is unacceptable.

Why not take at least one timeout on defense and get the D set for the final push once UVA gets to the redzone? We have an inexperienced and young defense but its the inexperienced coaching staff why we are 5-5.

22 games into his tenure at UM and I am not impressed with Golden. He's a better overall head coach than RS and probably a better fit for the program, but he came from the MAC and right now we look like a MAC team.

Folks, UVA was 3-6 coming into this game and they were 2pt favorites! No one believes in us and its going to be hard for me to fly down from ATL and take my son to the USF game. If not for him, I'd check out on this season after this BS loss at fricking UVA!

Actually I mis-spelled D'Onofrio's name, what ever the spelling his D is not working! Duhhhhhhhhh

If a fan says "man they're passing all day, everyone's open". Then I wonder what the defensive coordinator is thinking? If the middle of the field was open all day, did he evwn try to make adjustments

Welcome to the 2nd coming of the Randy Shannon era! 11 & 11 is Golden record through 22 games. I agree with the other bloggers Finnie & Highsmith are some of the worse DB this program has ever had.

Please can we have Butch Davis back!This coaching staff sucks,defensive cordinator my ass!SWALLOW your pride UM Butch is the man to put this team back on the map.Who did it last time we were on probation?

Mark D'Onofrio's SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Some folks, after the VA Tech win, no doubt had hopes for maybe an 8-4 season. I did. But after yesterday frankly this team will finish with a losing season. Don’t need to worry about bowl eligibility. The excuses of injuries and a “young team” are no longer acceptable. It is clear that this defense is poorly coached and/or simply lacking any real talent. Take your pick

I wonder if the thought occurred to D’Onofrio to call a time out before the last play, since time wise it really didn’t matter. Gather his defense and remind his safeties to play deep in the end zone and not let the receiver get behind them, especially the 6’-5” McGee. Awfully difficult to make up ground and then get into position for good vertical elevation when your too far in front of the play. Déjà vu, same play that made the game close, wins the game. Unbelievable.

Since Shalala’s arrival the athletic programs at the U have been mired in mediocrity. Football continues down that path, a basketball team with a worn out has-been coach but lots of talk about getting to the NCAA tourney only to lose to a D2 program and a once venerable baseball program that has been on a downward slide since 2008 with no improvement in sight.

This administration, and apparently along with its Trustees, have NO commitment to athletic excellence to go with its alleged commitment to academic excellence.

I could rant about the crap play calling on the last two offensive drives…but why bother.

So, folks in Development don’t bother sending this Alum your annual ask. Isn’t going to happen. If Notre Dame can find the right coaches that in their third year can take a team to No. 4 and undefeated, the U can do the same if it chooses. Apparently Shalala and company choose not to.

"We just got to keep fighting," Golden told WQAM after the game. "We can't go backwards here. We got to stay together. It's really important we don't splinter, we stay together”. REALLY? Good luck with that Al!

This does beyond disappointment…its flat out deep despair! Wonder how the U’s increasingly crap athletics is affecting enrollment?

MIAMI HURRICANE FANS SUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




Said yesterday...meant today

This has to be as disappointing as it gets. How can we get beat on the same play in the end zone twice!!! Great group of kids, but I have to agree where is the leadership??? Its late in the season for the D to still be this out of sight.

We should? win the next 2 games. Take the bowl ban, a 7-5 season for a team like this really is not all bad. I would never have guessed after BC game we had a shot at 7 wins. I'm not, NOT saying this is acceptable, but reality is what it is. All we can do is hang on through the sanctions, and hope to come out on the other side getting better. This TEAM, except for a handful of players, is not that good. What can you say, BEAT S. F.

Disappointing to say the least! With a 10 point lead you lose the game? The “D” was MIA. What were the coaches thinking? Come On Man!

Coaches were not thinking and that's the problem with this staff.

First on offense with 3 and 6, why not try to make a 1st down? Handing off to Duke up the middle basically says I'm putting this game on my young and inexperienced defense to make a stop! Now what kind of call is that?

Secondly, you just need to call one damn timeout to get the defense set. How do you NOT do that?

Finally, we deserve a better coaching staff than one that is learning on the job!

Brutal. Just brutal.

The white guy with the tie screwed the Hurricanes. P.S you people screw up a lot

You can put this loss squarely on the sholders of QB. his 3rd down efficiency and 2 min. skills are atrocious. He may be the best AG has but for him to say he is satisfied with SM progress leaves me to doubt if AG is the coach we think he will be.


What's Florida Gaytors excuse for almost losing to a community college football team.

This old skool Cane right here, this is exactly what we need somebody to do to the guy who's suppose to be in charge of running/coordinating our defense here:


Also, what i don't understand is, why when the defense was looking confused on at least 2 snaps, we don't use a time-out, lol, they'll probably say, "we didn't want to stop the clock", lol, see what that strategy got you, if you're calling defensive plays trying to rely on the clock to run out, you get what we got today.

Also, why do we have all these linebackers in the game at that period in time when you know full well the cavaliers were not going to run the ball, lol. so we're expecting gionni paul to be able to go airborne and make a play on that pass, lol.

I would've had my safeties sitting in the middle of the field, everybody else in straight man coverage. I'm not sure why vaughn telelmaque is not in the game, after kacy rodgers let that receiver get behind him the touchdown before that he would've been a spectator the rest of the game had i been the coach. If guys are just going to stare at the qb's eye's and than try and react without locating a receiver, that's either sad coaching or sad football awareness, either way, one or both of those issues wil cause you to give up points let and right.

D'Onofrio has to go. He is just horrible. I am a 40 year Cane Fan and this is the worst defense I have ever seen at Miami. I am so tired about hearing how young we are, or how we are missing starters. Here is a hint for you, this is college football, everybody is young. You could be 10years old and never have played football and know that all Virginia was going to do was throw the ball down the middle of the field. Letting them complete 40 of 52 passes in a game is just sorry. Can you ever see LSU or FSU letting somebody complete 4 of every 5 passes. We make everybody who plays us look like they have a Heisman Trophy Winner on thier team. We can't stop High School teams. I love the Canes and I am with them through it all but enough is enough. How can you expect our players to get better when our coaches stink so bad. D'Onofrio has to GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What really seems to be the problem here is that the fans are restless. This team is still young and they still have a lot of growing to do. At the beginning of the season, many fans were saying they'd be lucky to win 4 games, well, they surpassed that and still have 2 more games to play. Even if they go 6-6 they're still much better than last year's team with all that so called experience. This team is still growing, last year's team finished a they're peak. If they do go 7-6 and are in line to go to the championship game, according to the ACC that is considered post season play and then would be required to play in a post season bowl. I wonder if they could decline the ACC championship game, if, they go 7-6, thus, declining a bowl game as well? One additional question is with all of this declining bowl games is it really going to lessen the penalty from the NCAA? What if they decide to hammer the U anyway?

the 3rd and 6 play call was not as bad as the 1 and 10 pass call on that series which went incomplete and made it much more difficult to get 10 yards running with 2 downs left....most important it failed to allow the clock to keep running down for atleast another 30 seconds was most costly... hope the coaches do batter job in the end game and give thess players a chance to win

all are well said our defense stinks and our best defense is ofense and it was not used well

I feel bad for the kids on this team. They played their hearts outs. The coaches failed them. The loss of Deon Bush, Eddie Johnson, Rashawn Scott, and Denzel Perryman was too much to overcome.

I know art kehoe keeps signing off on this staff, but i know he knows he's going to have to start speaking up for the players, kehoe's guys have handled basically every team on the schedule that was suppose to be tuff. kehoe has all these 1st time starters but never makes excuses and just has the o-line unit executing at a high level. I like goldie to myself, but when i'm reading him saying this:

"The last third and 5, I wanted the ball in his hands, thought he would be able to get us in there," Golden said. "We didn't and had to punt the ball. Duke gave great effort. Last couple of weeks he's been healthy, preparing better. He's really playing hard for us right now."

That's a problem when the headcoach is thinking silly like that. Stay out of jedd fisch's way and let it all be on jedd fisch. goldie has been involved with the offense a lil bit to much this whole season, particularly during that Fsu game is when i really noticed it. That's how you end up with only 4 rushing attempts in the whole 2nd half against Fsu.

A "word to the not so wise" there is only one side of the ball that you need to be meddling in, i know, you know, the whole of college football knows, how many leads in 2 years d owe have to see keep being evaporated before somebody does the right thing.

I order those who have the last bit of nevin shapiro's money left to use it on a plane and fly the banner, the usf game is normally when it's done anyway, right on time and the time is now.

When you playing in a zone defense, of course it's going to confuse the secondary, that's what bunch formations do, especially when you got linebackers trying to cover wide-outs, the whole defense is guessing out there, in zone, you guess wrong, you lose.

golide is talking about "play counts" man, is this baseball or football. Than he keeps talking about how duke johnson is continuing to work hard and this and that, man duke was going to be doing his thang whether goldie was here or not, stop trying to sack ride off that man.

Just like the turtle game last year, we had enuff talent to win that game as well. But when you letting a team throw to the flats all day long, all these guys came up under al groh, goldie, his boy, mike london so they all know the run the same sissy defense, so they all keep getting torched. Than we'll hear goldie try and tell us how good this 3-6 Virginia was, but than in the next breath he'll quote bill parcells about "you are what your record is", which one is it, and why is it, we keep hearing how good all these sorry teams are.

I see where this is going, eitherthis coaching staff better get 10 mo duke johnson's or it's about time for them to be dismissed from duty. I think tommy tuberville might be on his way out, because the media is going to drag what he did in the ground, so what, we need him here before goldie's boy leaves, he needs the same thing as well as goldie for hiring em.

A lot of fair weather fans here....with this talent level, and the youth, and the missing players - this is what happens. This is not the end of the road, just a spot on the road. UM is digging out of a deep deep hole, and if it weren't for this coaching staff - defense included - we wouldn't be competitive at all. This is what happens when a program degrades as far as we did. Temple had three tough years before this staff got it going, and this is a tougher conference. Stay patient - next year - we'll see something.

I feel bad for the kids on this team. They played their hearts outs. The coaches failed them. The loss of Deon Bush, Eddie Johnson, Rashawn Scott, and Denzel Perryman was too much to overcome.

Posted by: northmiamicane | November 10, 2012 at 06:31 PM

Naw, don't let this coaching staff off the hook, they can't use this, all these same players were here when we gave up abot these same amount of points to Georgia tech, NC St. kansas st. notre shame, boston college and now Virginia.

With or without those players, this game should've been over with. A lesson in college football, you're only as good as your coordinators and head coach intervening. giving the ball to duke johnson on that type of play, whoever idea it was need to be tommy tubbervilled!

The three loser coaches and morris are splinters to this program! They will be loserd as long as these jokers are around.

I was at the game and I said it before, so I'll say it again...... There is NO PLAYER DEVELOPMENT on this team. Chickillo is tied for the team lead in sacks!?!? A freshman (Duke Johnson) keeps us in the game offensively!?!? no one (and I mean NO ONE) on defense has a clue on coverage. Too many times I saw mass substitutions on defense only to give up 3rd and long. I think we need to hear the critics of Randy Shannon to be equally harsh on Al Golden and his coaching staff because this looks similar to Shannon's tenure. I not going to say race is involve here, but why is it that Al is getting a pass when Randy was being question in his 3rd year?


Miami apologists have been saying wait til next year for a decade. We're not the Cubs.

I don't care how far the talent level has degraded (which is partially Golden's fault), losing to UVA IS NOT ACCEPTABLE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. Golden has still yet to beat that sorry basketball school; I have zero faith that this will turn around next year. Miami's defenders aren't just young; they also STINK. If it was just youth. We would see some improvement by now. They made a below average ACC QB look like Peyton Manning.

I see ya big Cal

Shalalalala has to be happy with this game!

Tough loss.
Not really, I told you so.
I said you girls would find a way to screw this up.
Boy did you come though!
On the bright side, Duke is a heck of a player
I would say if it weren't for him you would have at least two more losses.
Your D is on track to break all sorts of records, for worst D ever.
Reminds me of Joke-ory and his INTs record.
Next up another pansie, yet you will still struggle to win. It's who you are. Pathetic.

D'onofrio, I hope you're watching alabama vs a&m, maybe u can learn how a top notch defense works.

Shalalala is killing my school. So she brought our ranking from top 50 to top 40, but at this cost?
Golden, be a man, apologize for f-ing up on the clock! I mean, geez, we had three timeouts when the game ended and we were on D!

Time to realize this is a program that is slowly dying. With sanctions on the way, it's only going to get worse. Just too much adversity to overcome anymore. Shut it down.

Womens Volleyball: Sha-la-la has Obama as her priority

UM football/baseball has deteriorated since she became Pres in 2001; this Lib-loon cares not about football

Hey, Johnny,
I hope you meant A&M,s defense and not Alabama's.

That defense is horrible! We made Virgina look like the cowboys of hhe 90's.

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