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Golden credits defense for bending, not breaking against UNC

UM coach Al Golden spoke with WQAM broadcaster Don Bailey Jr. after Thursday night's thrilling 27-23 come-from-behind win at North Carolina.

Golden called the victory "a gutsy win" and lamented UM's four turnovers. But he also praised the overall defensive effort, the MVP performance from Dallas Crawford, the blocked field goal by freshman Artie Burns and the guts Miami showed on its game-winning drive late.

The Hurricanes (6-0, 2-0 in ACC play) lost running back Duke Johnson (head), safety Kacy Rodgers (ankle) and receiver Phillip Dorsett (knee) to injuries. Golden told ESPN he thought Johnson would be okay, but didn't discuss the other injuries.

Crawford, Thursday night's hero, said of his game-winning TD run: "Four yards out, I just knew I can't be denied. It's what you work out for, what you live for -- situations like that. I just knew I couldn't be denied."

The Hurricanes won despite a lot of ugliness. This was the third straight game UM turned the ball over four times. Stephen Morris threw four interceptions and simply looked off his game, finishing 19 of 35 for 322 yards, but nearly costing UM the game.

"Again, we got to take care of the football," Golden said. "We have to improve by taking care of the turnovers. But really gutsy by the defense to overcome four turnovers. 23 points on 80 plays and four turnovers. What does that say about the defense? Again, I know we have to fix some things. We let [North Carolina tight end Eric] Ebron get into the secondary too much. I know all that. At the end of the day they only scored 23 points on 80 plays and you give them four turnovers -- it says a lot about how tough they finish drives. Every time they intercepted or held them to a field goal that kept us in the game. If any of those go to 14 or 17 that thing is running away from us."

Golden praised Crawford not only for his running, but his blocked punt as well. Burns had the blocked field goal that led to UM's first touchdown.

"Artie Burns -- what can you say?," Golden said. "He shaved the outside leg, laid up, not out. I'm just proud of him man. We needed that. That takes away one of the interceptions when you score on defense. Just proud of the effort we gave."

As for Crawford, UM's hero with two late touchdowns and a career-high 137 yards on 33 carries, Golden said the team put the game on his back.

"And he wanted it," Golden said. "He never got cautious with the football. He continued to see the same reads, made the same cuts with confidence. I'm real proud of him and real proud of OT [Eduardo Clements], who came in when he got tired there and made a couple big runs."

Miami marched 90 yards on 13 plays for the game-winning drive.

"Are you kidding me? To do that on the road you got something in your bowels, you got a foundation to work off of," Golden said. "I'm proud of those guys."

Miami's defense gave up 500 yards including 395 through the air, but came up with two huge turnovers.

"Is it pretty? Do you want to walk out of here with 500 yards or whatever? No," Golden said. "[But] think of it in terms of possessions because of the turnovers. To end up holding them to 23 [points] says a lot about red zone defense and our stamina and conditioning. To hang in there, not let them in. Look, we'll fix a lot of things when we get back to Coral Gables. But make no mistake this is a big win for the Miami Hurricanes."

Cornerback Tracy Howard came in with one career interception. He had two Thursday including a huge one in the fourth quarter to stop a UNC drive at the UM 10.

"Tracy's got a good sense for football, a good football mind," Golden said. "We're just going to keep coaching him on just making sure he's playing the defense. I know he missed the tackle on Ebron on the big one [71-yard touchdown]. We'll get him coached him up on that. Again, give them credit. They were hyped. They were ready. That was a turkey shoot for awhile there. But you're going to have this during the year. If you want to be a good team you got to maybe not play your best or not execute your best and find a way to win. We found a way to win."

What is Golden most proud of leaving Chapel Hill?

"What I said. We played until four zeroes [showed on the clock] and we had every opportunity along the way to say 'Well, it's not our night' or not have the courage to finish. They chose to deserve victory," Golden said. "That's what they chose. They chose to win, stay together, fight, stand their ground until the end and because of that they gave themselves an opportunity to win the game."

Golden had told the team in Wednesday night's meetings the Hurricanes were going to have to fight until the very end to beat North Carolina (1-5).

"If they weren't believers before I told them just now in the locker room by the time you land you'll be a believer," Golden said. "We knew what we were going to face here tonight. This was a circle the wagons game tonight for them. This was all the energy you can absorb and then try to fight back. So it was a good win for our guys."

Here is what offensive lineman Jonathan Feliciano said after the win on Twitter...


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Jonathan Feliciano @MongoFeliciano
"You think the darkness is your ally.... We were born in the dark" #6-0
12:34 AM - 18 Oct 2013

Great quote!

I honestly believe that some Miami fans are happy with a "bowl eligible" number of wins or maybe a 9-3 season even if the wins were against unranked teams or second tier teams or high school teams from south Florida.

Canesjunkie, I respectfully disagree. If Morris is injured, and it is leading to him throwing high on every throw deep, and throw short on every close throw, and he cannot correct it, then for the good of the team he should move aside and heal.

He has played poorly in two straight conference games. Scouts see that, and they see that he is not willing to compensate. He is actually hurting his draft stock more by playing injured than by admitting there is a problem.

And know that I am not a Morris basher by any stretch, I am looking at the results, not the name on the back.

The play calling by the offensive coordinator was AWFUL!! No wonder that Jimbo would not let him call the plays at FSU. Our loss is their gain. The U needed to replace Morris after the 2nd interception .

Rick is a moron gator impersonator. WE ARE NOT A BALL CONTROL TEAM! We average 2 min per scoring drive and have for years. U should know that.yea morris played bad lastnight and duke needs to stop blocking with his neck, but in the last quater when it counted the offense and defense showed up! I personally dont like those comeback games,except for the fact it shows we have the ability, 6-0 is better than5-1 or 4-2 for that matter....ask muschamp. This team doesnt quit and that counts for something.
UCF wins tonight and they will be ranked too. Lowly rick,gallo,jlo,72 gators will be fourth best in the state.....lmao!

Ebron was a man amongst boys. Just a beast. The Canes have some pretty good tight ends also, but don't utilize them enough. Whenever SMo does throw to them, they are wide open in the middle or the flats. SMo has to read, and use the whole field. He obviously has the arm to throw outside the numbers, but teams are preparing for that now.--- No one can convince that the D-End for UNC wasn't offside on that second SMo int. THE ACC HAS THE WORST OFFICIALS IN THE COUNTRY!!!

For example, can you name one throw that he had deep that was too low? And how many were tipped at the line of scrimmage or even worse hit a lineman in the back of the head? He was not using touch passing, every throw was hard and high and if the receiver was not wide open and could adjust, it was an overthrow.

He did not use to throw that poorly, so it is either that this adjustment Coley made in his throwing motion has led to a loss of low velocity pass ability (not likely), or each throw is being made with a twinge of pain that is making him put a bit more on the pass than it needs.

Don't even look at the misses. His first three completions were line of scrimmage quick tosses to the outside. All three hit the reciever hard, so hard they had to adjust their bodies for them, and it led to smaller gains than if they had been caught in stride.

We won, but it was closer than it needed to be thanks to his performance. If that was Morris at 80%, and he feels like he cannot get to 90% by FSU, then Coley should let Williams get some time in the Wake game so his first time out there is not in a desperate situation against FSU.

I have said it before, 100% and Senior Morris is better than 100% and Junior Williams. But this 80% Morris is endangering his team.


Rick, and the rest of you people dogging Morris here are some facts. He still has a 153 QB rating. He still has thrown for 9 TD's, he still has 1,275 passing yards, and even better 9.9 yard per attempt. And the Canes are still 6-0. Enough said.

Rick if you think we're a ball control team you have never watch the Canes play a game.

Canes are Good

FSU is Very Good

Gators are Good

The State of Florida Footbal is Great

6-0 is better than 4-2, that is true.

And it is true that this team likely loses that game even last year. But in the end, a tired Miami defense was able to hold, and a rested Carolina defense failed to hold.

Speaking of holding, the Ebron guy got caught blatently holding on a replay, and the announcers joked about it. If that had been a Miami player, they would have been screaming to high heaven about what a crime it was.

But I think you need to watch that replay again Mr. B. He timed his move right with the snap. Not offsides, but a smart play by him. Gotta give credit where due, he got the jump, ran through a hard facemask, and pressured Morris into an INT. And fortunately, whatever tell he was getting (the tap on the leg for example) got changed, because he didn't get that jump again.

You are right though, these ACC officials suck, thank God the replay showed the QB on his knees for AGES before throwing the pass, because without replay, those refs were going to gift UNC that completion. And after how they were spotting the ball for GT in the previous game and not calling holds on UNC but calling weak PI calls on us in this game, it seems we will continue to battle 15 on 11. Miracle was they called the obvious delay of game on UNC, they must have forgotten which team they were backing on that one. You could see how mad the UNC players and coaches were about them forgetting the plan, too.

I'm as big a Cane supporter as anyone else but last night wasn't good enough. Whether it's the ankle or just poor mechanics and decisions, it's time for Morris to sit. He just isn't improving and is close to single handedly ruining a damn good season. Williams should have been playing weeks ago, to give Morris time to heel. Right now he just isn't playing good football, not even average. He continues to make the same mistakes, can't risk the well-being of the team for one guy. Let Williams play until Morris is healthy or just playing better. We won't beat any solid teams with him playing like he's played the last three games.

The play calling by the offensive coordinator was AWFUL!!

Posted by: Bama SEC Bullies | October 18, 2013 at 08:41 AM

Agreed, until the last drive. He showed confidence in the run, did not panic, and did not have Morris throwing deep, even though the defense was keyed up for the run by the time we crossed midfield. No flash, just plain old smashmouth football, from a tired line and a underused running back.

Those moves from Crawford, where he would make two guys miss and turn zero yards into four, and four into ten, were awesome to see, but Coley gets credit for trusting him in there late. Of course it might be that he just didn't trust Morris in there late. It worked, that's what matters.

Last year, this team loses that game. In fact, they did when Williams threw an INT in the same situation against the same team. Thank God for Crawford.

It's great to have depth for a change. Backup safeties, backup receivers, backup linemen, and backup running backs came through for the Canes.

Calvin, what was this video about backups you were talking about? Portis? Can you put up a link? Thanks.

Cane27, we destroyed VT last yr, and I believe we will do it again this year. As far as FSU, Morris HAS to get better, and STOP trying to do too much. I think he was trying to show the NFL scouts what he could do, and it ended up hurting him, QUIT listening to the freaking media saying '34 scouts will be watching', that was stupid. Coley needs to open up out short/medium passing game, and for the LOVE OF GOD use out TE's. What the hell did we get them for if were not going to use them?

Poor play calling by offensive coordinator. You can have him back Jimbo.
After the 2nd interception , Williams should have replaced Morris.

Five Titles,

No worries, it's a forum.

I think Morris has had sloppy footwork this year. He scans the field with his eyes, not his feet. Morris is a different qb when he's moved off of his spot. I'm sure the ankle doesn't help but it's not the sole cause.

Not saying UM will win either game necessarily but I'm not sure why Florida State is seen as the "Big Game" (rivalry aside) for Miami and not Va Tech.

Both good teams, but give me the one with the freshman quarterback six days of the week and twice on Saturday.

AAYCE....why have U not ever been on this blog before if U are a supporter? We finished strong....offense and defense! A W is aW. Not happy with morris but neither was he! Surely he cant play that bad again. I think he was trying to impress scouts instead of winning and when it came down to the wire he forgot about the scouts. Props to the backup rbs.

And great to read Canes fans discussing the game, even when they disagree. Go back and read the in-game comments, that was great stuff. Won't even rip those that thought the game was over when we were down 10 and were without Duke and Rodgers and Dorsett. Very happy we won, and to see guys like True Cane and Jim (real Jim, not this Gallo copycat) discussing the game in detail.

Now on to Wake at home. We get an extra couple of days to prepare for them, too. We get to sit back and watch them against a 5-1 Maryland team first. Wake will likely be very up for our game just like UNC was, so we had better not look ahead and instead focus on their game.

It took Butch Davis 5 long years to get the Canes back to being elite. Halfway through Year 3, I think Golden has the Canes pointed in the right direction. It's easy to pinpoint the flaws on this team, but let's enjoy the process of watching this program continue to climb that mountain towards the top where they belong. I believe in Golden, and faithful Canes fans should, too.

21-16, he has been here before.

google eyeontheu AAYCE, you will see he has a few detailed comments here. Just sayin...

We did not win this game, We survived it. Either way the team kept fighting and showed canes nation that they will not go down without a fight. So lets be proud of this team and lets forgt about the stats on thursday. We r still undefeated!!!!Cant keep talking about the past... LETS LOOK TO THE FUTURE. canes needed this kind of game, to remind them what can happen if they do not stay focus

Well said, JAT. Just realize that we saw some big flaws in that game, more of a bazooka than a pinpoint, IMO.

people lets show canes some love for fighting for us..Game is over lets move on.. this is a big learning curve for the canes and they truly needed this experience to be able to win at FSU.


Its too late to bench Morris to get him better. I thought Golden had a window of 3 weeks after the injury but he didnt.

Remember last week when we were discussing Vinnie Testaverde? I know it won't be popular, but I am going to give credit to Morris for one thing. When it came down to crunch time, and we were driving on Penn State, VT audibled away from a running play to try to be the hero, cost us the game. In this case, Morris did not audible, and handed of to the hero instead.

For all his mistakes last night, he at least did not make the killer one at the end.

That kick block and return was so great to see. Will get replayed over and over like the Ed Reed touchdown against BC. Gamesaving, even that early.

And terrible block by Duke, turned his back, got hit in the skull. Even the UNC running back, when he got blown up on his block, at least was head up, and got in the way long enough to prevent the sack.

UNC was actively going for the knees all night, looks like that is going to be the new cheap shot in the NFL and NCAA.

I know our coaches are striving for a run/ pass balance, but, running the ball more to keep a no huddle offense like UNC's off the field perhaps would have been useful yesterday. We need more patience on offense and I hope our coaches would consider it.

I know we have been giving nothing but praise to the defense, but when multiple plays show two Canes defenders bouncing off each other in the open field, so miscommunication is going on that needs to be fixed immediately. Every team is going to run those exact plays to see if we drop to 9 on 11 again. And I don't blame them for trying it.

Yeh, that one might be a pinpoint, but it is a valid criticism nonetheless.

That is why we play the game! Winning 77-7 is boring, and a waste of time. These close games are why we love to play/coach/watch.

All you armchair qb's please STFU. The three main rivals in our division are VT, GT & UNC. No matter what their record might be, they will always give us their best shot. Last night's W was a growth pill that needed to be swallowed in order to handle games against FSU & VT. We will be alright!! Remember, this team is still learning how to win. 6-0 is a good way to start while learning week by week!!!

Good defense (not D'Os garbage) wins championships.

Good defense is:

FOUR down linemen, two over the guards, two outside the tackle or TE to prevent the end run. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER three down linemen, not even in the last 16 seconds of the game and 75 yards for UNC to win.

LB's no more than 3 yards from the line of scrimmage.

Well disguised blitz on almost every play.

Man to man pass coverage with two free safeties to help cover. But tight man to man coverage and blitzes and four down linemen will get Miami "coverage sacks."

Keep the other team on their own half of the field all game long.

Keep the other team from scoring more than 14 points.

Go back in time,it is 2001 and the best team to ever play college football is playing a conference game, on the road, in front of a hostile crowd. Playing a team that had no business of hanging with them but there they were driving inside the twenty, time running off the clock. Then a freak interception by a defensive lineman who hands the ball to Ed Reed who takes it back for a clinching touchdown to win the game and preserve an undefeated record. Games like this happen to the best of teams, they found a way to win, a 90 yard gut check of a drive to win the game with time running down, I'll take it.

Great second half adjustments on defense and offense. Ebron catches 14 passes for 144 yards and a TD in the first half and only two catches in the second half, one being on the last desperation drive.

The Offense completing two long drives in the 4qtr one at crunch time to win the game. An ugly game, yes, but a win nonetheless. I'll take it!And yes FSU is a rivalry game and the U plays well in Trailerhassee, so I expect a close game and yes I fully expect the U to beat Va.Tech!

Clemson two close games ,in conference, on the road at NC St. and BC. Had to come from behind with two td's in the 4qtr to beat a BC team that had no business being in the game. FSU giving up 34 points and 400 YARDS to BCon the road, in conference, it happens, if you follow football with half a brain some of you folks would know this!

Games like these is what makes team grow. Lets support the win and keep moving forward. We ned to show up to the VT and make noise, then Ill see u guys in charlotte....against clemson

no b[]_[]llshit ...

it's fun having the Canes at 6-0 as a 4-2 Gator after 7 weeks...

fsu 6-0 ?

seriously Arty, Al held the Ship together at the half.

Wake next huh ?

For five titles & HARRIET:


For five titles & HARRIET:


Posted by: Calvin | October 18, 2013 at 10:33 AM

My bad for jim gallo and the rest of the real True Miami Hurricanes!

"Then a freak interception by a defensive lineman who hands the ball to Ed Reed who takes it back for a clinching touchdown to win the game and preserve an undefeated record."

Great comparison, except I would not call that handing the ball off. He was stripped of the ball, plain and simple.

As for Ebron, yep, they adjusted to him all right, but even with that, his one-handed catch to get over 150 yards was impressive. For all the abuse of Morris this morning, their QB also could be said to have cost them the game, with his late INT and his bad throw on that play that would have been an easy TD for UNC.

Just saying, it wasn't like the UNC QB played flawlessly, either.

Here's a few observations
1) Gallo, you should still be in the penalty box for the Gator's defeat at the hands of the team you so love to trash. Get a life dirt ball
2) Morris, in direct competition with some of the very best college QB's in the country at the Peyton Manning Camp, was rated the highest based on his performance. His ankle injury os giving him fits. It is really interfering with his ability to step in.
3) We're not back but we damn sure are on our way.
4) Last time I checked the home team that was the recipient of four turnovers and ran 80 plays only scored 23 points. So lay off the defense.

When he looks down at the floor and laughs at them, followed by:

"You gotta change your thought process

Thanks for posting that Calvin!

And thanks to Crawford, Burns, Highsmith, and Burns for hearing him!

Perfect timing for him to call on the "backups" just before they were most needed.


Let's not forget, 6-0.

When Randy Shannon was the head coach, a young Stephen Morris threw some of the best footballs in college football. Like the game winner to Leonard Hankerson against Maryland. What additional skills have that young man developed under Al Golden? This is with, on paper, the most talented Miami team since 2001.

Posted by: ChampCane | October 18, 2013 at 12:48 AM

Anybody care to address this Truth, great post man! The way that last drive was called is the only way smo17 will be more productive and i'm hoping coach coley and coach goldie understand that now, all these passing formations are unecessary, let's line up, and find out if they can stop our running game, if not, than all teams should know exactly what they're going to get. They try to display and feature smo17 and he's not that type of qb who's going to take over a game.

I could care less what Unc's record was they got some real athletes over there on that team and like i said before the game, Unc had already played South Carolina, Georgia tech, Virginia tech so by the time they played East Carolina, they were ripe for the picking. But they had already played enuff physical games to keep them physical. I'm tired of us running this finess offensive crap, pound the ball.

Good win for Miami, but here's a fact, S.Morris will hurt Miami if he doesn't fix his ankle problem it showed big time he couldn't push off on his leg all night and should have been pull #2 Duke Johnson want last long because ever time he throws a block he leads with his head Its just a matter of time so enjoy him!!!27-23 Miami...

Posted by: greco9828 | October 18, 2013 at 01:42 AM

Here's where not hiring a guy like don soldinger back when you had the opportunity was a mistake. I got nothing against hurlie brown and he may just turn out to be a real solid runningbacks coach, we don't know yet, with soldinger, there were no unknowns. With that being said, i thought after the gaytor game duke would know not to use that going low technique with his head first, comes right back and doesn't last a quarter, under soldinger our runningbacks didn't have that problem, for you greco wrestler, that man is as big as cp:


so , Wake got a QB ?

Yeah I'll address it. WHY do you guys even root for Miami??? Why blog your thoughts to (as you say) us ignorant blind Cane fans, when WE ALREADY KNOW this anyway. Morris clearly is having issues, duhhhh great observation, WE ALL KNOW this, so you acting like your little crystal ball told you this is very telling. His ankle is part of it, and him trying to impress is another problem. He just needs to settle down, and Wake should give him that chance, because FSU will bring the heat, and that's where screens and draws will help.

We have a behemoth offensive line. That last drive was textbook perfect for that line. We need to continue to lineup and play smashmouth ball and stop running so many stretch plays. FSU and Virginia Tech defense are a lot like our old defense...fast and aggressive. We will lose yards on running plays if we run stretch plays against them. We have to man-up and run right at them. Let our big boys do what they do best GRIND!!!

I'm going to say this, it's an insult to say smo17 turned into j70 last night, that's a lie. When j70 threw his 4 picks, let's look at the True and factual circumstances.

Fact #1, jacory needed surgery on the joint between his thumb and index finger, so he was actually throwing with 4 fingers for the most part.

Fact#2, the dumb arse oc knowing this, still had j70 throw the ball 50 times, i mean, where they do that at, your starting qb has a jacked up hand and you still call 50 passing plays, that's what you call full imbecile mode right there.

Fact#3 jacory never played behind the type of o-line smo17 has had for 2 years now, if so, j70 would've broken almost all of the UM records but he would definitely be in 1st place stat wise.

Fact#4 jacory understood ho to manipulate and deliver balls out of the pocket and he's way more accurate than smo17. Also no matter who we played, jacory showed up, and the stage was never to big for em, it was just to big for his oc's. And once j70 got injured from playing in that stupid under center, empty backfieldset, he became a lil gun shy.

Fact#5 Jacory never played with this many offensive weapons at one time and had he been the qb last night in that game, he would've picked Unc apart. clive walford and sandman would be way more involved, when smo17 is qb'ing, he's like a bad point guard that can't pass, so guys like walford & sandman don't run the fastbreak as hard, had j70 been there qb, they would be sure to break out and get open cause they know the ball is actually coming. Had j70 been in that game last night Unc would've gotten tore up!

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