Miami fans are being taken for quite the ride lately.
The Hurricanes are an impressive 6-0 with wins over Florida State, Georgia Tech, Duke and now Syracuse, but the last three weeks have had quite the drama.
The latest case, a 27-19 victory over the Orange at home, should never have gotten as close as it did. The Canes were up 20-6 late in the third quarter before Syracuse started closing the gap with field goal after field goal. After a 9-0 run by the Orange — made possible by a gutsy showing from quarterback Eric Dungey — the pressure was back on Miami to keep the ball away from Syracuse for the final five and a half minutes.
The offense delivered with a 33-yard touchdown run from Travis Homer to go up by eight, then relied on the defense to halt a potential game-tying drive.
This has become a disturbing trend for Miami coach Mark Richt. Last week the Hurricanes required a late comeback against Georgia Tech after falling behind 24-13 in the third quarter. They pulled out a win thanks in part to a ridiculous catch from Darrell Langham to put Miami in field goal range. The Canes came through with the winning kick with four seconds left.
Against Florida State a week before that, the Hurricanes found themselves in a shootout with the Seminoles as the teams combined for 24 points in the fourth quarter. Langham was the hero there too with a 23-yard touchdown pass with six seconds left in the fourth quarter for the win.
A win is a win, right? But these games are getting way too close to down the stretch for Miami fans to feel really good about. The Hurricanes are undefeated and enjoying one of their best seasons in years. They’ve also likely aged their coaches and fans by a decade or two over the last few weeks.
Next week Miami goes on the road to 1-7 North Carolina. If ever there was a team to practice closing out against, the Tar Heels are it.
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