MIAMI — Lamar Miller ran for 102 yards and two touchdowns, Tommy Streeter caught two scoring passes and Miami used a series of quick scores to shake off a dreadful early start and beat Bethune-Cookman 45-14 on Saturday.
All five of Miami’s offensive touchdown drives took under 2 minutes — two of them checking in at 10 seconds or less. Jacory Harris completed 12 of 17 passes for 175 yards for Miami (2-2).
Bethune-Cookman (2-2) was facing a major-college opponent for the first time in its 86-year history, and took an early 7-0 lead when Jackie Wilson found Eddie Poole with a 1-yard touchdown pass. The Wildcats kept that edge until midway through the second quarter, when Miami got touchdowns from Streeter and Miller to take the lead for good.
The final score said blowout. In actuality, it was anything but. For 22 minutes, Bethune-Cookman seemed like too much for Miami to handle. Bethune-Cookman quarterback Jackie Wilson completed 21 of 31 passes for 180 yards. The Wildcats held nearly a 2-to-1 edge in time of possession and outgained Miami 422-335. The Hurricanes, who return to Atlantic Coast Conference play at Virginia Tech next week, didn’t grab full control until early in the fourth quarter, when Streeter and Harris connected on a 27-yard touchdown for a 31-14 lead. Eduardo Clements added a 1-yard run later in the period, and Kelvin Cain’s 59-yard interception return with 2 minutes left completed the scoring.
By then, the Bethune-Cookman sideline was largely silent. A couple hours earlier, it was a decidedly different scene from the Football Championship Subdivision school, which accepted a $400,000 payday to make the bus trip from Daytona Beach to Miami. For a little while, it seemed like the Wildcats would be leaving with more than a big check. Helped by two penalties, including one when Miami had 12 players on the field while lining up to receive a punt, the Wildcats went 70 yards in 12 plays to start the game. On 1st-and-goal from the Miami 6, Bethune-Cookman running back Rodney Scott burst through the line, but inches from the end zone, he lost two things.
One, his helmet. Two, the football.
Sean Spence and JoJo Nicholas were part of a scrum that caught Scott just in time, and the Hurricanes took over. But Bethune’s hopes of scoring first weren’t denied, just delayed. Wilson and Eddie Poole connected for a 1-yard touchdown with 4:05 left in the opening quarter, a drive helped nicely by Anthony Jordan bowling his way through safety Vaughn Telemaque for a 27-yard gain on a 1st-and-23 call.
Not only were the Wildcats winning early, but they were downright dominant in the process. Miami running back Mike James, stopped twice around the goal line in the final moments of last week’s loss to Kansas State, was stuffed on fourth-and-1 from the Bethune-Cookman 29 late in the first quarter, a play that had Wildcats coach Brian Jenkins leaping and pumping his arms. With good reason, too. After 15 minutes, Bethune-Cookman held a 7-0 edge in first downs, a 137-39 edge in yards — and a 7-0 lead on the scoreboard.
Eventually, Miami found a way to breathe some life into a largely empty, highly concerned stadium. Streeter hauled in a 56-yard catch from Harris — a one-play touchdown drive — with 7:16 left in the half, tying the game. Travis Benjamin’s 44-yard punt return less than 2 minutes later, followed by a pass interference penalty, set up what technically was another one-play touchdown drive, a 3-yard run by Miller to give the Hurricanes the lead. Combined, those drives took 19 seconds. By comparison, Miami’s next scoring drive was a marathon, a three-play series that went 59 yards, the last 43 of them on Miller’s run 1:13 into the third quarter, putting the Hurricanes up 21-7.
Even then, the Wildcats weren’t finished. Wilson’s 3-yard touchdown run midway through the third cut the Miami lead to 21-14. Jake Wieclaw’s 30-yard field goal pushed the Hurricanes’ edge back to double digits entering the fourth, and when Harris and Streeter connected on their second touchdown play of the game, Miami was up 31-14 with 13:13 left and many fans began leaving. Miami may have endured a key loss late in the first quarter, when linebacker Ramon Buchanan left with an injured right knee and did not return.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||7-18||3-9|
|4th Down Conversions||2-3||0-1|