Monday, June 18, 2018
Colleges

No last-second magic needed

MIAMI GARDENS — By Miami’s new standards, this game was decided early.

That means with a couple minutes to spare.

Travis Homer’s 33-yard touchdown run with 2:48 left was the latest entry in No. 8 Miami’s growing list of fourth-quarter magic moments this season, and the Hurricanes extended their longest win streak in 15 years by holding off Syracuse 27-19 on Saturday.

"Well, we found another way to make it really exciting," Miami coach Mark Richt said. "Part of the reason was Syracuse is a really good football team. … We, for some reason, can’t find a way to play really good on both sides of the ball at the same time."

The Hurricanes (6-0, 4-0 ACC) needed last-second plays to beat Florida State two weeks ago and Georgia Tech last week. This one wasn’t so down-to-the-wire, but had plenty of drama until Syracuse turned the ball over on downs near midfield with 1:31 left and Miami kneeled three times to run out the clock.

Malik Rosier threw for 344 yards and two touchdowns for Miami, which has won 11 straight and has won its first four ACC games for the first time since joining the league in 2004. Christopher Herndon had a career-best 10 catches for 96 yards and a touchdown and Jeff Thomas caught a 48-yard TD pass for the Hurricanes, who haven’t had a win streak this long since winning 34 straight from 2000-02.

"It’s always a good feeling to win," Homer said. "But seeing your team stay strong and pull through, it’s the best. … We’re 6-0, but that’s not our final goal. That’s not going to get to our head."

Cole Murphy kicked four field goals for Syracuse (4-4, 2-2), including a career-best 53-yarder with 5:23 left to get the Orange within 20-19. But Miami answered with a nine-play, 85-yard drive capped by Homer’s TD run that helped the Hurricanes escape.

Miami harassed Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey throughout, intercepting four of his first-half passes and holding him to a 13-of-41, 137-yard effort. His last hope was a fourth-and-7 try on the last Orange drive, but his throw to Ervin Philips was incomplete and Syracuse — which topped defending national champion Clemson last week — fell short of pulling off a second straight upset.

"There’s a lot of positives," Syracuse coach Dino Babers said. "It’s just, it’s hard to swallow when you don’t win.

"We’re 4-4, we’ve got the toughest schedule in the country and we’re 4-4. And guess what? We’ve got two more on the road and two more at home in the loud house and I guarantee you we’re going to be ready to play those four games."

Notable: Miami receiver Ahmmon Richards returned from a hamstring issue and had six catches for a team-best 99 yards. … Rosier is 7-0 as a starter, and completed 26 of 43 passes. …Homer, held in check most of the day, finished with 95 yards.

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