CHICAGO — Miami might be better than anyone expected, but the Hurricanes proved Saturday night they're not ready for prime time.
Facing No. 9 Notre Dame before a national television audience and a packed house at Soldier Field, Miami suffered an embarrassing 41-3 defeat to snap a three-game win streak.
Notre Dame entered the game ranked No. 95 in total offense but had its way against a Miami defense that has proved inept all season long.
The Irish turned a 13-3 halftime lead into a rout by steamrolling the Hurricanes in the third quarter, scoring on each of their three possessions while piling up 197 rushing yards on 19 carries. Notre Dame threw twice in the quarter and completed both.
Cierre Wood and George Atkinson each rushed for more than 100 yards, giving Notre Dame a pair of 100-yard rushers for the first time since 2002. The Irish finished with 376 rushing yards, their most in a game since 2000.
Notre Dame, which hasn't trailed all season, didn't have much trouble throwing the ball, either. Redshirt freshman Everett Golson, who began the game on the bench, was 17-of-22 for 186 yards and added 51 rushing yards before leaving after three quarters.
"No excuses," UM coach Al Golden said. "We lost our poise at times. We didn't play well in this environment. That's my fault. We have to get it fixed."
For Miami's defense, getting pushed around is nothing new. UM went in ranked near the bottom in virtually every important defensive category and was coming off one of the worst performances in school history, allowing North Carolina State to pile up 664 yards of total offense last week.
In their past three games, the Hurricanes have given up more than 1,500 yards. UM has yet to hold a Division I foe to fewer than 32 points.
"I really don't know what it is," middle linebacker Denzel Perryman said. "I don't know what's going on in guys' heads mentally. I don't know if it was the cold weather getting to them or just (mental mistakes) on the field."
While UM's defense was dreadful Saturday, the normally high-powered offense wasn't much better.
Facing a Notre Dame defense that has allowed only 39 points in five games, UM struggled mightily on the ground and through the air.
Stephen Morris completed 18 of 35 passes for only 201 yards but didn't get much help from his teammates. UM receivers dropped at least six passes while the running game generated 81 yards. Miami was also penalized nine times for 76 yards.
Notre Dame has gone 12 consecutive quarters without allowing a touchdown and has not permitted a rushing score all season.
"They're not ranked No. 9 for no reason," receiver Phillip Dorsett said. "They took it to us."