The Cougars tacked on an insult-to-injury field goal after taking possession with:26 left in the half; back-to-back penalties costing Miami 23 yards and setting up a gimme 25-yard field goal.
The Hurricanes tried to catch the Cougars off guard, when running back Joseph Yearby threw a pass, but instead the pass was wobbly and had no power behind it. Yearby was the same player that had just fumbled the ball minutes before.
First the Hurricanes had a potential tying touchdown – a 5-yard pass from Brad Kaaya to wide receiver Stacy Coley – negated by a block-in-the-back penalty on receiver Herb Waters. “I thought the offense started pretty quick and defense started slow”, Leach said. Snow fell heavily during portions of the game, and the offenses struggled going against the wind.
“Singing, dancing, I’m the guy who does the “Ay ay ay ay” part”, Leach said of his line in the traditional Cielito Lindo song. The offensive line returns all 10 players who saw action, and another year of developement could greatly help. “So if somebody is going to win the game, it might as well be you”. The Cougars capitalized with an easy 25-yard touchdown pass to redshirt junior receiver Gabe Marks with 1:10 left in the half. Mark Walton would finish the drive on the ensuing play to cut the lead by six after a touchdown run.
The Canes got a quick spark early in the fourth quarter when Braxton Berrios picked up 60 yards on a 1st-and-10 run from the Miami 35-yard line. The Sun Bowl was the most-watched bowl game of the weekend.
When filling out my college bowl pool predictions every year, I try to go with teams that are thrilled to be there as opposed to teams that would prefer to be somewhere else.
The team continued into the training facility and the marksmanship center, where they had the chance to go through the same training simulations that the Army personnel on site use. Theyre a unique challenge for us.Just as important for WSU was the improvement of its defense.
They played without rushing leader Jalen Richard. In fact, Miami shut out the nation’s top passing offense the final two quarters.
Kaaya finished the game with 219 yards, 17 for 31 (completions), a touchdown and an interception (that wasn’t his fault).
“It’s awesome”, Falk said of the win. It has just been a good team effort all season long. “That’s a play we carried into the game. One, two or three plays could’ve made a huge difference”. “At the end of the day, we didn’t make enough plays late in the second half”.
Heading into this bowl game, the Cougars are 8-4 Straight Up (SU) and 9-3 Against The Spread (ATS).
Miami entered the fourth quarter trailing 20-7, which was the same as the halftime score. After Al Golden was relieved of his head coaching duties following a 58-0 loss to Clemson, the Hurricanes have gone 4-1 (we won’t mention the ACC officiating in the miracle Duke win).
Miami will begin a new era and direction now that former Georgia Bulldogs coach mark Richt will take over heading into the 2016 season. The Hurricanes still have not won a bowl game since 2006, and they should be kicking themselves for how they handled the end of this game.
NOTES: Miami interim coach Larry Scott coached the Hurricanes, but his future with the program is uncertain.