After countless head-scratching mistakes, miscommunications, and mental errors, it was still right there for the taking.
The Canes, having taken their first game against the FAMU Rattlers with the greatest of ease, rolled into Columbus, OH looking for a marquee win that’d been circled on most Canes’ fans calendars for years. However, despite notching a pair of special teams touchdowns, the Canes made what felt like a season’s-worth of mistakes through the first half of play, including 3 Jacory Harris interceptions. The Miami defense, which limited the Buckeye running game for much of the day outside of Pryor, held stiff and thwarted a late red zone drive to keep the deficit at single digits.
Somehow, they were still in the game.
Miami came out of the locker room and finally put together a sustained drive to start the 3rd quarter --- a 7-play, 70-yard drive ---down to the Ohio State 9-yard line, mostly on the strength of a 42-yard scamper by RB Damien Berry. On 3rd and goal from the 9, Harris took a 3-step drop out of shotgun formation and looked over the middle for Berry, who slipped out of the backfield up the middle. Harris flicked the ball out of his hand towards Berry, but didn’t account for DE Cameron Heyward, who had dropped off into the middle of the field into coverage on the zone blitz. Heyward stepped in front of the pass as it reached Berry’s hands and, rather than Miami pulling within 2 points with momentum, Heyward snatched the ball and headed the other way.
The only thing missing was the yakity sax theme as Heyward, escorted by his scarlet-clad convoy, stayed a few steps ahead of Jacory Harris and several wheezing Miami offensive lineman.
Heyward would be mercifully stopped after an 80-yard return. However, 2 short plays later, Pryor did what he did well most of the day---scramble for yardage---and put the game away on a 13-yard scamper to the left corner where Sebastian had the best chance of stopping him on the goalline.
36-17. Ballgame. Chance for marquee win up in smoke. For those who cared, a chance at redemption for "The Flag" had vanished. It was an opportunity that Canes’ fans, this one included, felt was a missed one based on the ridiculous number of self-imposed mistakes and mental errors. Unfortunately, this game would be just the start of a trend of the turnover-prone, air-it-out-come-hell-or-high-water philosophy of the 2010 Miami offense…….and Heyward’s game clinching interception return was an early microcosm of what would lie ahead for the Canes.