Well for the most part they saved their best for last.
In arguably the most complete performance of the season by the Hurricanes, Miami went to Pitt and all three phases made plays in a 29-24 win over the Panthers, in the final regular season game of 2015.
It wasn't perfect, they made things way too interesting in the 4th Q, and no this won't erase the Clemson or UNC losses, but it was a great day for the 'Canes nonetheless.
Now we just sit back and see what bowl UM is headed to (and maybe who their next coach is) in the next few weeks.
The particulars of today below.
- Joe Yearby is getting better and better each week. If the O line continues to improve he has a chance to be phenomenal next season. Mark Walton also is getting stronger and stronger, particularly in the passing game.
Artie Burns is likely off to the NFL next season, and his team and ACC leading 6th INT in the first Q was pretty.
Brad Kaaya to Rashawn Scott to make it 17-0 was a sick throw, and even better catch. Scott was outstanding today after a quiet game last week. Kaaya was once again, Kaaya.
- Anyone doubt David Njoku is going to be a star in the coming years, if he isn't already?
- The tackling was pretty solid for a 2nd straight week. Outside contain is also improved. This team has definitely played a lot tougher under Interim Coach Larry Scott.
- Thank goodness for Michael Badgley, who had 5 huge FG's today.
- Back to back false starts on the opening possession? We've seen this before. Gotta clean it up fellas.
- Kaaya throwing on the run by design. I get that you have to move the pocket sometimes, but this is not his strength.
- Kick coverage with all the athletes they have on the field, should be so much better.
- The Hurricanes really should have won this a lot easier. While offense, defense, and ST all helped them build the lead, all three phases also made mistakes in the second half that kept Pitt alive. They have to close stronger going forward.
- Red zone offense has to be better.
- Pushing and shoving in the 2nd Q results in a personal foul on just Miami. UM should know better. But really ACC officials? Really?
- Why is this a story when it happens at SLS but not Heinz Field?!!
Loved seeing Trayone Gray in the game (even if just briefly).
The offensive line is steadily (finally) improving. That's an excellent sign. Pittsburgh star DE Ejuan Price was mostly quiet.
4th Q 3rd down conversion on a screen to Walton was by pretty running by the freshman back and nice blocking by the big guys. His catch and run a few plays later on a pass slightly behind him, was even better.
A few too many FG's but the O was pretty good anyway.
They actually had a pass rush today. AQM got his 5th sack of the season (he should have double that).
Welcome back CB blitz! Corn Elder is a force when he comes off the edge.
Crisp performance for the most part by this unit. Much better than what we were seeing most of the season.
Bad field position hurt them on Pitt's final two scores.
Special Teams -
Braxton Berrios is just not the answer as a punt returner. Please bring back Corn Elder.
Badgley continues to kill it.
Great 1st half punt by Justin Vogel to bury Pitt deep.
Long 4th Q KO return allowed for a near TD gave the Panthers life, significantly lowers the grade here.
Chris Herndon came up with an onsides kick that was badly needed.
Nice to see the team being aggressive. Early 4th and goal call was a tone setter. 4th and inches from your own 32 in the 2nd Q is gutsy.
James Coley finally reached into his bag of tricks as well. Though he did revert back to a few too many bubble screens, as usual.
Overall, the team was very well prepared to play, but they should have finished the game a lot more effectively.
8-4 is still a whole lot better than 7-5.