Coming into the 2017 season, Darrell Langham didn’t have much of an identity in the Miami Hurricanes’ offense as a redshirt junior with 0 career catches.
Well, he does now. Call him “Mr. Clutch”.
At least that’s what Miami head coach Mark Richt called Langham after he came up aces yet again for Miami with the game on the line. After saving the Canes in Tallahassee last week with a 23 yard game winning TD catch with 6 seconds to go, Langham caught a tipped ball on the right sideline in double coverage on 4th and 11 to put Miami in field goal range with 36 seconds to go against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
Just how they drew it up.
Michael Badgley would do the rest, knocking through a game winning 24 yard field goal with 4 seconds left to complete Miami’s escape from the Yellow Jackets, 25-24, during a downpour at Hard Rock Stadium.
On a day that saw the Miami offense start slow yet again, Malik Rosier found a way to rebound and bring the offense back from the brink. Rosier finished the first quarter 0-4, but ended the game 23-37 with 297 yards passing and a TD throw to Travis Homer, who was making his first career start in place of an injured Mark Walton.
Homer was electric in his first crack at being Miami’s RB1, showing off his skills between the tackles as well as in the open field. He ran for 170 yards on 20 carries, adding the aforementioned TD catch to a 27 yard, juking TD run in the third quarter.
Miami had horrible field position all day, routinely starting inside their own 20 and Georgia Tech took advantage. The Yellow Jackets scored 2 TD’s on their first 3 drives, going up 14-3 early in the second quarter, with the Canes defense looking confused by GT and their misdirection triple-option offense.
But just before halftime, Homer took a flare out of the backfield and, falling out of bounds, extended the ball into the pylon for a 17 yard TD to bring the score to 14-13.
From there, things got wacky. Mark Richt, kicking the ball off to start the third quarter, tried to catch the Yellow Jackets off-guard and had Badgley perform a quick onside kick. The questionable call backfired as Georgia Tech’s Lamont Simmons picked the ball up and raced untouched 42 yards into the endzone to put GT up 21-13.
That’s when Miami’s ferocious defense stepped up, settling into the game and clamping down on Georgia Tech’s running game. The Yellow Jackets’ offense was limited to just 102 total yards and 3 points in the second half and the Canes’ front seven had 7 TFL and 2 sacks. Georgia Tech QB TaQuon Marshall, the ACC’s leading rusher coming into the game, was bottled up for 18 yards on 19 carries. Yes, that’s less than one yard per carry for the league’s most dynamic runner.
Even after Miami’s defense came up with stop after stop and Homer scored on a 27 yard run, the Canes still needed one final miracle drive with 2:36 remaining in the game. That set the stage for Langham, who had 5 catches for a career high 100 yards and one circus catch to keep the Canes’ undefeated season alive.
With the win, Miami is now in full control of the ACC Coastal with a conference record of 3-0.
After the two teams traded punts to start the game, a 34 yard Braxton Berrios punt return got Miami into Georgia Tech territory. A Travis Homer chunk run here, a Homer chunk run there, and Miami was in the red zone, but ended up settling for a Michael Badgley field goal to start the scoring.
Keyed by a 48 yard Clinton Lynch run, GT drove the ball right back down. J.J. Green capped the 76 yard drive with a 5 yard TD run to the outside. 7-3 Yellow Jackets.
The second Miami 3-and-out of the game led to another long GT drive, as the Yellow Jackets continued to gash the Canes on the ground. GT had 4 runs of 10+ yards and the Hurricanes’ defense looked way off balance trying to handle the triple-option. Then, on 3rd and goal, TaQuon Marshall wiggled free of the grasp of Michael Pinckney and stayed on his feet just long enough to find J.J. Green completely alone in the endzone for a 3 yard touchdown. Georgia Tech was firing on all cylinders early to take a 14-3 lead.
Taking the ball inside his own 20, Mark Richt tried to get a struggling Malik Rosier going with two quick screens, one to Berrios and one to Jeff Thomas. Homer then took a read option handoff from Rosier to the outside, bursting upfield for a gain of 32. Miami would stall again though, leading to Badgley’s second field goal of the day, cutting GT’s lead to 8.
The Canes defense finally settled down, stopping GT on 3 straight runs during their next drive. However, GT head coach Paul Johnson played it aggressive and went for it on 4th and inches from his own 34; Marshall converted with a QB sneak. It wouldn’t matter much when the Canes shut down another 3 runs by the Yellow Jackets and forced a punt.
Still, you could feel the momentum squarely on the GT sidelines, and the Canes needed a big shift. They’d get it on GT’s ensuing drive. With the Jackets in range for a field goal, Johnson elected to go for it on 4th down yet again. This time, the Canes snuffed out the Yellow Jackets, stopping WR Ricky Jeune short of the marker on a throwback screen from Marshall.
Controlling the ball on their own 23 with 1:59 to go in the half, Rosier led a 9 play, 77 yard touchdown drive. What was almost disaster when a snap went over Rosier’s head turned into a toe-tapping sideline catch by Dionte Mullins to extend the drive. Next, Darrell Langham took a deep slant from Rosier and shed a tackle to pick up 32. 2 plays later, Rosier found Homer on a flare out of the backfield and Homer, falling out of bounds, was just able to extend the ball into the pylon for a 17 yard TD. Marshall took a knee to end the half with the score 14-13, GT.
InsideTheU PHOTO: RB Travis Homer stretching for the touchdown just before halftime. pic.twitter.com/Di3HxbH8Bb— InsideTheU.com (@247Canes) October 14, 2017
There’s really no way to describe how Miami came out of halftime. Hoping to catch GT napping, Mark Richt called for an onside kick. Badgley’s boot did not go 10 yards and, while Berrios appeared to be waiting for the ball to roll to the marker, Lamont Simmons of the Yellow Jackets picked the ball up and raced 42 yards for a touchdown. Just like that, it was 21-13 and GT took control of the game again.
Miami tried to start the second half with an onside kick. It didn't work. pic.twitter.com/oVouOX3boQ— Dr. Saturday (@YahooDrSaturday) October 14, 2017
On the ensuing kickoff, a big Jeff Thomas kick return gave the Canes favorable field position. However, Rosier would take a sack on 3rd down to kill what was a promising drive. GT’s following possession saw them hit the deep ball they’ve been setting up all game. Robert Knowles was late getting over and Jeune was all alone for a 48 yard catch. Miami’s defense would hold strong, though, with Zach McCloud breaking through to sack Marshall on second and goal. After a Marshall incompletion, GT kicker Brenton King knocked a 31 yarder thru the uprights. 24-13 GT.
The Canes would not go away though. What we’ve been waiting for all season finally happened, as Thomas got behind the defense on the second play of the drive and Rosier connected with him for a 70 yard bomb. Thomas couldn’t get in the endzone though, getting chased down at the 3 yard line, and it would cost the Canes. A run to Homer went nowhere, and after an incompletion, Rosier tried to force a ball into tight coverage at the goal line. The ball popped into the air and the Canes lucked out when Tyler Gauthier came down with it at the line of scrimmage. Badgley hit his 3rd FG of the day and the score was narrowed to 24-16.
After a Miami defensive stop, the Canes looked like a well-oiled machine on offense, going 75 yards even in the pouring rain. Helped by 2 catches for 29 yards by Darrell Langham, Rosier was able to push the ball into GT territory. Then, Homer took a hand-off left, made a guy miss, and was gone for a 27 yard TD run. Down two, Richt opted for a 2-pt conversion, but Rosier’s pass to Chris Herndon was knocked away.
Miami forced another GT three-and-out, this time with Trent Harris taking down Marshall on a shoe-string tackle behind the line of scrimmage on third down, right before Marshall could turn upfield.
On Miami’s next possession, Rosier was sacked on third down and Miami had to send Zach Feagles out to punt again. GT took the ball and Marshall picked up a third down run with a savvy jump past the marker. On GT’s next set of downs, Marshall appeared to hook up with WR Brad Stewart on 3rd and 8; however, “Thriller” Michael Jackson got his hand between the receiver’s hands and pried the ball free, forcing a GT punt and keeping Miami’s hopes alive.
With 2:36 left in the game, Miami took the ball from their own 8 and nickel and dimed GT down the field with bubble screens, going thrice to Berrios and thrice to Herndon. That took them all the way down to the GT 34 yard line. On second and one, a fourth bubble to Berrios picked up a first down, but was brought back by a Mullins cut-block. A Rosier pass fell incomplete and a Homer run went nowhere to bring up fourth down and 10. That’s when the improbable happened. Rosier dropped back and lofted a ball on the right sideline for Darrell Langham, who was in double coverage. Langham came down with the tipped pass for 28 yards down to the GT 15 yard line and became the hero Miami needed for a second straight week.
Then, Homer took a hand-off from Rosier to the left and appeared to pick up 8. But he kept his legs moving, and the Miami O-Line pushed the resulting pile-up an extra 4 yards down to the Tech 3. Rosier ran to the middle of the field on the next play to center the ball for Badgley. Great snap, great hold, and Badgley kicked it right down the middle with 4 seconds left to secure the game for Miami. A series of GT laterals on the ensuing kickoff fell short around midfield. Final: Miami 25 GT 24.
**Travis Homer had a huge game today in his first career start, like I predicted he would. He was hitting the hole hard and consistently broke off chunk runs to keep the chains moving. His touchdown catch was a thing of beauty and he showed great awareness to stick the ball just inside the pylon as he was falling out of bounds. Homer was even sound in pass protection most of the day. He was money when the pass game was out of sorts early and he was money in the 4th quarter. Just an outstanding game from Homer, who had a career high in rushing today, and he’s only getting better.
**Another slow start for the Miami offense. Rosier was all over the place early, missing throws, and the offense just couldn’t consistently stay on the field. I’m not going to pretend to have the answers to solve this issue, but this cannot keep happening every week. It’s going to eventually bite Miami in the ass.
**The fades/jump ball throws to Mike Harley and Jeff Thomas have to stop. They haven’t worked once and I have no idea what the coaches are looking at that they keep going back to it. Those type of plays aren’t high percentage to begin with, and the odds go way down considering these are two 5’9 guys we’re talking about. You still want to throw those fades/jump balls? Fine. Lawrence Cager or Darrell Langham are much better suited for those packages.
**With all the negative stuff out of the way, how about Darrell Langham? I can’t do anything but smile for the kid. This is a guy that was completely written off by the fanbase and the only reason it seemed you would hear his name was in an off-season transfer press release. Not so. Miami was desperate for some play-making at WR in the absence of Ahmmon Richards and Langham has more than been up to the task. Huge plays when the Canes absolutely needed it the past 2 weeks. All I can do is tip my cap to him.
The Canes stay at home to take on upstart Syracuse, who are coming off a big-time upset of #2 Clemson.
Welp, the “Cardiac Canes” showed up again today, but with all the injuries Miami had, I’ll take a win any way I can get it. Miami is now in an amazing position to take the Coastal and appear in their first ever ACC Championship game. Job well done, boys.