With a performance that should be left in 2017, the Hurricanes dropped their final contest of the season. With the familiar confines of Hard Rock Stadium serving as the venue, Miami suffered a Capital One Orange Bowl loss to the University of Wisconsin by the score of 34–24.
Clearly not the outcome that the Hurricanes or their fans projected when the game was announced earlier this month. However, there were a few bright spots from this evenings bowl game that we’ll highlight in our top three players of the game.
Third Star: Chad Thomas
In what would be his final collegiate game inside Hard Rock Stadium, DE Chad Thomas made sure that fans, as well as Wisconsin QB Alex Hornibrook , were made aware of his presence. The senior defensive end put plenty of pressure on the quarterback early in the game, forcing rushed throws and incompletions, bypassing whomever Wisconsin lined up in front of him. Thomas picked up the first sack of the game for the ’Canes, his fifth of the season, in his final game in a Miami uniform.
Second Star: Lawrence Cager
Lawrence Cager made the first catch of the game for the Hurricanes. His next reception would not come until the third quarter. However, aiding his quarterback, Cager broke free of Wisconsin’s coverage, streaking into the endzone on a 38-yard touchdown reception. The junior WR would have added to that total if not for a missed defensive penalty that resulted in an interception in the redzone. Cager made a couple drive saving catches at the start of the fourth quarter to help the Hurricanes pull within Wisconsin’s lead late in the game.
First Star: DeeJay Dallas
Just give him the ball. That’s all you can say when Deejay Dallas walks onto the field. Whether it’s lining up at WR, taking the handoff as a running back, or taking the direct snap in Wildcat formation, Dallas has the ability to ignite the offense like few others on the roster. A 39-yard run helped lift his total yardage to 79 yards in just the first quarter. The offense went away from Dallas for a period before returning trying to rekindle the spark on offense with No. 13 back under center. Dallas finished the game with 90 total yards.
From his initial carry of the game it appeared that Travis Homer was more than ready to make a statement. Running with a purpose, Homer’s five-yard run up the middle helped Miami get on the scoreboard in the first quarter. The sophomore made the most of his opportunities, rushing for 37 yards on seven carries in the first half. He finished the game with 64 rushing yards on 12 carries.
It didn’t take long for the ‘Turnover Chain’ to make an appearance. While CB Dee Delaney recovered the ball, it was S Jaquan Johnson that stripped Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor as he collapsed towards the ground.
Enough was enough. The usual calm demeanor of head coach Mark Richt was replaced with an infuriated Hurricanes coach that finally got to his wits’ end regarding calls that were not made in his teams’ favor. An emotional Richt had to be held back by several coaches as he lambasted the officiating crew.
IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THE U!