It was a rough start, some tough moments, a pretty furious comeback, but ultimately, the Miami Hurricanes lost the 2020 Cheez-It Bowl to the Oklahoma State Cowboys 37-34.
No messing around tonight. Let’s jump into the final edition of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of the 2020 season.
- QB D’Eriq King. 10-13 passing for 113 yards and 1 TD. King helped Miami start to claw back from an early 21-0 deficit and showcased his now-trademark calm, lead-by-example demeanor and performance. Why so few stats? We’ll get into that later.
- QB N’Kosi Perry. Playing off the bench as relief for King, Perry reminded people that he has PLENTY of talent. 19-34 passing for 228 yards and 2 TDs. And, those numbers would have been SUBSTANTIALLY more impressive had Perry not suffered no fewer than 6 bad, and I mean BAD, drops by the receiving corps. I know everyone has their favorite QB on the roster, and with all due respect to the better player (King), Perry has been, and is, mine. And I’m happy my guy went out there and played his ass off, in a tough spot. Bravo.
- TE Brevin Jordan. 8 catches for 96 yards and 2 TDs, the second of which was an incredible 1 handed catch he made while being interfered with (not that the refs called it). If you forgot how good Jordan is, he reminded you tonight.
- WR Mike Harley. 8 catches for 69 (nice) yards and a TD. Solid receiving performance from the senior tonight.
- CB Te’Cory Couch. 10 tackles, a TFL, and 2 PBUs.
- S Bubba Bolden. 9 tackles, 2.5 TFL.
- DT Nesta Silvera. Light on stats with 4 tackles and 1 TFL, but once Miami’s defense showed up midway through the 2nd quarter, it was led by Silvera getting up the field and creating havoc.
- RB Cam’Ron Harris. 52 yards, most of which came on his 42 yard TD run. A bright spot on a couple plays.
- Total passing: 30-48, 356 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT.
- 6.6 yards per play
- 5.2 yards per run
- 11.9 yards per completion
- 27 first downs
- 4-4 red zone scoring
- 9 TFL
- 2 sacks
- Allowed 2.6 yards per run (massive improvement from the program-worst rushing defense performance the last time out vs UNC)
- Losing. It sucks. I hate it. I hate losing SO MUCH.
- Multiple dropped interceptions. Te’Cory Couch. Bubba Bolden. DJ Ivey. There were like 4-5 balls that should have been intercepted tonight. But Miami just couldn’t get it done.
- 4-14 on 3rd down
- 3-5 on 4th down, including the game-ending 4th down that was not converted
- Allowed 33+ minutes time of possession
- Allowed 11.3 yards per completion
- Muffed punt by Harley, recovered by OK State. Luckily, it didn’t lead to points. But still. No bueno.
- Fumble on zone-read exchange between Perry and Donald Chaney Jr. Another avoidable error.
- D’Eriq King injured his right knee/leg late in the 2nd quarter. He needed to be helped to the locker room and could not put any weight on the leg. King did not return to the game. Just........damnit.
D’Eriq King suffered a knee injury on this play— PFF College (@PFF_College) December 29, 2020
- King was seen on the sideline in the 2nd half wearing a bulky knee brace on his right knee, and on crutches. Per the ESPN broadcast, King will be evaluated in Miami tomorrow. Here’s hoping his injury isn’t catastrophic.
D’Eriq King back on the field on crutches and with a knee brace on his right leg. pic.twitter.com/JVyxKIStYo— Manny Navarro (@Manny_Navarro) December 30, 2020
- The refs. I’m gonna keep this short: the refs screwed Miami on multiple occasions in this game. Overturning a 2pt conversion without clear evidence to do so. Calling SEVERAL bogus pass interference penalties, including one that negated a momentum-changing interception. Bad calls abounded on both sides tonight, but the worse and more impactful calls went against Miami. Over and over and over again.
- 8 penalties for 76 yards, but when you negate turnovers and more, it was much more impactful than that.
- All the drops. Remember when I said Perry’s line could have been better? Without 5-6 really bad, and I mean REALLY BAD drops by the receivers, he would have had over 300 yards and an extra TD or two.
- WRs Mark Pope and Dee Wiggins. Both were the main culprits on the bad drops today. It was as bad as earlier in the season when, following such a performance, Miami opened up the WR spots for open competition. Pope and Wiggins’s drops tonight were that bad, or worse. I wish I had the words to properly describe how atrocious they played today. Despite of everything else that happened tonight, these drops cost Miami a chance to win. Plain and simple.
- The last play call of the night. A tunnel screen to Michael Redding III for 4 yards on 4th and 9 for the ballgame? Really, Rhett? THAT is the playcall there?!
- Continuing to play Pope and Wiggins. At some point, drops have to be met with time on the bench. And they more than passed that threshold.
- Allowed 29 first downs
- Allowed a freshman WR with 2 touches (1 catch, 1 run) all season hit a lick with 6 catches for 118 yards and 3 TDs. He had more TOUCHDOWNS today than he had TOUCHES OF THE FOOTBALL all season prior to tonight. Woof.
Some nice moments running the ball by Chaney Jr and Harris. Some really good quarterbacking by both King and Perry off the bench. Some nice catches by Harley, Jordan, Mallory, and Harris. But man, the blocking up front — whiffing on blocks at key times — and the drops. All. The. Drops. And 2 turnovers.
Had moments, sure, but spotting OK State a 21-0 lead, missing tackles, allowing an unknown freshman to score 3 TDs, and all the penalties (deserved or not), weight things down far too much for me. And like, why were we playing with CBs 12 yards off early in the game while OSU marched up and down the field to score time after time after time?
Special Teams: C+
Punting was great from our All-American punter. Kicking was great by our All-American kicker. There were even a couple nice returns. But there were 3 penalties on specials. And a turnover (muffed punt). Demerit, demerit, demerit.
The main positive was not letting this team quit after going down 21-0 in the first quarter. Oh, and Manny Diaz pulling a Mark Richt and FINALLY showing some emotion, getting pissed at one of a great many bullshit pass interference penalties during the game. But it took a while for the offense to get going. And lord knows it took a while for the defense to get going. But, in the end, it was Miami’s 11th bowl loss in the last 12 bowls. And, like it or not, that’s on coaching.
And just like that, the Miami Hurricanes 2020 football season has come to an end.
Share your thoughts on the game, or the general state of affairs, in the comments section below.
Onward we go.