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The Three Games That Made Jacory Harris A Miami Legend

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In September of 2009, Jacory Harris became a Miami legend.

Miami v Florida State Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images

The history of the Miami Hurricanes is littered with legendary players, All-Americans, Heisman Trophy winners, and a handful of NFL Hall of Famers. Then, there are those players who may not have won a Heisman or been named All-Americans, but still left a great legacy and gave us unforgettable memories.

One of the best examples of this was quarterback Jacory Harris. In recent memory, there are certain players for the Hurricanes that fans can conjure up such fond memories, and at the top of that list is Jacory. While Harris was never an All-American or anything like that, at the beginning of the 2009 season, this gunslinger from Miami Northwestern High cemented himself into UM lore.

It started week one, Labor Day in Tallahassee, as the Canes began the 2009 season against their biggest rival, the Florida State Seminoles. On Miami’s first drive, Harris silenced the raucous FSU crowd by hitting Travis Benjamin for a 39-yard touchdown.

In one of the highest scoring games in the history of this classic rivalry, Harris torched the Seminoles defense, throwing for 386 yards and two touchdowns. His second scoring pass of the night came in the fourth quarter, when Harris lofted to a wide open Graig Cooper.

On their final possession, and with his team trailing by three, Harris drove the Canes down the field. The highlight of the drive came when Harris threw one of the best passes in UM history, hitting Benjamin once again, this time for 40 yards inside the Noles 5-yard line. A Cooper touchdown and a stand by Miami’s defense sealed the 38-34 upset win over the #18 Seminoles. Still to this day, the 2009 Canes-FSU game is talked about on a weekly basis by Miami fans.

Now ranked #20 in the nation, Harris and the Canes returned home to Miami for their second game, a Thursday night ESPN matchup against the 14th-ranked Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Midway through the first quarter, Harris electrified the home crowd, as he found LaRon Byrd for a 40-yard touchdown.

Harris was masterful all night, completing 20-of-25 passes for 270 yards, 3 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Just as impressive, Harris completed 80% of his passes against the Yellow Jackets. Early in the second quarter, his second touchdown came when he found tight end Dedrick Epps on a beautiful roll-out for the score.

However, Jacory wasn’t done. Up 24-10 late in the 3rd quarter, Harris put the dagger in the Yellow Jackets, as he hit the former basketball player, tight end Jimmy Graham for a 14-yard touchdown. For the second consecutive game, Miami, behind their quarterback, knocked off a higher-ranked team.

Sadly, in week three, Harris and the Canes were humbled up in Blacksburg, as Virginia Tech’s defense swarmed Miami, and easily won 31-7.

Now at 2-1, the Hurricanes had to get over the Hokies quickly, because the 8th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners were on their way to South Florida.

The Canes fell behind 10-0 in the second quarter, but Harris and the Miami offense fought back. Once again, Jacory and Jimmy Graham connected for a scoring strike, this time for 18-yards. Now down 10-7 at halftime, Miami was back in it.

After the Canes defense forced a turnover early in the third quarter, Harris wasted no time finding the end zone. Epps stayed hot on the receiving end, hauling in an 11-yard touchdown pass from Harris. All of a sudden, Miami was ahead 14-10.

On his third and final touchdown toss of the evening, Harris went back to Travis Benjamin. Still up 14-10 in the third quarter, Jacory found Benjamin for the 38-yard touchdown.

While he wasn’t as dynamic as he had been against FSU and Georgia Tech, Harris still delivered a great performance, finishing the night with 202 yards though the air and 3 touchdowns. In one of the biggest wins in several years for UM, the Canes defeated the Sooners 21-20. In Miami’s first three wins in 2009, Harris had thrown for 858 yards and 8 touchdowns, completing 69.9% of his passes.

If you were to ask any Miami fan at that moment, we all would’ve said that Jacory Harris was on his way to win the Heisman in 2009, and that the Hurricanes, the U, was back.

Though, the hype was short lived, as the Hurricanes early season success was slowed down as the weeks went by, and Miami slumped to a 9-4 record.

While Harris didn’t bring home any hardware, the memories of those first three wins made Jacory a fan favorite in Miami history.