Berlin Reigns Supreme
Saturday’s victory over the Florida Gators was a career game for many Hurricanes, but none more so than Brock Berlin. The junior quarterback overcame two third-quarter interceptions to lead the ‘Canes to the comeback win against his former school. Berlin also recorded his first career 300-yard game in the process. The final numbers for Berlin are as follows: 27 of 41 for 340 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. These numbers are staggering, considering that at halftime Berlin was 8 of 16 for only 62 yards. Head coach Larry Coker seemed to notice a different Berlin toward the end of the game.
“You could tell that Brock had more confidence in him in the second half,” Coker said after the game.
Breakout Game for Beard
Kevin Beard exploded in the second half as well for the Hurricanes, hauling in seven receptions for a career-high 164 yards and a touchdown. The senior missed the end of last season, including the Fiesta Bowl, with an ACL injury. His 62-yard reception in the third quarter was a career-high as well. Beard’s 164 receiving yards are the most by a Hurricane since Andre Johnson gained 193 against Virginia Tech in 2002.
An Explosive Start
Hurricane fans were treated to a couple of highlight-reel special teams plays to begin the contest. Freshman Devin Hester returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown to begin the action, and Sean Taylor followed his return with a 68-yard kickoff return of his own, the first one of his career. Hester’s return was the fifth-longest in school history. Ottis Anderson returned two kickoffs for 100 yards in 1978, Tim Morgan returned one for 100 yards in 1975, and Tom Sullivan ran back a 99-yarder in 1971. The last time a Hurricane returned a kickoff for a touchdown was on November 30, 1996, when Tremaine Mack ran one 95 yards against Syracuse. Hester’s touchdown came in just his third career return.
Putting the Comeback in Perspective
Miami’s 19-10 halftime deficit marked the first time the Hurricanes had been losing after two quarters since being behind 17-14 at Rutgers last season. The ‘Canes managed to come back and win that game as well, only weeks after rallying from a 17-14 halftime deficit against Florida State to win 28-27 at the Orange Bowl. The 23-point third quarter deficit was the largest at home since a 31-6 loss to East Carolina, this week’s opponent, on October 19, 1996. Overcoming the Gators’ huge lead ranks up with some of the top comebacks in school history, including a 17-point comeback against UCLA in 1998, a 16-point rally in Michigan in 1988, another 16-point comeback against FSU in 1987, and last year’s thriller against the Seminoles.
Notable Facts the ‘Canes Will Want to Forget
Ingle Martin’s 50-yard touchdown pass to Carlos Perez was the longest pass play against the UM defense since a 57-yard bomb from Chris Rix to Talmon Gardner of Florida State in 2001…The Gators’ Keiwan Ratliff returned a second quarter fumble 34 yards for a touchdown, marking the first fumble return for a touchdown allowed by the Hurricanes since October 13, 2001, when FSU’s Michael Boulware ran back a fumble for a 73-yard touchdown. The ‘Canes were able to win that game, however, 49-27…UF kicker Matt Leach’s 26-yard field goal was the first offensive points scored by the Gators in the Orange Bowl since 1985.
A Sloppy Game
Despite the improbable victory, Coach Coker was still frustrated with some of the mental mistakes his team made. The Hurricanes finished with 16 penalties, costing them 134 yards and four turnovers. The Gators were penalized 13 times for 93 yards and turned the ball over once. “The penalties are inexcusable,” Coker said. “Many of the young players did some very foolish things. We obviously have a lot that we need to correct.”
Frank Gore rushed 24 times for 127 yards and two touchdowns, marking his second consecutive 100-yard rushing game…The victory gives UM a lifetime record of 63-80-3 against teams from the Southeastern Conference. The last SEC match-up for the Hurricanes was a 26-3 win at Tennessee last season…The win gave the ‘Canes a night game record of 78-17 (.821) since 1980. Since 1990, UM is 41-12 (.774) at night. Under Larry Coker the Hurricanes are 12-1 (.923) at night…UM is now 5-0 against teams from Florida under Coker…Neither team was very successful on third downs, with UF going 4 of 14 and UM going 4 of 11…Florida used three quarterbacks during the game. Chris Leak finished going 9 for 15 for 93 yards, Ingle Martin was 7 for 10 for 114 yards and a touchdown, and Gavin Dickey connected on both of his passes in his only drive for 12 yards.