The No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes swept the rug right underneath the Hurricanes, 36-24, and ruined any chance of the Canes gaining national respect.
Time after time, head coach Randy Shannon has preached to his team, whoever wins the turnover battle will win the game.
“It was a tough loss. We can’t come into this situation and turn the ball over like the way we did,” Shannon said. “I told them all week. When it’s four turnovers against no turnovers, it’s tough to win the game.”
Junior quarterback Jacory Harris, was the victim of all the turnovers. Harris threw four interceptions, leading to 20 Ohio State points. Harris last interception was the most costly.
Down 26-17, the Hurricanes opened the second half marching down the field. After senior running back Damien Berry broke a 42-yard run down to Ohio State’s six-yard line, Harris threw an interception to Cameron Heyward and Heyward returned the pick 80-yards.
Two plays later, junior quarterback Terrelle Pryor broke loose for a 13-yard rushing touchdown, giving the Buckeyes a 33-16 lead. Pryor finished with 233 passing yards on 12 for 27 and had 113 rushing yards.
“Those things can’t happen in a game like this,” Shannon said of the interception. “If we come down in the second half and score, then it’s a whole different light on the ball game. But instead they created the turnover and you have to give them credit.”
Harris took responsibility for all the mistakes the Hurricanes made against the Buckeyes.
“It all falls on me,” said Harris, who finished 17 for 31 for 187 yards. “We put ourselves in scoring position and we made a turnover. It basically killed momentum. With a touchdown, we could have had a different ball game. It could have been an easier comeback.”
Miami didn’t fold though. Again the Hurricanes drove down the field into Ohio State’s red-zone and were on the verge of scoring. But an illegal shift penalty and a blocked field goal attempt halted the Canes.
“When we are in the red zone, we have to come away with some points,” Shannon said.
Ohio State had the ball for 1:42 in the 3rd quarter and still managed to outscore the Hurricanes, 10-0.
The Hurricanes were in solid position in the first quarter. After the Buckeyes kicked a field goal, redshirt freshman Lamar Miller ran back an 88-yard kickoff return. It was the Hurricanes first kickoff return since 2004 when Devin Hester ran one back against N.C. State.
Despite creating a spark for the Hurricanes, Miller was in distraught.
“It was a tough lost,” said Miller as he was tearing up. “I’m just trying to help my team win a national championship.”
Once more, the Canes special teams made a play for the team. Junior wide receiver Travis Benjamin housed a 79-yard punt return and the special teams unit scored the only points for the Canes in the first half.
It was the first time in Ohio State history that a punt return and kickoff return happened to them in the same game.
Still, the Hurricanes couldn’t pull out the win.
“It’s never a good day when you lose,” Benjamin said. “It don’t matter what your stats are. It’s a down fall.”
Miami couldn’t hold Ohio State from getting inside the red zone as the Buckeyes had nine possessions inside the Hurricanes 20-yard line and converted on seven. That proved to be the difference maker as the Hurricanes entered the red zone three times, scoring only once.
“We didn’t get the stops on defense,” said junior linebacker Sean Spence, who had a career high with 11 total tackles. “We just got to keep going forward and go back to the drawing board. We have to get ready for Pittsburgh.”
Lelan LeDoux may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.