Head coach Randy Shannon stressed the importance of taking care of the ball against the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes. But things didn’t fall into place.
The No. 12 Miami Hurricanes simply could not overcome four interceptions as they doomed themselves and lost to Ohio State, 36-24, at the Horseshoe.
“It came down to one thing, turnovers and we can not do that and win big games like this,” Shannon said. “You can’t win games when you turn the ball like the way we did.”
Junior quarterback Jacory Harris was a victim off all the turnovers.
The first interception came deep in Miami’s own territory. It went through the hands of senior wide receiver Leonard Hankerson when a defender slapped at the ball and gained control.
The second interception was caused by miscommunication as junior wide receiver Travis Benjamin run blocked and Harris wanted a kill route. Benjamin made up for it when he returned a punt return for 79-yards.
Right before halftime, Harris threw his third pick when the ball slid out of Benjamin’s hands right into Ohio State’s senior defensive back Chimdi Chekwa for his second interception.
The final interception was the most costly. With the Hurricanes within the Buckeyes 10-yard line and had the opportunity to cut the game into one possession, Ohio State ran a zone blitz and defensive end Cameron Heyward jumped right in-front of senior running back Damien Berry and rumbled 80-yards.
Two plays later, junior quarterback Terrelle Pryor broke loose for a 13-yard rushing touchdown, giving the Buckeyes a 33-16 lead.
It was one of the first times Shannon didn’t sugar coat his answer about who fault the interceptions were on.
“Two of them the receiver ran the wrong route. I will be up front and honest with you,” Shannon said. “The receivers ran the wrong route. Still, if the receiver runs the wrong route just throw the ball out of bounds.”
Harris took all of the blame.
“I put all of them on me. I’m the quarterback of this team,” Harris said. “I deserve to take all the blame. When things go wrong, I will take full ownership of being the one who made the mistake.”
But turnovers were not the only thing that plagued the Canes.
Miami had eight penalties for 59 yards, seven resulting for 54 yards alone in the third quarter.
“You have a penalty, then you break a run, and have another penalty all in the red zone,” Shannon said about penalties hurting the Canes scoring opportunities. “Those things like that can not happen in a game like this in the second half.”
Ohio State had the ball for a total of 1:42 in the 3rd quarter and still managed to outscore the Hurricanes, 10-0.
Still, the Hurricanes had the opportunity to still win the game. Dropped passes, missed tackles, and field position killed Miami.
“We said this game was going to be about field position. We gave Ohio State the ball at the 48-yard line which you cannot do that,” Shannon said.
Shannon stressed to the team all week about tackling, and numerous times Ohio State was able to shake tackles off.
“We said tackling,” Shannon said. “We had the assignments all week and I made sure I told them guys to make sure you guys tackle the ball and they didn’t.”
Despite being down after the game, the Hurricanes felt they cost themselves the game.
“I was confident and I’m still confident. We beat ourselves,” said Berry, who had 94 yards on 16 carries. “It hurts so bad knowing we basically gave them the game. Don’t take nothing from them. Terrelle did a heck of a job. I still believe Jacory is the best quarterback.”
Lelan LeDoux may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.