Less than a yard changed the storyline from a winning streak in the new era to the same old devils haunting this Hurricane squad. At this point, the Golden Era is but a Gilded Age.
On fourth down, trailing by four points with less than a minute remaining, Miami (1-2) had the ball at Kansas State’s two yard line. Senior quarterback Jacory Harris bootlegged to the left, looking for one of three options: a shovel pass in front of him, a receiver in the flats, or an open lane for him to run. With the first two options unavailable, Harris tucked the ball and ran, and according to the side judge, scored the game-winning touchdown. But upon replay, Harris was down inches before the ball crossed the goal line, turning the ball over to the Wildcats (3-0).
Prior to a tremendous second half, one of the best of Harris’ career in which he gave his team the lead after falling behind by 11 points at halftime, he finished the first half with 81 yards in the air and an interception. And boos.
“You listen around, you hear the boos and stuff, I’m happy about that,” Harris said. “It fuels me. I’m glad that fans want to be that way, but this is what we’ve got to do. The team stood behind my back and gave me extra fuel, so as a team we’ve got to come out there and overcome everything that was happening.”
Whether his postgame bravado was false or not, Harris’ performance was not the cause of Miami’s second loss of the season.
Defensively, Miami failed to repeat the dominant performance they put on last week.
“Every day we try to be the same people,” senior defensive tackle Marcus Robinson said. “No matter who we’re playing, we try to be the same people and like today, I guess we didn’t come with our A-game and it cost us this game.”
As dominant as they were against Ohio State in disrupting backfield plays, Miami recorded 10 tackles for loss but failed to force a single Wildcat turnover. Quarterback Collin Klein’s performance was personified in a single play, a second and 29 from his own three yard line. After four straight penalties and a defensive stop, Klein took a simple option: run up the middle 26 yards, destroying any and all defensive momentum the Hurricanes built to that point.
“I thought [Klein] made some tremendous plays,” Golden said. “They converted too many third downs that kept them with the ball. We have to stop them more and give our offense more opportunities, and we didn’t take the ball away. Their quarterback played exceptionally.”
The Wildcats finished the game with 265 yards on 44 carries, led by a 166-yard rushing effort by running back John Hubert.
“All practice we’re talking about being disciplined and being in the right spots, because if you’re not in the right spot on that offense you can be gashed at any time,” Robinson said. “Today was really showing how we’ve got to be disciplined playing that type of offense.”
Both the players and Golden accepted blame for not coming out with adequate energy for Kansas State. Senior offensive lineman Tyler Horn, in commenting on two illegal procedure penalties that stopped separate offensive drives for the Hurricanes, has seen mental mistakes ruin potential more times than he cares to remember.
“Killer; you can’t do that,” Horn said. “Third and one, fourth and one you have [false starts]? That’s the complete story of last year. We can say we’re going to focus on penalties and all that, but until we decide that we’re not going to jump offside on third and one, nothing’s going to change.”