The Miami Hurricanes’ offensive woes continued against the University of Louisville Saturday, as they only managed seven points against a defense that entered the game complaining about a lack of respect.
While the No.17 Hurricanes started the game looking like their swagger had returned, it was No.12 Louisville who dominated the second half to win 31-7.
“Well it was pretty obvious today, we were embarrassed,” Head Coach Larry Coker said following the loss, their second in three games. “Our players are embarrassed. Our coaches are embarrassed.”
Miami began the game looking like their offensive problems had been vanquished. They benefited from a Louisville penalty for roughing the kicker, which gave them the ball back after a forced punt. Five plays later, Tyrone Moss gave the ‘Canes a 7-0 lead with a one-yard run.
After Louisville’s running back George Stripling fumbled away the ensuing possession, Miami took over at the Cardinals’ 20 yard line. But they failed to capitalize on the opportunity – a recurring theme throughout the first half – when Charlie Jones fumbled at the Louisville eight yard line.
“We didn’t take advantage of our opportunities,” quarterback Kyle Wright said.
Even with the missed opportunities on offense, which included two missed field goals by kicker Jon Peattie, the Miami defense was able to contain the nation’s No.1 offense in the first half.
The Cardinals, who have outscored opponents 631-246 in the first half over the last two seasons, only managed 10 points. Miami trailed 10-7 going into halftime.
“I think we were in pretty good shape in the first half,” Coker said. “In the second half, we allowed it to get away from us.”
In the second half the Louisville defense seemed to be everywhere at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. Their explosive offense, held to 10 points and only 14 yards rushing the first half, scored on their first two possessions and led 24-7 when the dust settled.
Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm started the half for the Cardinals with a 13-yard pass to Gary Barnidge and Kolby Smith capped a seven play, 53 yard drive with a four-yard touchdown run, extending the lead to 17-7.
Brohm left the game following that drive with strained ligaments in his throwing hand, having completed 10 of 14 passes for 181 yards and a touchdown. His replacement, Hunter Cantwell, didn’t miss a beat, throwing for a 113 yards and a long TD pass.
Offensively, Miami simply could not move the ball in the second half. They were held to seven yards rushing and only advanced the ball into Louisville territory three times, the last of which came in the closing minute of the game.
“We thoroughly got whipped, got whipped in the second half by a good Louisville team,” Coker said. “Today we were obviously not a good football team.”
Louisville Head Coach Bobby Petrino credited the pressure on Wright as a big factor.
“I was really proud of our defense,” Petrino said. “They did a good job of stopping the run with the pressure and hitting the quarterback.”
Miami, 1-2 after the loss, is in danger of falling out of the AP Top 25 for the first time in 107 polls.
“We’ve got a lot of football left and we still have a chance to possibly win the ACC Championship,” Coker said. “We’ve got to play a lot better than we are right now.”
Brian Yates may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org