The offensive ineptitude of the Miami Hurricanes continued Saturday as they lost 17-7 to a Virginia team that entered the game needing to win their final two games for bowl eligibility.
Miami (5-6, 2-5) has lost four straight games.
“I’m sick of losing,” quarterback Kirby Freeman said. “Miami’s sick of losing. This football team’s sick of losing.”
The Hurricanes defense was carved up by Cavaliers quarterback Jameel Sewell.
Sewell completed 23 of 33 passes for 217 yards and scored both of Virginia’s touchdowns on runs in the first and second quarters.
Kirby Freeman, making just his second start for Miami, completed 11 of 18 passes for 152 yards, although more than half of the yards came on one play, a 77-yard touchdown pass to Lance Leggett.
Virginia (5-6, 4-3) was able to jump on the Hurricanes early, driving down the field on their first possession and scoring on a 12-yard Sewell keeper.
After stopping Virginia on its next possession, Miami got the ball but Sam Shields fumbled at the Miami 29 yard line and the Cavaliers recovered, leading to a one-yard Sewell touchdown run in the second quarter.
The usually rock solid run defense allowed Virginia to rush for 132 yards.
“I was disappointed with the defense,” Coker said. “I thought we misaligned some, we weren’t sharp and we missed a lot of tackles.”
Already missing six players due to injury, including quarterback Kyle Wright and left tackle Reggie Youngblood, the ‘Canes lost another two on one play early in the second quarter. Both of the injured players were offensive linemen.
Youngblood’s replacement, Jason Fox, dislocated his left elbow and Alex Pou injured his right knee. Linebacker Glenn Cook also left the game during the first half with a concussion.
It was the end of a turbulent and draining week for Miami. After memorial services for murdered teammate Bryan Pata, the team appeared to be emotionally lifeless.
“Obviously it was a very draining week,” Coker said. “But the bottom line is sometimes when you make plays you develop energy, and we just didn’t generate enough plays to feed off one another. So I don’t want to use the excuse that the drain of the week cost us the game.”
The players refused to allow the turbulence of the past few weeks to take the blame for their losses throughout the season.
“There is no excuse,” defensive end Calais Campbell said.
The Hurricanes are in danger of missing a postseason bowl for the first time since 1997, and it would be the first time since 1982 that they would miss a bowl for reasons other than probation.
Brian Yates may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.