The last time the Hurricanes (1-1) and Sooners (2-0) squared off was in 1988, when No. 2 Miami defeated No. 1 Oklahoma 20-14 for the national championship. Nineteen years later, the Sooners exacted a little revenge, hammering the Hurricanes 51-13.
“Today wasn’t a very good day for the University of Miami,” Head Coach Randy Shannon said. “The guys have to understand that when you come up to an opponent like the University of Oklahoma, they are a very great team and have a lot of talent just like we have a lot of talent.”
From the get go, things quickly took a downward turn, as redshirt freshman Sam Bradford connected with wide receiver Malcolm Kelly, giving the Sooners a 7-0 lead.
The Hurricanes then cut the score to 7-3, after Oklahoma fumbled a punt snap to their eight yard line, but they quickly saw the four point deficit turn to 17, as Kelly grabbed his second touchdown and Oklahoma returned a Javarris James fumble for a touchdown.
At this point, Shannon replaced quarterback Kirby Freeman with Kyle Wright. Wright helped the Hurricanes march downfield, eventually connecting with sophomore Ryan Hill for the touchdown, cutting the deficit to 21-10.
On Oklahoma’s first possession out of the half, Kenny Phillips forced a fumble, which eventually led to a Miami field goal.
From this point on, Miami was unable to cope with the Oklahoma onslaught, as Bradford threw three more touchdown passes, leading to the 51-13 defeat of the Hurricanes.
“I’m really not surprised,” Bradford said. “Knowing the guys that are out there with me, I can’t explain it. It’s unreal how good those guys out there are.”
The highly touted Hurricane defense looked completely dumbfounded by an efficiently orchestrated Oklahoma offense.
Defensively, the zone left a number of open gaps on the field, allowing for easy receptions. In an effort to adjust, the ‘Canes would switch to man coverage, but the talented OU receivers would expose the Hurricane secondary.
Offensively, Miami could only manage seven first downs and 139 total net yards, as opposed to Oklahoma’s 25 and 411, respectively. Additionally, Oklahoma’s Malcolm Kelly singlehandedly outperformed Miami’s entire receiving core.
The Miami quarterbacks’ performances may have reopened the starting quarterback competition between Wright and Freeman, pulling a sudden u-turn toward Wright.
Wright entered the game in the second quarter to relieve a struggling Freeman. Under Wright, the offense put up 10 points, six of their seven first downs and the team’s only three third down conversions, but Wright was pulled after three and a half series, even though he seemed to present the ‘Canes with the best opportunity to win.
Freeman connected on 3-of-9 passes for 17 yards and no touchdowns, while Wright completed 7-of-14 for 65 yards and one touchdown.
Shannon was disappointed in the loss, but does not believe this game will effect the rest of the season.
“I have too much pride and think these players have too much pride,” he said. “They didn’t quit and they kept fighting, but there were too many big plays. When you give up too many big plays you can’t be successful that way.”
Pravin Patel may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.