Winning three of the first four games is impressive.
On Saturday night, head coach Randy Shannon and his Miami Hurricanes (3-1) established themselves as a team that could compete with any as they knocked off the 2008 national championship runner-up team, No. 8-ranked Oklahoma, 21-20.
A jubilant Shannon hugged every Miami Hurricane player, coach and staff member after the tremendous win.
“The game was big for us,” Shannon said. “The reason why we were successful is because we went back to the basics and went back to hard work.”
The Canes jumped six spots in the Associated Press poll and now stand at No. 11.
UM knew they faced an uphill battle coming into the system. This was the first time in the history of the Atlantic Coast Conference that an ACC team faced four ranked opponents in a row. The Hurricanes walked away with a 3-1 record, something that was not expected from them.
“We are going in the direction we needed to be headed,” Shannon said. “But we are not where we want to be. You know, this is not the 13th or 14th game of the season so that’s why you can’t say Miami was back.”
Senior running back Javarris James was a part of the team that traveled to Norman in 2007 only to see Oklahoma defeat Miami 51-13. In that game, James had eight carries for 28 yards and a fumble that lead to a defensive touchdown. But this was a new year and a new James.
“When my name was called, I showed up,” said James, who rushed for a career-high 150 yards on 15 carries against the Sooners. “It’s Oklahoma. This was a big game for us now and for the future. Big-time players show up.”
Even Shannon praised James for his ability to run through the Sooners who were coming off back-to-back shutouts.
“It means a lot to us and to him because he’s worked so hard coming back,” Shannon said. “He really hadn’t done anything since he was a freshman, to be honest. To come up with a game like that was huge for him.”
But the younger players also showed up for the Canes, especially on defense. Sophomore linebacker Sean Spence tied a career-high in tackles with 10.
Redshirt freshman safety Vaughn Telemaque and freshman safety Ray Ray Armstrong combined for 16 total tackles, but the presences of the two changed Oklahoma’s ability to throw over the top.
“We’re really happy,” said Armstrong, who received significant defensive playing time against Oklahoma. “Nobody gave us a chance at the beginning of the season. Everyone was saying we’d go 0-4, so we had to stick together in the locker room knowing the team is the only thing we had, that we had to play hard every down, every snap. And now we see what the outcome is.”
The focus now will fall back on Shannon, the coaching staff and the team leaders. The Hurricanes finally completed their grueling first four games and now they cannot get complacent.
Shannon wants his team to stay away from the hype of the media. Harris and his teammates only watch Spongebob Squarepants and 48 Hours in order to relax and stay humble.
On tap this week, the Canes have to prepare for Florida A&M, a Football Championship Subdivision team.
Lelan LeDoux may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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