A season marred by disappointment for the Miami Hurricanes continued Saturday afternoon as they fell to the Duke Blue Devils at Hard Rock Stadium, 45-21.
Turnovers were the main culprit for Miami’s loss as it turned the ball over eight times, resulting in 24 Blue Devil points.
Duke’s rushing attack totaled 200 yards and four touchdowns while Miami (3-4, 1-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) struggled to get anything going on the ground, recording 48 rushing yards and averaging 1.5 yards per carry.
The Hurricanes also played much of the game without their starting quarterback, as Tyler Van Dyke went down with a shoulder injury in the second quarter and did not return.
Backup Jake Garcia replaced him, which had mixed results. He did throw for 198 yards and two touchdowns, but also threw three costly interceptions, including a pick-six in the fourth quarter that blew the game wide open.
“When you go through something like this and you’re rebuilding a program and you get hit in the face like this, you gotta be tough enough to look each other in the eye and stick together and go to work,” head coach Mario Cristobal said.
The game started off well for the ‘Canes with Van Dyke tossing a seven-yard touchdown to emerging young receiver Colbie Young after Duke (5-3, 2-2 ACC) fumbled on its opening drive. At the end of the first quarter, Miami held a 7-0 lead, and everything seemed under control.
However, the Blue Devils answered by outscoring Miami 17-0 in the second quarter with two rushing touchdowns by quarterback Riley Leonard and a field goal. At halftime, Duke held a 17-7 advantage and Miami needed a response in the second half.
They got just that as Garcia found Young down the sideline, who broke a tackle and took it 71 yards for a touchdown on Miami’s second play of the half.
A minute later, after another Duke fumble, Garcia hit tight end Will Mallory in space, and he ran 34 yards for a touchdown to give the ‘Canes a 21-17 lead.
Later in the third quarter, Duke would answer as Leonard threw a two-yard touchdown to Nicky Dalmolin to give Duke the lead. Still, Miami only trailed by three, 24-21, at the end of the third quarter.
Unfortunately for the ‘Canes, the fourth quarter was a disaster as Duke outscored them 21-0.
Less than a minute into the final frame, Leonard ran 11 yards for his third touchdown of the day to put the Blue Devils up by ten.
Midway through the fourth, Duke running back Jordan Waters punched it in from two yards out to give Duke a 38-21 advantage.
Then Garcia threw his third interception of the game, which a Duke defensive back took all the way to the end zone for a touchdown.
The ‘Canes will be back at it next week as they attempt to rebound against the Virginia Cavaliers on the road in Charlottesville, Virginia. Kickoff is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 29 at 12:30 p.m.