The Miami Hurricanes snapped their three-game road winning streak on Saturday afternoon, falling to No. 9 Clemson at Memorial Stadium, 40-10.
With the victory, the Tigers (10-1, 8-0 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)) won their nation-leading 40th straight home game, a streak that dates back to 2016.
Clemson scored 26 points before Miami (5-6, 3-4 ACC) got on the board in the third quarter and allowed only eight yards of offense to the Hurricanes in the first half.
“They did a good job up front, they’ve got a good front seven,” Miami head coach Mario Cristobal said. “We didn’t get a ton of movement, couldn’t get the ground game going.”
After winning his first collegiate start against Georgia Tech last week, freshman quarterback Jacurri Brown struggled mightily on Saturday, completing 6-of-13 passes for 53 yards and an interception. On Miami’s first drive, he missed a wide open Xavier Restrepo down the left sideline that could have been a 73-yard touchdown. It was a sign of things to come.
Brown was replaced by Jake Garcia in the fourth quarter, and he threw Miami’s only touchdown of the day to tight end Kahlil Brantley, whose one-yard reception was his first collegiate score, to make it 26-10 with 13:45 remaining.
“[We] felt that Jake had a pretty good feel for some of the things we wanted to do in the passing game, so we used him,” Cristobal said. “Jacurri’s a young guy. He played his butt off, tried his best. It was a lot.”
Heading into halftime down 24-0, the Hurricanes’ offense found a spark coming out of the locker room. Brown rushed for 40 yards to open the half, before throwing a 13-yard pass to receiver Colbie Young that put Miami on the Clemson 27.
However, the Tigers stuffed the ‘Canes on three consecutive runs to turn the ball over on downs and end a promising drive.
But then Miami’s defense stepped up, forcing turnovers on three straight Clemson drives in the third quarter. The first two involved cornerback DJ Ivey, who recorded a diving interception and fumble recovery. However, it was followed by a Miami three-and-out and safety, respectively.
The third turnover led to the Hurricanes’ only touchdown drive. On second-and-7, defensive lineman Akheem Mesidor sacked Tiger quarterback DJ Uiagalelei, and defensive lineman Jordan Miller scooped up the loose ball, bringing it 26 yards to Clemson’s 10-yard line. Garcia found Brantley three plays later.
Miami won the turnover battle 3-2, but only managed to score seven points off them.
“The defense kept us in the game, gave us an opportunity … we came up short,” Cristobal said.
Down 26-10 in the fourth quarter, the ‘Canes had chances to narrow the gap. Instead, Clemson forced a fumble and scored two touchdowns to stave off an unlikely comeback.
The Hurricanes dug themselves in an early hole, allowing two touchdowns on Clemson’s first two possessions of the game. Meanwhile, the Tigers’ defense was stout throughout, as Miami registered a season-low 98 yards compared to 447 for Clemson.
The ‘Canes first points came off a 44-yard field goal by kicker Andres Borregales with 5:55 in the third quarter.
Miami’s run game was uninspired, with the tandem of running backs Jaylan Knighton and Henry Parrish combining for 22 yards on 12 carries. Tight end Will Mallory was one of three ‘Canes to record a reception in the game, leading Miami with 42 yards on four catches.
Next up, the Hurricanes return to Hard Rock Stadium for their last regular season game against Pittsburgh, which they must win to be bowl eligible. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 26.