Sunday, November 22, 2009
The Bowling Shoes don't fit
The dream is dead.
I am too heart broken to write a full analysis, but here are my thoughts.
Although Miami had the better first half stats, we easily could have been up a lot more. Coach Cut said we could have been up 20. We had three impressive drives stall into field goal opportunities. Snyderwine nailed them all, but we needed to walk away with more points. Pass only teams usually struggle in the red zone as the field shrinks, and although we ran the ball a little better Saturday, we’re still pass only.
Defensively, we really played well, and had a handful of near-interceptions. Jacory Harris looked pretty terrible, and we always seemed just inches away from getting a big INT. Unfortunately, they don’t give you the ball for near interceptions.
When it all fell apart (last drive of the 3rd-4th)
Especially later in the game, when Miami had the ball, they had an uncanny ability to convert on 3rd and long. Miami took a 20-16 lead early in the fourth after a monster, 90-yard drive, that actually began at the 5 when you take into account a first down penalty. Duke held them to a 3rd an 8 on the 12, but they completed the pass. They were 5-for-6 on third downs in the third, and 8-for-10 in the 2nd half. Meanwhile, for the game we were 3-for-12. Ugh. During the drive, Damien Berry steamrolled over Duke, gaining 58 yards.
But after Miami took the lead, Duke responded with a long drive of its own. On 2nd and goal, UM foiled a screen pass, and Lewis threw it on the ground. Lewis was flagged for intentional grounding. He was inside the hash marks, but there was certainly a receiver in the area, and Cut and Bob Harris were both livid. Then on the next play, 3rd and goal from the 13, Lewis threw toward Hollingsworth, who might have been held by a defender. No flag. Now Cut and Harris are in apocalypse mode. Cut is screaming, slams his headset into the ground, and [ENGLISH MAJOR ALERT!] as the audio equipment plunged down toward the earth, so did so many Blue Devil hopes and dreams. Snyderwine’s 31-yard attempt sailed wide right, and Duke was never in the game again.
Miami got a TD on the next possession, and Thad threw a pick-6 on a forced throw on the next possession, and just like that, a VERY winnable game was 34-16.
- Interestingly, this is Cut’s first loss at Duke after leading through three quarters (we’re 8-1).
- If we had won, I had a wonderfully worked-up opening about Will Smith's "Welcome to Miami" being one of our classic Mardi Gras Bowling songs. It would have been beautiful.
- Injuries piling up. Cut said that Thad’s injuries are really bad, noting that Thad couldn’t even sit in his car until Thursday this week, that’s how bad his thigh hurt. No Vince for the 2nd straight game. No Boyette or Johnny Williams. And our starting left guard didn’t play.
- Holy crap, what happened to Miami football? That stadium was EMPTY!
- Coach Cut said this: "I could not be more proud of a football team. They amaze me over and over and over. If we had been able to do this and pull off next week and be a bowl team, I would have considered us the No. 1 team in America for the accomplishment."
- Congrats to Thad, who became Duke’s all-time leading passer. Next week we’ll bid him farewell in typical DudeSpin fashion, but for now, I have to put the bowling shoes back in the closet and cancel my plane reservations to Boise.