Canes Finish Season on High Note
By Matthew Osborne
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The Hurricanes finish the 2012 season with a 7-5 ledger, while the Blue Devils are an even 6-6 heading into their first bowl appearance since 1994.
In a game which saw the two teams combine for over 1,200 yards of total offense and nearly 100 points, it was the Miami Hurricanes’ offense that was able to find the end zone most often, propelling Al Golden’s squad past Duke 52-45 in Wallace Wade Stadium.
It was a game of momentum in Durham, as the Hurricanes would open up a comfortable lead only to see the Blue Devils narrow the gap to make things interesting.
Miami appeared poised to put the nail in the Blue Devils’ coffin early in the fourth quarter. Up 45-24, and facing fourth-and-goal from the Duke 1, Golden decided to keep his offense on the field. Stephen Morris took the snap from under center and handed it to freshman running back Duke Johnson, who attempted a Tebow-esque jump pass into the end zone. Although the play was initially ruled a touchdown, a booth review showed that the pass hit the ground, forcing a turnover on downs.
Duke would take advantage of its fortune immediately, as Sean Renfree hooked up with Jamison Crowder for a 99-yard scoring bomb on a busted coverage to bring the Blue Devils within two scores at 45-31.
Miami would go three-and-out on its next possession, giving Duke an opportunity to make it a one-possession game.
The Blue Devils would capitalize on the opportunity, as Renfree eventually hooked up with fellow senior Conner Vernon for a six-yard scoring strike which awakened the crown in Wallace Wade.
The momentum would be short-lived, however, as Morris linked up with Herb Waters for a 65-yard scoring strike on the first play following the kickoff, pushing the Miami lead back to 14.
The Blue Devils would eventually score a touchdown with less than three minutes remaining to keep their hopes alive, but a subsequent failed onside attempt, and the defense’s inability to slow down the Miami rushing attack, ultimately led to their demise.
On the afternoon, the Hurricanes racked up an astonishing 646 yards of total offense, led by the dynamic play of Morris and Johnson.
Morris completed 15-of-25 passes for 369 yards and three touchdowns, while Johnson accounted for 277 total yards and three additional scores.
The Blue Devils amassed 583 yards of their own, but were ultimately unable to make enough stops to emerge victorious.
Miami announced earlier this week that it has self-imposed a postseason ban for a second consecutive season, but this win affords the program with some much-needed positive momentum heading into the offseason.
The Hurricanes finish the 2012 season with a 7-5 ledger, while the Blue Devils are an even 6-6 heading into their first bowl appearance in nearly two decades.