Explosive First Half Lifts Miami Over Duke
Nov. 5, 2011
MIAMI (AP) - Lamar Miller ran for two touchdowns and became Miami's first 1,000-yard rusher since 2002, Jacory Harris passed for three first-half scores and the Hurricanes scored on their first five possessions to roll past Duke 49-14 on Saturday.
Miller finished with 147 yards, giving him 1,016 for the season - the first Hurricane since Willis McGahee to reach that mark. Mike James also ran for two touchdowns for Miami (5-4, 3-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), which got scoring catches from Tommy Streeter, Phillip Dorsett and Chase Ford.
Sean Renfree completed 19 of 25 passes for 181 yards and a touchdown, plus rushed for another score for Duke (3-6, 1-4). The Blue Devils lost for the 44th time in their last 48 ACC road games.
"I thought we played all four quarters and in all three phases," Miami coach Al Golden said. "Real pleased with the effort."
Miller - who predicted earlier in the week that he would reach the mark Saturday - topped the 1,000-yard barrier in style.
Only six yards from the plateau, he took off on a 22-yard touchdown run with 8:56 left, a score that gave Miami its highest point total against a major-college opponent since beating Virginia 52-17 on Nov. 7, 2009. He also had a 3-yard TD run in the third quarter for the Hurricanes, who are 7-0 against Duke since joining the ACC.
Harris completed 14 of 20 passes for 202 yards for Miami, which rolled up 467 yards. Miami ran for 265 yards on just 39 tries.
"Everybody's been working hard this whole week," Harris said. "We've been putting in the work to get better."
The Hurricanes visit rival Florida State next Saturday. And if there was any concern that Miami was looking ahead to the trip to Tallahassee, it was debunked quickly.
Miami needed only five plays to march 78 yards for the game's first score, a 1-yard Harris pass to Ford - capping a drive that got done fasters than the officials' review of the scoring play. Duke had a pair of false-starts on its ensuing drive and had to punt away, and Miami broke out a slew of offensive surprises to take a 14-0 lead.
Three different players - Stephen Morris, James and then Harris - took snaps on three successive Miami plays on the Hurricanes' second drive, a march sealed by James' 1-yard run on fourth down. A 2-yard touchdown pass from Harris to Dorsett early in the second quarter made it 21-0, and the Hurricanes were rolling.
Renfree got Duke within 14 points twice, first after engineering a 13-play, 64-yard drive that ended with his 4-yard touchdown pass to Conner Vernon, then again in the third quarter when he went up the middle for a 6-yard score that cut Miami's lead to 28-14.
It was all Hurricanes from there.
Duke lost its last realistic chance to get back into the game with 12:46 left, when Hurricanes linebacker Sean Spence - already a three-time ACC player of the week winner at his position this season - got through the line and threw Anthony Boone for a loss on fourth-and-1 from the Miami 11.
The second of Miller's two rushing touchdowns came after Ray-Ray Armstrong's interception of Renfree with 9:44 left, and James' second touchdown of the day was preceded by Boone fumbling the ball away with 7:40 remaining.
A month ago, Duke came to Miami and won - beating Florida International. That was Duke's third straight win, harkening talk of ending a long bowl drought in Durham.
Now the Blue Devils face long odds of reaching the postseason. Duke needs three wins in its final three games to finish at .500.
And for Miami, it's on to Florida State - a game that Golden alluded to even in his on-field interview just after the final whistle Saturday, saying the Hurricanes need no reminder of the challenge next weekend.
"We've got to be focused, adhere to the process and get better every day," Golden said. "We haven't done that consistently."