No. 21 Miami Defeats Duke, 34-16
Nov. 21, 2009
MIAMI (AP) - Jacory Harris threw for 348 yards and two touchdowns, Darryl Sharpton capped his final home game with a 73-yard interception return for a score, and No. 21 Miami staved off a Duke challenge for the fourth straight year in a 34-16 win Saturday.
Damien Berry's 2-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter opened the floodgates for Miami (8-3, 5-3 Atlantic Coast Conference). Leonard Hankerson had career bests of eight catches and 143 yards - including a 44-yard score - for the Hurricanes, who scored the final 24 points to keep hope alive for their first 10-win season since 2003.
Thaddeus Lewis finished 20 of 37 for 303 yards for Duke (5-6, 3-4), taking over the school's all-time lead in passing yardage with 9,678. Donovan Varner caught eight passes for a career-high 165 yards and a touchdown for the Blue Devils, who have now lost 55 straight away from home against ranked opponents, dating to October 1971.
Duke took a 16-10 lead on Will Snyderwine's third field goal of the game, a 26-yarder early in the third quarter.
After that, it was all Miami.
Duke was eliminated from bowl contention. The Blue Devils were seeking their first postseason appearance since 1994.
Berry - with the sparse crowd announced at 38,200 chanting his name throughout the drive - scored with 13:41 left to cap a 15-play, 90-yard march and put Miami ahead to stay. Hankerson's TD grab, stretching over the goal line while being tackled, made it a two-score game. Then Sharpton made his first career interception count 90 seconds later, picking Lewis off and streaking to the end zone.
Harris completed 25 of 43 passes - with an ailing right hand protected by a brace - and now has 3,003 yards this season, making him the seventh Miami quarterback with a 3,000-yard season and the first since Ken Dorsey in 2002.
Miami was a three-touchdown favorite, which only goes to show that oddsmakers paid little attention to series history.
It's hardly been a one-sided set of recent meetings.
- In 2006,the Hurricanes went to Durham and needed a last-second interception of a pass by Lewis at the goal line to seal a 20-15 win.
- In 2007, Lewis was sacked by Eric Moncur to stop a drive with 3 minutes left, and Miami got a late touchdown to win 24-14.
- Last year, Duke led 24-14 in the third quarter before Harris put on a show, getting four of his five TDs in the second half and leading Miami to a 49-31 win, a game in which Blue Devils coach David Cutcliffe acknowledged this week his team "just really shut down."
It was more of a wearing down in this one.