If there’s anything positive to take from the Miami Hurricanes’ 44-41 victory over N.C. State, it would be something yet to be achieved by a Manny Diaz led program.
Unlike a 2019 season that featured an 0-5 record when trailing entering the fourth quarter, UM was able to pick things up when it mattered most, overcoming a 10-point deficit and becoming bowl eligible for yet again another season.
Additionally, Miami snapped their on-going 1-4 bye week losing streak, a skid that needed to be changed before heading into the right direction.
“We’ve got a connected football team,” Diaz said. “…If we didn’t we would’ve been exposed tonight, and we would’ve found a way to lose this game.”
Miami’s final period comeback was nothing short of spectacular. In nine plays, the Wolfpack were held to six yards, two punts and an interception. As for the Canes, they used three crucial possessions to nail two field goals and ice the game with a D’Eriq King passing touchdown to senior receiver Mike Harley Jr. They ultimately used their fourth and final drive to run down the clock.
UM garnered a total of 209 yards on 30 plays in the final 15 minutes.
Those efforts were obviously led by King, who completed 31 of his 41 passes for 430 yards and five touchdowns. The redshirt senior added 105 rushing yards and zero interceptions, deserving of a 91.8 quarterback rating.
“When you have a quarterback like D’Eriq, you never feel like you’re out of the game,” Diaz said.
Now at 6-1 on the season, Diaz’s team is nowhere near where they expect. Although the No. 9 ranking in the latest AP Poll would say otherwise, the road ahead in order to reach an ACC Championship bid showcases exactly why.
Following Clemson’s 41-47 loss to Notre Dame, a game in which didn’t feature the Tigers’ Heisman candidate signal-caller Trevor Lawrence, the Fighting Irish now hold the greater advantage to reach the ACC title game. As for Clemson, thanks to their 42-17 blowout win over UM back in early October, they comfortably contain the second seed.
For Miami, that means they’ll need to win-out the remainder of their games and have the Tigers lose one or Notre Dame lose two. If not, only time will tell how the Hurricanes can conceivably earn a trip to the College Football Playoffs.
While there’s still plenty of time until those events take place, it’s great to see UM fight through adversity and pull away from a final quarter deficit, an obstacle that they couldn’t overcome last year against Florida, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, FIU and Louisiana Tech.
With much more to play for this time around, it’s important to find ways to get those victories. Although it’s just N.C. State, it’s also a learning experience the offense and defense will use.
As always, only time will tell if they can repeat those similar traits.