Game 4: Miami 34, Texas A&M 17

Tonight the ‘work in progress’ was definitely working.

Anyone else completely forget what it felt like to not hit “erase” on your DVR before the game clock struck zero? What about SportsCenter leading in with Miami victory highlights and a spot on the new head coach? How about checking the box score, seeing a quarterback with 21 of 26 for 275 yards with 2 touchdowns and it’s a QB on the Canes’ roster?

I said earlier today, Texas A&M isn’t Oklahoma – but they’re a good football team. They came to the Orange Bowl believing they’d win, as did most in the media. aTm is light years better than FIU; the nobody bunch Miami hardly showed up for and sloppily beat 23-9 last Saturday.

Nah, to hell with the opponent. Tonight was about The U. It confirmed the ‘something special’ we felt and saw against Marshall wasn’t a mirage. Easy to lose steam (and faith) after 51-13 at #4 Oklahoma. A game where Miami was as out of synch from the get-go as Texas A&M was tonight, if not more.

It was, in most cliche terms, “a Canes thing”. The U looked good no matter who was on the other sideline… and it’s been too damn long since we could say that.

The 34-17 victory is a building block. It showed that Miami is still a force when clicking on all cylinders – something this program hasn’t seen since a 27-7 win at Virginia Tech in 2005. A big night for the defense where the Hokies’ offense was exposed (again). Tonight was about signs of life for the Canes’ offense – something this program hasn’t seen since Ken Dorsey fell to his knees on that Fiesta Bowl turf.

The Aggies are no Sooners, but the impact of this win can have a similar type springboard effect.

For nine months these Canes have been preached the gospel according to Randy Shannon. The scowl. The intensity. The Canes-heavy resume. Right down to how the new 41-year old coach could relate to them. This team wants to believe every word coming out of their new leader’s mouth. Play like a team. No individuals. Be accountable. I’ve won, you haven’t, follow my lead.

It resonates in team meetings and on the practice field.

Then game day it’s 51-13 upside your head.

A complete game against aTm better have whet this team’s appetite for what’s there’s for the taking; the ACC. All this talk of the Canes looking solid at Greentree, it was time to do it come game day – in front of that nationally televised audience. The ante was upped. Miami or Texas A&M was due to shine tonight. The football gods had to allow some Orange Bowl mystique for the final Thursday night ESPN match up in the legendary 70-year old stadium. The hometown kids would expose or be further exposed.

It was Magic City from the get go. A strong defensive three-and-out put the Canes offense on the field within minutes. An opening stuff and Javarris James dropped got things off on the wrong foot, but Miami stepped it up. The rest of the 18-play, 80-yard drive Wright was 5-of-5 on third downs with a quarterback sneak on 4th and 1.

#3 finally showed the “it” factor that’s been virtually lost the past few seasons. On the final third down conversion of the opening drive, Wright stepped up to avoid the pocket collapse and dumped the ball off to James.

In years past, a 3-yard Miami loss. Tonight, a conversion chalked up to some quarterback poise. One play later, a direct snap to Graig Cooper turns into a 7-yard touchdown run. It’s 7-0, the quarter almost over and the Aggies tagged in the nose. Their offense stopped; Miami’s unstoppable. Javorskie Lane, how U like us now?

The haters will say it’s only Texas A&M, but last week was only FIU and Miami was settling for field goals or red zone turnovers. Improvement is improvement. Regardless of the opponent, the Canes were hot tonight and it’s been a while since anyone could say that.

There’s definitely something to build on here. Shannon’s words are ringing true and this team is seeing if they follow their leader, they’re going to wind up right where they want to be. 3-1 is light years from 2-2. It might not sound like much, but right now it’s everything.

Duke is on the docket and 4-1 is safe to pencil a “W” there. A week later, a road trip to North Carolina – a revenge game for the 2004 upset with former Canes coach Butch Davis now calling the shots. Play like it did tonight and Miami is looking at 5-1 entering Georgia Tech weekend on October 13th – another game circled on the calendar after losing two straight to the Yellow Jackets.

A week ago, it’d have been premature to “go there” but after tonight, this team showed it might not be crazy to start thinking that way. There are going to be some setbacks, but this team has tasted some success and they’ll want to build on that.

Hard to remember such a quick turnaround for the Canes in a matter of weeks. Opening the season with Kirby Freeman behind center, Randy Phillips at corner, Khalil Jones at receiver and Richard Gordon returning kicks already seems forever ago. Amazing how momentum can turn on a dime.

Wright was clicked on all cylinders. Sam Shields had his breakout game. Darnell Jenkins proved reliable and clutch. Miami tight ends weren’t the forgotten, hauling in some big grabs. New wrinkles in The O with the direct snaps. A healthy, in your face defensive effort. Big hits. Turnovers. A breakout game for next-big-thing-linebacker, Colin McCarthy.

Same to be said for this staff. Patrick Nix proving his playcalling wasn’t the issue; execution was. Jeff Stoutland inheriting a sub-par offensive line and is turning them into the offensive MVPs thus far. Tim Walton earning the trust of coach Shannon, to the point where the former defensive coordinator is comfortable taking off the headphones and allowing the former secondary coach to call the shots.

This team and staff are quickly growing up and meshing. We’ll see it more each and every week. This is going to get exciting this team continues to make plays. There’s more than enough talent here to reach the ACC title game, barring Wright keeps looking like he did tonight. Make no mistake – these Canes are only going as far as their quarterback takes them.

For now, a time to relish in a season-changing win. One more wonderful chapter closed in the OB’s history. A final mid-week classic is in the books. A 34-17 win, extending Miami’s record to 11-1 on ESPN’s Thursday night telecasts and giving fans another one for the memory bank.

If things continue as they are, this one will be remembered as the first defining game of the Shannon Era. Something to look back on when we’re on top again, but for now – enjoy the moment.



9 thoughts on “Game 4: Miami 34, Texas A&M 17

  1. I want to publicly appologize for doubting this team. Last night was amazing!! The Canes needed this win, the fans needed this win, the students needed this win and the U needed this win. I hate to get overly excited by one game, but I think the U is back!! GO CANES!!!!

  2. Hey… that’s the first time I’ve seen Miami look like a football team in a long time!

    I’ve been giving you and the ‘Canes a lot of crap for their recent ineptitude but I’ll also give credit where credit is due. Wright looked sharp along with the rest of the offense (some bad drops though), the defense shut the Aggies down, and overall it was a hint — just a hint, mind you, don’t get a big head yet — of the Miami of old.

    Of course, it remains to be seen just how bad the Aggies are. They didn’t exactly dominate in their early cupcake games. Their offense seemed like it was stuck in mud. And you have to wonder how much closer this game would have been if A&M hadn’t coughed the ball up repetitively in the 2nd quarter and beyond.

    Still, it was a respectable game of football for Miami. Congratulations. I’ll never root for Miami to succeed but Randy Shannon seems like a quality guy doing things the right way. Miami could have done worse than him.

  3. WOW, Now we’re looking like Canes of old. I commented last after the FIU game and how there was no passion but now…..Wright looked like a differant person, the defense was fierce and the receivers did much better. I would have liked to have seen a shut out but a couple miss ques let to some points. Still, dominace and another thing if big Lane #11 had been in the game had been a featured back I don’t think he would have impacted the game at all. I think it was 2nd or 3rd and goal and our D stuffed him. this was an exciting game to watch and if our boys keep playing like that they will go far. Go Canes, lets get started with ACC play and gety our first title.

    § CANESTRACKER § in Tulsa

  4. Last night felt like Hurricane football is supposed to feel. Fast with a defense that will go and get the ball…with an offense that will do something with it when they get it. I keep trying not to raise my expectations too much, but if Kyle plays anywhere near like he did last night then we can find our way to that ACC title game.

    My fiance’ claims she’s incorporating the Georgia Tech game into our honeymoon in a few weeks. Of course I don’t want my 1 and only trip to The OB to be tainted with a loss. The team I saw last night put a lot of that fear at ease.

  5. As I said in the previous blog, what a great win. I don’t care how A&M turns out at the end of the season -last night we beat #20 in the country. I was surpised that they were ranked preseaon while we were not, but we knocked them off regardless. I was proud of how the guys came out and had some fire and passion. Wright looked like a confident quarterback mananaging the game, and both line played like they haven’t in years. The playcalling on offense was more dynamic than we’ve seen since the Dorsey years. It was refreshing to see new formations and playmakers actually being utilized. It was only one game, but today we have the right to be proud by hoe The U performed. All recruits need to take notice at a program that is on the rise, back to where it belongs. Go Canes!
    -Columbus Cane

  6. Fantastic game overall. From the coaching staff (Nix called a perfect game) to the players (#3 stepped up like a champ! and the D was formidable!), everyone did all that was needed to get a W. Great job. If I were to complain about something it would have to be the lack of focus in the 4th quarter even with the game out of reach. You can tell by coach’s expression he was not at all happy. I dont blame him either. Coach is a perfectionist and an overachiever (how did he ever play LB looking so small?). He wanted a shutout…the OB wanted a shutout. The players didnt show they wanted a shutout but were rather content with the Win. That mentality needs to change if we want to win the ACC. Marked improvements, though, all over the field. Great comment by one of the game commentators: Benching #3 was a wake up call. It that clearly showed. God it’s great to be back on course!!! Let’s go Canes!

  7. It was great game for alot of reasons, but it wasnt perfect. Im not ready to stand on a hill and yell “THE U IS BACK”. Wev got to get better production from the short yard run game. There is no reason we shouldnt get the TD at the end of the game to make it 38 instead of 34. Im also not ready to “pencil” in any W’s yet.

    With all that said, i was excited to see Wright play the way i know he can play, if the receivers continue to make plays like what was hinted during the aTm game, then my excitement will continue to grow. Keep tweaking the team, get them tighter and tighter and there is NO reason why we shouldnt take the ACC.


  8. I know you’re a busy person and have other things in your life but please help. I’m a dihard and I need more post on our beloved Canes and whatever is new, anything.
    Hurricanesports can only provide me with my fix for so long and ESPN, they’re a bunch of H8RS. Not to mention I’m in soonerland and my co-worker in the next desk over is a buckeye(aka: SUCKEYE) and my wife is a gator. (I know, I know) I really enjoy this site and have been a daily reader for a year now.
    � CANESTRACKER � in Tulsa

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