Miami went into the Russell Athletic Bowl knowing it’d have its hands full with Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
What the Hurricanes didn’t see coming—an absolutely suffocating performance, courtesy of the Cardinals’ defense.
Miami was held to a season-low 174 total yards, unable to get it done through the air, or on the ground. The Hurricanes were an abyssmal 0-for-11 on third down conversions and didn’t notch an offensive score until early in the fourth quarter when running back Gus Edwards punched in a meaningless two-yard touchdown.
After self-imposing back-to-back postseason bans and earning their first bowl berth since 2010, the Hurricanes appeared to be ready. Head coach Al Golden and staff had 19 days to prepare, 18 practices to scheme and a roster full of supposedly pent-up kids, ready to relish the opportunity.
Instead, it was the Cardinals and a roster full of Florida-bred players who rolled into Orlando with purpose and passion. Miami couldn’t even come close to matching Louisville’s energy.
Bridgewater put together a career night, throwing for 447 yards and three touchdowns. Late in the game, the junior all-everything quarterback ran in a score from a yard out on fourth down—an effort to pad the highlight reel and to put an exclamation point on his season, should this be his final collegiate outing with the NFL calling.
Meanwhile, the Hurricanes invented new ways to unravel.
Down 16-2 late in the second quarter, Morris was sacked and fumbled away a gimmie scoring opportunity inside the red zone. A few plays later James Burgess Jr.—another former Miami commit—delivered a crowd-silencing hit on Dallas Crawford. Early in the third, a backwards pass and some trickery resulted in a 19-yard loss.
Miami was also stuffed twice on fourth down over the course of the game, giving away both field position and momentum in crucial situations.
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