|Defense gave spark that Hurricanes needed to knock off No. 20 Aggies|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 21 September 2007 09:09|
Miami defensive end Eric Moncur wasn't fooled. He snuffed out the run, moved untouched into the backfield and easily threw Aggies' tailback Mike Goodson for a 5-yard loss as the Orange Bowl roared in delight.
``Biggest play of the game,'' Miami coach Randy Shannon said.
Maybe the biggest play of the season, too.
M on Thursday night, a victory that could vault the Hurricanes (3-1) back into the national rankings and, if nothing else, it gives them momentum heading into Atlantic Coast Conference play next weekend.
``I think we made our statement,'' said linebacker Colin McCarthy, who had an interception and was credited with a team-high seven tackles.
M game - got Friday and Saturday off to catch up on schoolwork and get some rest. Players will be back Sunday, getting ready for a Duke team that nearly upset the Hurricanes last season; a last-second interception by Willie Cooper at the goal line sealed Miami's 20-15 nail-biting road win.
Shannon, though, was at work early Friday.
``It gets you going into the ACC,'' Shannon said Friday when asked what the win will do for the Hurricanes. ``That's what it really does. We're 3-1 now, we've got ACC play against Duke coming up and it gets you into a rhythm. ... When you get a rhythm like that and get going, it can get fun to watch.''
It was Miami's highest point total in its last 10 games, and the most by the Hurricanes against a ranked team in a regulation game since Oct. 14, 2004, against Louisville - coincidentally, another Thursday thriller at the Orange Bowl.
But while the offense did its part, it was Miami's defense that gave the Aggies the most fits.
The Hurricanes allowed only 38 yards on the way to a 24-0 halftime lead, a dominating performance against a team that came into Thursday averaging more than 46 points and 444 yards per game.
``When the offense is playing like they did, scoring and moving the ball, we feed off that and seem to take our defense to a whole other level,'' Miami defensive end Calais Campbell said. ``That is something that we thrive off.''
Miami's front seven simply stunned the Aggies.
M's top two rushers, Goodson and quarterback Stephen McGee, were hit behind the line for losses totaling 24 yards. They lost 27 yards on negative plays Thursday alone, and other than one 29-yard scamper by Goodson, he managed minus-1 yards on eight carries.
``We would make one guy miss,'' Goodson said, ``and then another guy would hit you.''
Nearly half of the Aggies' 240 total yards came on three plays, all of which came with the outcome essentially decided. Goodson had his long run with 4 minutes left in the third, he caught a 30-yard pass from McGee on the second play of the fourth quarter, and backup quarterback Jerrod Johnson found Martellus Bennett with a 33-yard touchdown pass with 5 seconds remaining.
Shannon wasn't happy with the way Miami allowed 17 fourth-quarter points or its three turnovers in the game, and vowed to have the Hurricanes correct those problems in the coming days.
Still, he acknowledged the win was significant from a mental standpoint.
``The players understand,'' Shannon said. ``We can do it now.''