It was late in the first quarter on Saturday at Sun life Stadium when your Miami Hurricanes, already holding an impressive 23-7 lead over North Carolina State, found themselves with the ball and a first and goal situation at the Wolfpack's two yard line courtesy of a NCST turnover and a penalty.
The happy and confident Wolfpack alumni and fans we met in the parking lot before the game were now seated inside the sweltering stadium and looked quiet and concerned that this game was about to be over almost as soon as the smoke had cleared and the game had started.
The Jedd Fisch coached Hurricane offense, led by UM QB Stephen Morris, would almost certainly hand the ball off to the powerful Mike James who run the ball behind Art Kehoe's impressive offensive line and Miami would score and then be sitting on an insurmountable 30-7 first quarter lead.
All of the announced crowd of 38,000 (not quite) or so orange and green clad UM fans (including Kenny, TSully, 86Cane and Hassan seen below) would be able to sit back, try to find a cold beverage and maybe some shade from the oppressive noon day sun and then just relax the afternoon away.
It was clearly evident to all in attendance on both sides of the field that UM was dominating the game and would casually cruise to another easy ACC victory while moving to a 3-0 Conference record atop the Coastal Division. But that was before something really (pardon the pun) Fischy happened.
To the shocking dismay of the Miami fans at the game (like former UM kicker Greg Cox, the lovely Anastasia and Canespacer OGV above) Morris dropped back to pass on first down from the two. As Hurricane fans looked at each other in complete disbelief, Morris scanned the field for an open receiver before settling on tight end Clive Walford, who was wide open and positioned right at the goal line.
Morris drilled the pass (as he is often known to do on short passes) high and hot to Walford, who in spite of getting both hands on the ball, could not make the catch. Instead the UM tight end tipped the ball high into the air and (you could see this coming) eventually into the waiting hands of as Wolfpack defender for the interception.
The easy breezy blowout had turned into a nail biting barn burner in the blink of an eye.
North Carolina State would come roaring back not once but twice in the first and second half of the game to give the Hurricanes and their fans enough drama for a full season in one game.
As if the Georgia Tech game last week didn't have enough histrionics for a lifetime of football this game against NC State was almost certainly the final coronary tipping point for the weak of heart.
The UM baby swiss cheese defense gave up enough yardage for a season (664 yards) and enough points to lose the game(37). But the Miami offense behind the (at times) amazing and (other times) erratic Morris, would simply not give up or give this game away and scored enough points (44) to beat the Wolfpack in dramatic fashion with just :19 seconds left on the clock.
On third down and 11 Morris stepped back to pass, scrambled away from pressure and heaved a 60 yard pass to the wide open and waiting Phillip Dorsett. The elusive deep threat for Miami clutched the ball at the seven and spun into the end zone for the winning score to the delight of the small but raucous crowd still on hand to witness the wild finish under the scorching sun at Sun Life Stadium.
When it was over Miami walked away a winner while sporting a 4-1 season record and a perfect 3-0 ACC tally. It wasn't easy, and it wasn't always pretty but it was another important conference win in a game that just a season or two ago would have almost certainly resulted in a loss.
Anyway you want to slice and dice it, just accept it, put it in a box, and wrap it up. A win, is a win, and as you know the official theme for this season is: "Just Win Baby!"
As UM offensive lineman Jon Feliciano's mother (seen here with TSully before the game) said to me after the game: "It was a win. We'll take it."