Trailing 14-0 in the first quarter of their game against Boston College your University of Miami football team could have hung their heads, folded their tents, packed their bags and headed back to South Florida with their damaged pride and an 0-1 record to start the season.
Instead this Miami team kept their heads up, kept the faith in head coach Al Golden and each other and managed to maintain their composure long enough to come roaring back and beat BC 41-32 to win their first game of the 2012 season.
It may not have been the most impressive, or dominating or convincing win in the history of the program but this team managed to do something that last year's team could not do in their final game of the season against the Golden Eagles: Just win baby!
That is the theme that I have selected for the 2012 season: "Just Win Baby."
Many of the local media reps and almost all of the National talking heads have predicted a mediocre season for your Miami Hurricanes in 2012. Their predictions ranged from 4-8 to 8-4 with most falling somewhere into the 5-7 to 7-5 range.
However what these "experts" failed to do was to talk to Duke Johnson, Malclom Lewis, Ereck Flowers, Eddie Johnson, Tyriq McCord, Deon Bush, Tracy Howard or any of the other fabulous freshman who have decided to make Miami back into a National powerhouse with their own hands.
Let it be recorded that on the first day of September 2012 a star was born as The Duke became The King of Miami. Freshman running back Duke Johnson in his first game as a Hurricane was everything he was supposed to be and more. Johnson looked like Clinton Portis, Willis McGahee, and Frank Gore all rolled into one as he rushed for 135 yards and busted loose for two scores of 56 and 54 yards.
Sure I realize that it was just one game but oh what a game it was. The elusive Johnson, who shared time with the hard-running Mike James (14 carries, 57 yards), almost certainly made more than a few UM fans say: "Lamar who?" Duke shaked, baked and snaked his way through the BC defense making them look like they were in slow motion. Duke is no fluke.
UM rushed for 208 yards on the day in an evenly balanced performance courtesy of UM offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch (207 passing, 415 total).
New starting QB Stephen Morris got off to a rough start much as a result of his receivers dropping passes or tipping them into the waiting arms of BC defenders. Morris (and his receivers) eventually settled down and he went on to complete 28 of 45 passes for just over 200 yards and one TD and one INT on the day.
The UM defense started out playing as soft as whipped creme and early in the game coach D'Onofrio's group did its very best imitation of the infamous swiss cheese defense of recent years past. They started off playing a passive zone defense in which UM defenders sat around in space covering absolutely nothing more than air and their backsides.
They later switched to a more aggressive press coverage defense with much better results. Another star in the making is UM LB Denzel Perryman who had seven tackles and returned one interception for a pick-six. Sophomore DE Anthony Chickillo had a timely fumble recovery and CB Ladarius Gunter also got into the action with an fumble recovery (and return) of his own.
The special teams were indeed special the entire game. The UM kick and punt coverage teams were stellar and speedy WR Phillip Dorsett showed great potential as the #1 return man as he almost broke free for a score on one kick return that went for 37 yards. The law firm of Wieclaw and Botts teamed up to handle their official duties in efficient fashion.
The bottom line is that Miami's win over BC in Chestnut Hill on Saturday was a road win in the ACC under tough circumstances and in a hostile environment by a young team playing their first game together. Wrap it up, put a nice big orange and green bow on it, and I'll take it.
Just win baby!