Miami Football: 5 Plays That Decided the Game vs. USF
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The Miami Hurricanes bounced back from a loss last week with a 40-9 pounding of the South Florida Bulls.
Quarterback Stephen Morris became the first player in school history to post two 400-yard performances in a season with a 413-yard, three-touchdown game.
Clive Walford, Herb Waters and Phillip Dorsett all had 100-plus yards receiving, while Kendal Thompkins added 80 more.
Miami improved to 6-5 with the win, making the team bowl eligible for the fifth consecutive season. The Hurricanes face the Duke Blue Devils next week with a chance to win the Coastal Division.
Here are five plays that decided the game against the Bulls.
Note: Highlights and Statistics courtesy of ESPN.com
Miami Blocks Maikon Bonani FG Attempt
The Hurricanes' special teams came up huge on this block.
After forcing an USF punt to open the game, the Hurricanes’ first drive ended with a Jake Wieclaw field goal.
The Bulls proceeded to reach the Miami 21-yard line before the possession stalled. Senior Maikon Bonani trotted onto the field to attempt a 39-yarder.
Instead of tying the game, sophomore Anthony Chickillo stuck his mitts up and smacked the Bonani kick aside, leaving the Hurricanes with a 3-0 lead.
USF did not score until the half expired on a Bonani field goal.
Jimmy Gaines' Interception in Second Quarter
Jimmy Gaines picked off his second pass of the season.
Wieclaw kicked his third field goal of the game to give Miami a 9-0 advantage over USF. On the first play of the Bulls' ensuing possession, linebacker Jimmy Gaines intercepted a Matt Floyd pass.
Gaines' takeaway set up the Hurricanes offense inside the red zone and Morris capitalized immediately. He connected with the senior Thompkins for a 16-yard touchdown on the next snap.
The senior kicker tacked on the extra point, and Miami led 16-0 midway through the second quarter.
Rayshawn Jenkins' Interception in Second Quarter
Jenkins made his first career interception on this play.
Following the Thompkins' score, the Bulls drove down to the UM 38-yard line in six plays.
USF tried a play-action pass, but great pressure by Chickillo forced Floyd to air-mail his throw and Rayshawn Jenkins had enough room that he could've called for a fair catch.
This play ended the Bulls' scoring threat and kept the Hurricanes' shutout alive.
The true freshman Jenkins has had a phenomenal two-game stretch and could see more playing time in the regular season finale against the Blue Devils.
Skip Holtz Letting the Clock Run
Holtz's decision to not call a time out frustrated USF fans, such as this one.
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Demetris Murray took a handoff with about 30 seconds to go on a 1st-and-goal from the UM seven-yard line. He only gained a yard, but that wasn't the problem.
USF head coach Skip Holtz decided not to stop the clock even though the Bulls had all three timeouts.
After Floyd was unable to connect with Terrence Mitchell on second down, only two seconds remained before halftime.
Bonani knocked home the 23-yard field goal, but Miami held a 16-3 lead at the half instead of a lesser 16-7 advantage.
Herb Waters' 87-Yard Touchdown Reception
Waters had only five catches going into the USF game.
Miami's depleted receiving corps was a big worry heading into Saturday's game for Hurricanes nation—myself included.
Head coach Al Golden wasn't concerned with the reserves, according to ESPN's Heather Dinich, during the week, and man, we should have listened.
Herb Waters had a breakout game with four catches, 130 yards and this touchdown. Morris found the true freshman on a go-route with a beautiful pass to extend Miami's lead to 30-3.
The touchdown put the game out of reach for USF, and the Hurricanes were well on their way to the sixth win of the year.