Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports
As it did in 2011 and 2012, the NCAA investigation still looms over the 'Canes.
Miami entered the 2012 campaign as a very young team, and the inexperience certainly showed throughout the season. However, head coach Al Golden led his squad to a semi-historic, yet still simply decent season.
After quickly falling behind 14-0 to Boston College, it appeared as if 2012 was going to start on a forgettable foot. Eduardo Clements scored a one-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to seven, but Denzel Perryman changed the momentum of the entire game with a pick-six as the first quarter expired.
Then, of course, Duke Johnson exploded onto the scene with two 50-plus-yard touchdown runs, and the 'Canes took down the Eagles 41-32.
Riding high, Miami traveled to Manhattan, Kansas, to face Heisman candidate Collin Klein and the Kansas State Wildcats.
Long story short, it didn't go very well.
With a 52-13 thrashing, Kansas State redirected the Hurricanes back to Florida. The Wildcats' 52-spot was the fourth-most points allowed in school history by Miami.
The next week, however, the 'Canes were back on course. Powered by Duke's four touchdowns, Miami took down FCS foe Bethune Cookman 38-10, and the victory sparked a mini-winning streak.
Over the next two weeks, Stephen Morris threw for a jaw-dropping 1,002 yards and seven touchdowns against Georgia Tech (42-36, OT) and North Carolina State (44-37). Unfortunately for Miami, budding receiver Malcolm Lewis suffered a horrific leg injury against Georgia Tech and was lost for the season.
But after Miami opened 2012 with a 4-1 overall record and 3-0 mark in conference play, the 'Canes dropped three consecutive games to Notre Dame (41-3), North Carolina (18-14) and Florida State (33-20). Notre Dame bulled the 'Canes defense for 376 rushing yards, UNC capitalized on Stephen Morris' fourth-quarter injury, and FSU outscored Miami 17-7 in the fourth quarter to pull out the victory.
The Hurricanes had 12 days to prepare for rival Virginia Tech, and the Thursday night showdown kicked off Miami's final third of the season.
Morris (ankle) and Johnson (turf toe) took full advantage of the extended layoff to heal, and the duo did not disappoint in the 30-12 victory over the Hokies. Morris threw for 170 yards and two touchdowns, and Duke had an 81-yard kick return and a 65-yard run—both of which set up Hurricanes scores. The Miami defense, although it allowed 421 total yards, stepped up and forced three turnovers.
Surprisingly to many, the 'Canes then controlled their own destiny to winning a division title. Miami faltered the next week, however, and lost a heartbreaker 41-40 to Virginia.
The U pounded South Florida 40-9 before its final ACC contest of the season, and, with a win, Golden's team would clinch a spot in the conference championship.
Led by Morris and Johnson, Miami's high-powered attack again carried the team, posting 646 total yards on offense. The 'Canes left Durham with a 52-45 win over Duke and a Coastal Division title.
But as the NCAA cloud still hovered over the university, Miami decided to forgo postseason play for the second consecutive season, and the Hurricanes did not have an opportunity for a rematch against Florida State.
Miami finished the 2012 season with a 7-5 overall record, including 5-3 in ACC action.