In a nearly unprecedented move, Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes head coach Al Golden and Savannah State head coach Earnest Wilson agreed to shorten the fourth quarter of Miami's 77-7 win Saturday night by three minutes.
The 12-minute fourth quarter, which also featured a running clock, was first reported by Brian London of CaneInsider.com:
Both coaches have agreed to shorten the 4th quarter to a 12 minute quarter— BrianTheBeastLondon (@MiamiRadioBeast) September 22, 2013
Golden and Wilson came to their decision after the Hurricanes scored 77 points on the Tigers in the first 45 minutes. That is the most Miami has scored in school history and five points behind the ACC single-game record of 82.
The standard move in these situations is usually to install a running clock, keeping the game at the full 60 minutes while mitigating the damage. As pointed out by Bryan Fischer of the Pac-12 Network, Louisville and Florida International used a running clock in the final 18 minutes of the Cardinals' 72-0 win earlier Saturday afternoon:
We’ve had a running clock (Louisville-FIU) and a 12 minute 4th quarter (Miami-Savannah State) in college football today.— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) September 22, 2013
However, it was clear all involved wanted to expedite the process as quickly as possible. Golden revealed after the game that the wheels were already in motion to shorten the game at halftime.
Despite losing starting quarterback Stephen Morris to injury in the first quarter and benching backup quarterback Ryan Williams in the second half, Miami continued finding success against the overmatched FCS school. The Hurricanes scored touchdowns on each of their first seven possessions before a shortened possession at the end of the first half halted the streak. They then scored on four of their five second-half possessions.
They also had an opportunity to get into the end zone once in the abridged fourth quarter, but chose to run a quarterback sneak on a fourth down to award Savannah State the football.
Although the Hurricanes' victory is among the biggest of the week, it was not unexpected. Vegas Insider had Miami as 60-point favorites heading into the contest, with the 16th-ranked team in the country taking on a side that had lost to Troy by 63 points and Georgia Southern by 68 already this season.
According to Fantasource's Twitter page, the result should count at most sportsbooks, which typically consider a game "official" once it hits the 55-minute mark.
The Hurricanes paid Savannah State $375,000 to make the trip to Sun Life Stadium. Schools in larger conferences typically give smaller schools exorbitant sums to make these trips in order to reap the rewards of a home game and an easy win for their team.
Miami will travel to South Florida next week, while Savannah State rejoins the ranks of the FCS against Delaware State.
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