Murray’s TD run in OT lifts USF past Miami 23-20
By TIM REYNOLDS
AP Sports Writer
MIAMI (AP) — Demetris Murray had a 1-yard touchdown run in overtime and South Florida stunned Miami 23-20 on Saturday, sending the Hurricanes to their worst season at home since 1997.
Bobby Eveld tied the game with a 1-yard run with 2 minutes left in regulation, then got the Bulls back to the 1 with a 9-yard catch by Joel Miller in overtime. Murray went over the top of the pile one play later, and the Bulls (7-4) rushed the field wildly.
Miami had a chance to win in regulation, but Jacory Harris threw an interception — with the Hurricanes in field goal range — with 5 seconds left. Matt Bosher kicked a 38-yarder on the first possession of overtime for Miami, but it wasn’t enough as the Hurricanes (7-5) finished 3-3 at home for the first time in 14 seasons.
Murray had two TD runs and Moise Plancher rushed for 103 yards for the Bulls. Storm Johnson had a 71-yard touchdown run for Miami.
The Hurricanes trailed 10-0 in the third quarter, before Lamar Miller’s 8-yard run finally got them on the board. And when Johnson got loose up the middle on Miami’s first play of the final period — his first carry of the game — the Hurricanes seemed to have control.
Miami had used three other running backs before turning to Johnson, and the freshman quickly made the move look brilliant.
It was the longest rush by a Miami ballcarrier since Frank Gore got loose for a 77-yard gain against Syracuse on Nov. 17. 2001, and the longest touchdown run for a Hurricane since Clinton Portis’ 82-yarder against McNeese State on Aug. 31, 2000.
But in the end, an interception — Miami’s biggest problem all season — spelled trouble. Instead of giving Bosher a chance to win it in Miami’s home finale, Harris was picked off by Jerrell Young, and the Bulls immediately began celebrating, as if they just knew they would pull it out in overtime.
Which they always do — USF is now 9-0 all-time in overtime.
And now the question becomes this for Miami: Will Randy Shannon get more time to get the Hurricanes back in the national picture?
Shannon’s job security has been the subject of much speculation for weeks, especially after Miami lost at Virginia and got beaten handily in its two biggest home games of the year — against Florida State and Virginia Tech. Miami’s home stadium was less than half-filled for the finale, and a plane circled overhead before kickoff with a banner calling for a coaching change.
And for much of the day, Miami’s offense didn’t exactly do much to help Shannon’s cause.
Miami came into the game having put up at least 420 yards of offense in seven straight games, a streak that no Hurricanes team in more than 15 years — not even the 2001 national championship squad — managed.
So inexplicably, the offense sputtered against South Florida. Or more specifically, stalled.
The Hurricanes punted on their first six possessions, then finally got something going late in the first half, driving 57 yards to get a first-and-goal at the South Florida 1.
The end result? No points.
Damien Berry was stopped on first down, starting quarterback Stephen Morris was stopped on second down, and Berry not only was stopped on third down, he fumbled the ball out of the end zone for a turnover with 3:43 left in before intermission.
South Florida drove 77 yards, and Maikon Bonani’s 21-yard field goal with no time left in the half gave the Bulls a 3-0 lead.
Morris was intercepted on Miami’s first possession of the second half, setting up a two-play, 18-yard drive that was capped by Murray’s touchdown run that put South Florida ahead 10-0.
That was the end for Morris, who completed 8 of 17 passes for 78 yards and an interception. Harris — the former starter who hadn’t played since getting a concussion against Virginia on Oct. 30 — took over the rest of the way, finishing 12 of 18 for 110 yards, and the one huge interception.
Updated November 27, 2010