South Florida stuns Miami in OT
South Florida never loses in overtime. And the Bulls' latest great escape means Randy Shannon is out of time at Miami.
Jerrell Young's interception of Jacory Harris with 5 seconds left in regulation kept Miami from trying a potentially game-winning field goal, Demetris Murray had a 1-yard touchdown run in the first OT and South Florida stunned Miami 23-20 on Saturday.
Hours later, Shannon was fired.
Miami (7-5) finished 3-3 at home, its worst mark since 1997. In Shannon's four seasons, the Hurricanes were 28-22 overall.
''It's very tough,'' Miami fullback Pat Hill said after the game. ''Not everything works how you want it to work.''
That is, unless you're South Florida, and unless you're in overtime. The Bulls have gone past regulation nine times in their relatively brief football history and won them all.
Matt Bosher's 38-yard field goal put Miami up 20-17, but South Florida answered - aided largely by a play that Bulls coach Skip Holtz didn't want to see called.
Holtz yelled into his headset that a crossing route from quarterback Bobby Eveld — a freshman who took over for an injured B.J. Daniels at halftime — to Joel Miller was ''stupid.''
Whoops. Miller made a 9-yard catch, setting up first-and-goal at the Miami 1, and Murray's second score of the afternoon held up after a video review to send the Bulls into a celebratory frenzy.
''Best call we ever made,'' Holtz said.
South Florida (7-4) closes its regular season at home next week against Connecticut.
Miami now will wait and wonder about its bowl invitation — and everything else. Athletic director Kirby Hocutt fired Shannon late Saturday night, and many staff members expected to be dismissed soon as well.
Miami fell at Virginia this season and got beaten badly in its two biggest home games of the year — against Florida State and Virginia Tech. Sun Life Stadium was less than half-filled for Saturday's finale, and a plane circled overhead before kickoff with a banner calling for a coaching change.
''Just down right now. That's how I feel right now,'' Shannon said in what became his last postgame interview at his alma mater. ''Players are down. Seniors are down. That's about all.''
Moise Plancher rushed for 103 yards for South Florida, which got a game-tying touchdown run from Eveld with 2 minutes left in regulation. Daniels went to Holtz at halftime and said he felt something pop around his hamstring, but said he would keep playing if it gave USF the best chance.
Holtz turned to Eveld, and the Bulls wound up getting one of the biggest wins in school history.
''Florida, Florida State and Miami have all won conference championships. They've all won national championships,'' Holtz said. ''This is the level we want to compete at.''
South Florida won at Florida State last season, and Saturday further chipped into whatever remained of the notion that the Sunshine State has a ''Big 3'' of traditional powers.
''Everybody always talks about the 'Big 3,''' USF linebacker Jacquian Williams said, ''but we want to let them know that we're as good as anybody else.''
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 got them on the board. And when Johnson scored with 14:30 left — his first carry of the game — the Hurricanes seemed to be in control.
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 it was one of the lone offensive highlights for the Hurricanes.
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.
''Been saying all year long, same things happening to us as a football team,'' Shannon said. ''Can't win games like that.''
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.
Harris - 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 costly interception.
Afterward, all the speculation was about Shannon's future, and players feared the worst.
''Put it on us as players,'' Miami wide receiver Leonard Hankerson said. ''We worked on it every week ... and we didn't capitalize today.''