Comeback Falls Short For Miami Hurricanes in Cheez-It Bowl Falling to the Oklahoma State Cowboys, 37-34

By  //  December 29, 2020

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canes finishe 2020 season with 8-3 record

A resilient Miami team battled back from a three-touchdown deficit, but could not overcome the early Oklahoma State lead on Tuesday evening. Down 21 points after the opening quarter, the No. 18/18 Hurricanes outscored the No. 21/RV Cowboys, 34-16, over the final three quarters. But Miami could not climb out of the early hole, falling to OSU, 37-31, in the Cheez-It Bowl inside Camping World Stadium. (MiamiHurricanes.com image)

ORLANDO, FLORIDA – A resilient Miami team battled back from a three-touchdown deficit, but could not overcome the early Oklahoma State lead on Tuesday evening.

Down 21 points after the opening quarter, the No. 18/18 Hurricanes outscored the No. 21/RV Cowboys, 34-16, over the final three quarters. But Miami could not climb out of the early hole, falling to OSU, 37-31, in the Cheez-It Bowl inside Camping World Stadium.

Oklahoma State struck first, electing to go for it on fourth-and-6 from the Miami 30. Quarterback Spencer Sanders extended the play with his legs until receiver Brennan Presley snuck behind the defense for a 30-yard touchdown reception that gave OSU a 7-0 lead just three minutes into the game.

After forcing a Miami punt, the Cowboys (8-3, 6-3 Big XII) put together an eight-play, 82-yard scoring drive that ended with a two-yard touchdown run by redshirt senior LD Brown, doubling their lead to 14 points.

Miami (8-3, 7-2 ACC) turned the ball over on downs on the ensuing drive, going for it on fourth-and-2 from the UM 49. Tight end Brevin Jordan appeared to have been interfered with by cornerback Christian Holmes, but no penalty flag was thrown and OSU took over possession at midfield. Six plays later, Sanders hit Presley for their second touchdown of the night. The 32-yard pass and catch gave Oklahoma State a 21-0 lead with under a minute left to play in the first quarter.

The Hurricanes got some momentum going offensively, with Jordan hauling in a 13-yard pass from quarterback D’Eriq King and the tight end returning the favor with a 15-yard pass to Miami’s quarterback. King then hit freshman running back Donald Chaney Jr. for a 27-yard gain before finding Jordan in the end zone two plays later for a 10-yard touchdown that got Miami on the scoreboard two plays into the second quarter.

OSU kicker Brady Pohl missed a 33-yard field goal try, giving Miami’s defense its first stop of the game and the Hurricanes’ offense returned to action on their own 20.

Chaney gave the Hurricanes a boost on their first play of the drive, bouncing outside for a 27-yard run to the Miami 47. On second-and-goal from the OSU 14, King rushed for a five-yard gain before going down following a hit by safety Tre Sterling.

King left the game and was replaced by N’Kosi Perry at quarterback and Miami came away with three points when kicker Jose Borregales converted a 22-yard field goal attempt that made it 21-10 with 3:55 remaining in the first half.

Miami’s defense brought some pressure on Sanders, as defensive end Jahfari Harvey forced a fumble on a seven-yard strip-sack on second-and-12 from the OSU 23. The Cowboys punted the ball away two plays later, but Miami returner Mike Harley muffed the punt and Oklahoma State recovered the loose ball on the UM 41.

The Canes’ defense responded to the sudden change, forcing a three-and-out and the two teams went into the locker room after a Miami punt with Oklahoma State ahead by 11 points.

With Perry at the helm of the offense, Miami added three points on its first drive of the second half. The veteran quarterback put Borregales in position to drill a 40-yard kick that brought the Hurricanes within eight points, 21-13.

The Miami defense announced its presence early in the second half, with Nesta Jade Silvera and Jahfari Harvey tackling Dezmon Jackson for a loss of five and Bradley Jennings Jr. dropping Sanders for an 8-yard sack that led to a Cowboys punt.

The Canes continued their climb back from a 21-point deficit on their next drive, covering 80 yards on eight plays with running back Cam’Ron Harris exploding for a 42-yard touchdown that put Miami within two points. Harris led Miami with 52 yards on six carries and added 38 receiving yards on two catches.

The Hurricanes went for two and Perry completed a pass to Jordan, who appeared to fight his way into the end zone to even the score at 21. But the play was overturned after a replay review and Miami trailed, 21-19, with 8:38 remaining in the third quarter.

Oklahoma State got some help with three Miami penalties on its next possession, but the Hurricanes stepped up with the Cowboys in the red zone to hold OSU to a 26-yard field goal that kept it a one-score game, 24-19.

Miami’s offense got back to work, with Harley starting the drive with a 20-yard reception, but a fumble as Perry tried to pull back a handoff from Chaney resulted in an OSU recovery on the Miami 45.

The Cowboys capitalized on the turnover, as Dillon Stoner hauled in a five-yard touchdown pass from Sanders that put OSU ahead, 31-19, 41 seconds into the final quarter.

Perry and the Hurricanes continued to battle, with the quarterback connecting with tight end Will Mallory over the middle for a 44-yard gain to the OSU 2. Two plays later, Jordan made a beautiful one-handed, over-the-shoulder catch for a two-yard touchdown that brought Miami back within five points, 31-26, with 12:03 remaining.

Oklahoma State quelled Miami’s momentum, putting together a seven-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that ended in the third Presley receiving touchdown of the night. The freshman, who entered the game with one catch on the year, caught a 16-yard pass from Sanders. Pohl missed the PAT kick, but the Cowboys led by 11 with 9:50 left to play.

Miami refused to quit, with Chaney converting on fourth-and-1 from the UM 49 to keep the drive alive and Harris snaring a back-shoulder throw from Perry for a 25-yard gain to the OSU 26.

Three plays later, Perry hit Harley for a five-yard touchdown that put the Canes within five. Miami went for two and redshirt junior receiver Marshall Few caught a shovel pass from Perry and took it into the end zone to bring the Hurricanes within three points with 5:39 remaining in the game. Perry finished the game completing 19-of-34 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns.

The Canes forced a three-and-out and Oklahoma State downed the punt on the Miami 19 with 4:34 on the clock. But the Hurricanes punted four plays later after using just 20 seconds of game time, with Lou Hedley’s 51-yard boot sending OSU to its own 30 with 4:14 left to play.

Miami’s defense rose to the challenge and forced a second consecutive three-and-out, giving the Hurricanes another chance as Harley fair caught the punt on the UM 30 with 3:24 remaining.

Jordan, who led Miami with eight catches and 96 yards, stepped up again when his team needed him on third-and-8 from the UM 32. The junior caught a pass over the middle from Perry and barreled through multiple defenders for a 16-yard gain to give Miami a fresh set of downs near midfield.

Miami faced a fourth-and-9 from the UM 49, but Perry’s pass to Michael Redding resulted in a six-yard gain that was short of the line to gain and OSU took over possession on downs on its 45 with 1:36 left to play and the Cowboys ran out the clock to close out the bowl win.

Had 36 catches for 905 yards and 12 TDs as a junior and 30 catches for 636 yards and six TDs as a sophomore

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