Miami: News & Notes (11/22)

A day after becoming eligible for the postseason with a stout defensive effort in a 6-3 victory at South Florida, Miami announced it would not accept a bowl bid because of the ongoing NCAA inquiry into the program.

The Hurricanes came under the spotlight when a booster, convicted Ponzi-schemer Nevin Shapiro, said in August he had provided some players with entertainment and other extra benefits for the past several years.
That resulted in suspensions for several players, including key starters like quarterback Jacory Harris and linebacker Sean Spence, who each missed one game.
All have since returned to the field, but the investigation continues. The decision to pass up a bowl appearance in 2011 seems an obvious move to forestall further penalties.
Athletic director Shawn Eichorst said only that the decision was a "necessary step" for the university to take as the joint investigation with the NCAA continues.
Coach Al Golden, who was not among those included in the decision-making process, said he was disappointed but that he was 100 percent behind the decision.
He was told early in the afternoon the day after the game, then set up a team meeting.
The players were not available for immediate comment, but Golden said he does not expect any problem keeping them up mentally for BC in what now will be their final game in 2011.
"We're all disappointed," Golden said. "Anybody would be disappointed and saddened, but I really think our seniors are going to take the approach that they can take this game, but they can't take our spirit, they can't take our unity, and they're not going to take our toughness."

NOTES, QUOTES
--Miami's 6-3 victory over USF was not the first time Hurricanes coach Al Golden has been involved in a game decided entirely by field goals. As a player in 1990, he was a member of the Penn State team that beat Alabama 9-0.
"I think it changed it dramatically," Golden said when asked how the low-scoring affair changed the dynamics of the game. "It starts with me and then it permeates down through the coordinators in terms of saying, 'OK, this looks like it is quickly becoming a field position game.' A couple of times I was tempted to go for it with fourth-less-than-a-couple of yards but I punted and was glad we did."
Golden said it appeared to him that his counterpart on the other sideline, USF coach Skip Holtz, felt the same way because Holtz elected not to go for fourth-down gambles as well in the second half.
--The combined total of six points at the end of the first half (a 3-3 tie) was the lowest scoring first half for Miami since last year's regular-season finale when the Hurricanes and USF met in Miami. The Bulls led that game 3-0 at the halftime break and went on to a 23-20 overtime victory.
--USF's six sacks were the most against Miami since Oct. 17, 2009, when the Hurricanes gave up six in a 27-7 victory over Central Florida.
KEEP AN EYE ON: RB Eduardo Clements -- Clements is looked at as Miami's No. 3 back behind Lamar Miller and Mike James, but it was Clements who was in the game for Miami's final drive for the game-deciding field goal. He logged two of his three carries for the game in the march, gaining two yards on third-and-one at his 29-yard line and three-yards on third-and-one from USF's 31.
LOOKING GOOD: Miami's defensive effort couldn't have been any more impressive. Not only did the Hurricanes keep the Bulls out of the end zone, they held their hosts to just 249 yards in total offense and held them to five or fewer plays on nine of 12 series. The Bulls had two 10-play possessions and one that lasted seven plays.
STILL NEEDS WORK: The running game struggled. The Hurricanes lost 49 yards on six sacks, but even adding that back into the rushing total gets the Hurricanes up to only 106 for the day. RBs Lamar Miller and Mike James combined for only 63 yards on 25 carries.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We knew it was going to be a slugfest, whether it was going to be 35-31 or 6-3. I didn't know what it was going to be, but I knew it was going to be a tight game and I knew the game was going to be won in the fourth quarter." -- Coach Al Golden, on Miami's 6-3 win over USF.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
PLAYER NOTES:
--Senior QB Jacory Harris was 27-of-35 passing for 258 yards and could have been even more efficient had he not been the victim of several drops. He was interception-free for the fifth game this season. Though he wound up with negative yards after getting sacked six times, Harris gained 36 yards on his other four carries.
--Sophomore P Dalton Botts played a key role in Miami's win as the game turned into a battle of field position. He averaged better than 43 yards on eight punts, 10 yards over what USF's Justin Brockhaus-Kann managed on his nine attempts. "That's 80 yards of field position," coach Al Golden said.
--Junior PK Jake Wieclaw left one field-goal attempt from 41 yards short in the third quarter, but came up big on the game's final play. His 36-yarder as time ran out was a no-doubter. Wieclaw hit from 26 yards in the first quarter. For the season, he is 10-of-13 on field goals.

ROSTER REPORT
--Sophomore RT Seantrel Henderson went down with an apparent knee injury against USF and though MRI results looked favorable, he is considered doubtful for the season finale against Boston College.
--Freshman WR Phillip Dorsett made his first career start. He had three receptions for 22 yards at USF.
--Sophomore LB Kelvin Cain made his first start of the 2011 season. He was credited with three tackles in a solid effort against the Bulls.
--Junior CB Brandon McGee recorded his first career interception on USF's first offensive play after the Hurricanes had fumbled on their first possession.
--Sophomore QB Stephen Morris, who played in some special packages in the previous two games, did not play at USF.
--Senior WR LaRon Byrd made his first start since the opener against Maryland and had one reception for a 25-yard gain. It was Miami's longest play of the day -- other than a kick, of course.


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