Miami: News & Notes (Thanksgiving)

The play has been shown over and over and over again, so much so that not just fans of the two schools involved, Miami and Boston College, but followers of college football in general can replay it in their minds.

Six seconds on the clock, BC's Doug Flutie takes the snap and drops back from midfield to nearly his own 35-yard line, gliding to his right just a bit to avoid a rush. From somewhere around his own 37, he flings the football as hard as he can, and at the other end Gerald Phelan, between two defenders, comes down with the ball as he falls to the ground in the end zone.
Double-zeroes on the clock. BC 47, Miami 45.
"I remember it like it was yesterday," said coach Al Golden. "I know exactly where I was."
Where he was on that evening the day after Thanksgiving in 1984 was in his living room with his brother Greg, home from college, and they were taping the game on their VCR. ("I think he still has it, to be honest with you," Golden said of the game tape).
Where Golden will be when the same teams meet once again on the afternoon following Thanksgiving this year will be on the Miami sideline finishing his first season as the Hurricanes coach.
The Hurricanes, who won't be going to a bowl despite being eligible for the postseason, will be looking to finish 7-5 overall and even up their Atlantic Coast Conference record at 4-4.
They also will be looking to do something no Miami team has done since 2006, which is win its last game. The Hurricanes finished that year with a win over Boston College to become bowl-eligible, then beat Nevada in the MPC Computers Bowl in Boise, Idaho.
Under Golden's predecessor, Randy Shannon, the Hurricanes lost their regular-season finale to Virginia in 2007 and lost their bowl games in each of the last three years.

NOTES, QUOTES
--The last time Miami and Boston College played, the Eagles ended a long losing streak with a two-touchdown win. That was the Eagles' first win in the series since 1984, when Doug Flutie pulled off his famous miracle win with a long touchdown pass as time ran out.
Miami started its winning streak with a 45-10 romp in 1985 and, after a brief hiatus, resumed it in 1990 with a 42-12 victory. The teams met every year but 1992 from then until 2003, when the Hurricanes left the Big East for the ACC. When the Eagles joined the ACC, the two were placed in different divisions and have met only twice with Miami winning in 2006 and losing the next year.
--One long Miami streak has ended, but it has nothing to do with the upcoming game against Boston College or the win over South Florida. The same weekend the Hurricanes got the news they weren't going to be playing in a bowl, they also saw their predecessors in the NFL fail to score a touchdown. It is the first time since 2002, a streak of 149 consecutive weeks, that no former Hurricane has scored in an NFL game. TE Kellen Winslow did get into the end zone for Tampa Bay, but he was flagged for offensive pass interference -- against former Miami player Sam Shields of Green Bay -- and the score was nullified. Several other key 'Canes, like TE Jimmy Graham of New Orleans and WRs Reggie Wayne of Indianapolis and Andre Johnson of Houston, were in bye weeks.
--Miami ranks No. 1 in the ACC in passing efficiency, completing 120 of 190 pass attempts in seven conference games with 14 touchdowns against only four interceptions.
SERIES HISTORY: Miami leads Boston College 23-4 (last meeting, 2007, BC 28-14).
SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: Miami couldn't muster much in the way of yardage in the win over USF but managed to convert three key third-and-short situations on the march to the decisive field goal in the 6-3 victory. The Hurricanes have leaned on RB Lamar Miller and Mike James for much of the year in the running game but have also been playing sophomore Eduardo Clements a lot recently. Senior Jacory Harris has given them efficient play at quarterback and has thrown only five interceptions in 261 pass attempts.
SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: Miami has been successful on defense when it has stuck to playing assignment football, filling the right gaps and not freelancing. It tends to be a bend-but-don't break approach, but it is usually effective. The Hurricanes are surrendering too much on the ground (just under 163 yards) but are holding opponents to under 199 through the air. They have 22 sacks, an even two-a-game average.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I wasn't trying to play to prove anybody wrong. I just wanted to play to prove that I still had it to myself, that I can still go out there and do the same things that I once did before, still make plays, still help this team. I wish we had more victories. That's what I really want to have back. But I've got to move forward and make the future great." -- Senior QB Jacory Harris, on how he approached his final collegiate season.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
THIS WEEK'S GAME: Boston College at Miami, Nov. 25 -- BC comes limping in with a 3-8 overall and 2-5 ACC record. The Eagles did throw a scare into Notre Dame in a 16-14 loss to the Irish.
KEYS TO THE GAME: Block LB Luke Kuechly. The BC junior averages an incredible 16.5 tackles per game, which leads the nation. More than half of those stops have been solo efforts as he leads the country in that category as well. PLAYERS TO WATCH:
RB Lamar Miller -- Miller never really got untracked at South Florida, where he ran for only 50 yards. He is averaging over 105 a game for the season, which ranks second in the ACC.
WR Tommy Streeter -- Streeter has become QB Jacory Harris' go-to guy, but he was held to just 30 yards on five receptions at USF, not even half his season average of nearly 70 yards a game. His longest gain was for only eight yards.
LB Sean Spence -- The senior didn't have a productive game against the Bulls, getting credit for only three tackles. But he is one of the ACC's leaders in the category with an average of 9.2 stops per game.

ROSTER REPORT
--Sophomore RT Seantrel Henderson will not play against Boston College because of the knee injury he sustained in the win at South Florida. But the injury is not serious enough to require surgery.
--Senior LB Sean Spence is slated to start in the middle for the third game this season. He was moved from his customary outside spot to take advantage of his speed against Georgia Tech, then started in the middle against USF.
--Sophomore LB Kelvin Cain will get his second start of the year.
--Sophomore TB Lamar Miller has said he could consider leaving early to enter the NFL draft if he is projected as a first-round draft pick.


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