Posted on November 12, 2017, by Travis Pulver
When Saturday night’s game between the Miami Hurricanes and Notre Dame Fighting Irish kicked off, fans knew that one thing would emerge in the end. When the dust settled, one team would rise above and prove itself to be a contender for the national championship.
Notre Dame, as the holder of one of the four spots (No. 3) in the CFB Playoffs going in, would be the obvious choice. But the No. 7 Hurricanes had a different outcome in mind.
Miami’s run defense hadn’t been overly impressive throughout the season. But when they needed to play big Saturday night, they did. After averaging over 300 yards on the ground over the course of the season, Notre Dame only gained 109 against the Hurricanes. Heisman hopeful Josh Adams only had 40 yards on 16 carries; Brandon Wimbush managed just 24 yards (11 carries).
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“I never would have predicted what happened,” Miami coach Mark Richt said of the rout (ESPN). “But it happened.”
The Miami defense helped out a little more by forcing four turnovers (including one pick-6) that led to 24 points for the Hurricanes.
“We didn’t see this coming,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said (ESPN). “Obviously, we felt we were prepared to play at a high level. We did not.”
Miami got on the board with a seven-yard touchdown pass from Malik Rosier to Braxton Berrios late in the first quarter. Brandon Wimbush tried to answer on Notre Dame’s next drive. But he ended up setting the Hurricanes up with a short field by throwing his third interception of the season.
His second interception of the day, returned by Trajan Bandy 65-yards for a touchdown, gave Miami a commanding 27-0 lead at the half.
Notre Dame would finally get on the board late in the third quarter with a 10-play, 80-yard drive capped off by a 14-yard pass from Wimbush to Alize Mack. But 34-8 would be as close as Notre Dame would get.
Brandon Wimbush fumbled on Notre Dame’s next drive. The turnover led to the final score of the day, a four-yard run by Miami’s DeeJay Dallas. Miami wanted to make a statement with a win over Notre Dame and they did, 41-8.
“Credit to them all over the place,” Notre Dame linebacker Drue Tranquill said (ESPN). “They played a whole game.”
The loss is the second worst in the history of the Notre Dame-Miami rivalry.
The loss will knock Notre Dame out of the top four. With only games against Navy and Stanford remaining, it is unlikely the Fighting Irish will have an opportunity to get back in.
With Georgia and Notre Dame losing, Alabama will probably be the new No. 1. Clemson will likely move up to No. 2 followed by Georgia and Oklahoma in the final two spots. It would not be shocking to see Miami move up to No. 5.
The Hurricanes will have to beat Virginia and Pitt to remain in contention. But to move into the top four, they will need to beat Clemson in the ACC Championship Game.