Rain came in torrents during much of the Miami-Virginia game Saturday afternoon, but the darkest moment at Sun Life Stadium occurred when the rain had stopped and the sun was blazing with 2:06 left in the final quarter.
That’s when Miami cornerback Ladarius Gunter was injured while colliding with receiver Kyle Dockins and tailback Taquan Mizzell while trying to tackle Mizzell near the goal line.
Mizzell barreled ahead for the 7-yard touchdown at 2:02, Olsen Pierre blocked the extra point and the 45-26 score stuck until the end.
Gunter’s neck injury was caused by a hit to the jaw, according to WQAM 560, and he was airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital after being strapped to a backboard and carted off the field.
UM later sent out an email Saturday night saying that Gunter had been released from the hospital and “will be able to play football again this season once he is fully healed.”
An ESPN replay shows Gunter was hit around the 3-yard line and spun around. He stood for a moment, and then fell to the ground, rubbing the back of his neck but remaining conscious, according to teammates and UM coach Al Golden.
“Ladarius has been taken to Jackson for observation,” Golden said after the game. “We’re just being cautious. As soon as we learn something, we’ll share it with you guys. I don’t have anything other than that.
“He was moving everything. He was conscious. I don’t want to overstep my bounds here. That’s where we’re at with it. Hopefully, he’ll be OK. We were just being careful because it was a neck or something. But he was talking to us. He was moving everything. What he described, our doctors wanted to make sure we were real careful and [immobilize] him and do all those things.
“We’re obviously communicating to his mom right now.”
The Hurricanes formed a semicircle around Gunter and began to pray on their knees.
“We were just letting Ladarius know that we’re here for him, right here with him,’’ cornerback Tracy Howard said. “We decided to say a prayer, just keep faith and hope everything is all right. That’s all we could do.
“He was still able to talk, talking back to us like he was all right. He even made a joke one time.”
Safety Kacy Rodgers said Gunter, who had an 81-yard interception return and four tackles (40 total for season) Saturday, was “one of the best teammates you can ever ask for.”
Rodgers said he prayed, then told Gunter he was “still ugly — something to joke around. I just wanted to make him laugh and keep his spirits up.”
HURNS NEARS 1,000
UM receiver Allen Hurns needs only 35 yards to reach the 1,000-yard milestone this season.
On Saturday, he amassed 126 yards and a touchdown on six catches — his fifth 100-yard game this season.
Only Leonard Hankerson (1,156 yards), Eddie Brown (1,114) and Andre Johnson (1,092) have reached the 1,000-yard mark during a season.
“I just wanted to give them all I had and make memories in my last home game,” Hurns said.
MORRIS GOES LONG
Quarterback Stephen Morris hit Stacy Coley with a 62-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. The pass was Morris’ ninth this season longer than 50 yards, seven of which have gone for touchdowns.
Credit tailback Dallas Crawford for the block that sprung Coley into the end zone.