Darrell Langham is a Miami Hurricane hero today.
For more than 59 thrilling minutes of football action Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium he was a spectator, standing next to his position coach and waiting to get on the field.
In his first play of the game, he was the decoy who helped free up Braxton Berrios for a big 11-yard catch on third down with 11 seconds to play.
On his second play, Langham used his 6-4, 220-pound frame to fend off Florida State cornerback Tarvarus McFadden and haul in the 23-yard game-winning touchdown pass from Malik Rosier.
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Talk about stepping up big.
“I don’t know if Langham was smiling as big up here as he was when he walked out the door, but just to see a guy like that make a play like that and just get to smile like that is a lot of fun,” Hurricanes coach Mark Richt said after Miami ended a seven-game losing skid to the Seminoles and needed every inch of Langham’s frame to pull it off.
“Ahmmon [Richards] was struggling with his [hamstring] I think. Of course, Walton was out. Navaugh was out. Of course sometimes the guy coming off the bench has a little juice. I’m sure on the scouting report he wouldn’t be a guy that we would go to at that point.”
Langham, who came to Miami from Lantana Santaluces and picked UM over Florida State, spent his first three years at Miami in basic anonymity. He was redshirted in 2014. He was a practice squad member in 2015 and did the same in 2016 after playing in garbage time against Florida A&M in the season opener.
Saturday, he picked the perfect time to make the fourth catch of his career.
“Frankly, I didn’t know if I was in or not,” Langham said after officials took several minutes to review his game-winning catch and to make sure his knee wasn’t down before he crossed the goal line.
“I’m just happy I caught the ball and was able to try to get into the end zone. The only way to throw that play was like in practice. Coach always told me to be big, use my body, go up for the ball. That’s what I did. I’m just happy I came down with the ball. I’m happy I ended the streak.”
Quarterback Malik Rosier had a rough day. He finished 19 of 44 for 254 yards and three touchdowns. But at halftime, the Hurricanes offense had 57 yards of total offense and trailed 3-0.
Rosier led two come-from-behind touchdown drives in the fourth quarter and basically did it with the team’s leading rusher in Mark Walton (ankle) out at and top receiver Ahmmon Richards fighting through a hamstring injury.
But when Miami needed plays Rosier delivered and he found Langham on the biggest play for UM in this rivalry in years.
“That’s something in our [receivers] room we always talk about and really on the team: when your number is called to make a play will you make it?” said Berrios, who led the Canes with eight catches for 90 yards and two touchdowns. “Everybody has to be ready — especially in our room. You never know who is going to go down, who is going to get tired. That’s all a credit to Langham, how hard he’s worked especially these last six, eight months. More so than that to be tuned into the game and ready for his moment. Those are things you read about.”
Rosier had two options on that play, Richt said. Ultimately, he looked to Langham and fired the ball his way even though he hadn’t been in the game until very late.
“Darrell made a great play, just a great job by the receiver making a play when his number is called,” Rosier said. “I just saw a 6-6 receiver out there in open space, so I just said, ‘Just give ‘em a ball that he can catch. Go make a play.’ And he did his job. Congrats to Darrell.”
Said Langham: “I was ready to go the whole game. Just waiting for my time.”