University of Miami

Hurricanes doomed by kicking failures and injuries in overtime loss to Georgia Tech

The Hurricanes have seemingly exhausted their options at kicker.

After kicker Bubba Baxa started the season 5 for 9 on field-goal attempts and 15 for 17 on extra points, Miami went with Turner Davidson last week against Virginia. Davidson converted his only field-goal attempt of the game, a 19-yarder, and coach Manny Diaz left the door open for either player to be the kicker heading into Saturday’s matchup against Georgia Tech.

Three missed kicks against the Yellow Jackets led to a 28-21 loss in overtime, and coach Manny Diaz’s team dropped to 3-4 on the season, stuck in a kicking situation in which they have little choice but to “press on,” as Diaz said after the game.

“We give them all the psychological help that we can afford them,” Diaz said when asked if it’s mental issue with his kickers. “And as I’ve said from when this first became an issue, I’ve said they are who we have. We do not have free agency.”

The Hurricanes stuck with Davidson early against Georgia Tech, sending him out for a 34-yard attempt in the second quarter. But after the kick was low and wide right, Diaz called on Baxa for Miami’s next try. That was in the fourth quarter, and Baxa’s 27-yard attempt was again wide right.

With 26 seconds left and the score tied at 21, Diaz sent Davidson back out. The 25-yard attempt was blocked, leaving members of the Hurricanes stunned.

Miami’s kickers have now made just 3-of-9 attempts inside 40 yards this season. Baxa had made 3-of-6x tries through the first five games.

“We can’t do anything but love them up,” senior linebacker Shaquille Quarterman said after the game, “but there’s also a standard for them, as well. It’s not above anybody. It’s not above me, it’s not above the coaches, so we love them up as much as we can, but we hold them accountable.”

Dallas injured, Harris takes over

Cam’Ron Harris’ breakout game came at a price.

The sophomore running back took over as the Miami Hurricanes’ lead ballcarrier Saturday after running back DeeJay Dallas left the game with 12:35 left in the first quarter with an apparent knee injury.

Dallas, who limped off the field with the help of trainers, had three carries for 14 yards before leaving the game. After remaining on the sideline, Dallas went to the locker room midway through the second quarter and did not return to the game.

The junior is averaging 78.7 yards per game through six contests, and he ranks seventh among FBS running backs with a 7.6 yard per rush average.

Harris finished with career highs in both carries (18) and yards (136), including a 42-yard rush in the third quarter. He had a 19-yard receiving touchdown to culminate Miami’s second scoring drive and finished with the most yards in a game by a UM running back this season.

Jarren Williams sees the field

Diaz said Wednesday that recuperating quarterback Jarren Williams (throwing shoulder) could possibly play against Georgia Tech, and his shot came early in the third quarter after starter N’Kosi Perry briefly exited the game with a left shoulder injury.

Perry had completed 9-of-15 passes for 94 yards and accounted for three touchdowns before he left the game.

Williams hadn’t taken the field since he was benched against Virginia Tech after throwing three interceptions in the first quarter. The redshirt freshman entered the game with 14:40 left in the third quarter against Georgia Tech and completed his first pass, a 12-yard slant to receiver Dee Wiggins. Williams missed his next two passes and was sacked, and the drive stalled.

Perry re-entered the game with 3:50 left in the third quarter and finished with 188 passing yards on 16 of 28 passing.

This and That

Miami Herald sports writer Susan Miller Degnan has been the Miami Hurricanes football beat writer since 2000, the season before the Canes won it all. She has won several APSE national writing awards and has covered everything from Canes baseball to the College Football Playoff to major marathons to the Olympics.