University of Miami

Two UM safeties ejected for targeting

The Miami Hurricanes managed to survive Saturday’s game against Nebraska despite losing safeties Deon Bush and Jamal Carter in the fourth quarter to targeting penalties and automatic ejections.

Bush and Carter, however, aren’t done serving their penalties. Per NCAA rules, they will each be required to sit out the first half of UM’s next game at Cincinnati on Oct. 1.

Bush was ejected four plays before Nebraska scored its first touchdown of the fourth quarter, when he hit tight end Sam Cotton on an incomplete pass near the UM sideline. Carter was ejected when he hit Cornhuskers receiver Brandon Reilly after he made a catch along the Canes sideline, four plays before Nebraska scored with 33 seconds left to tie the score and send the game into overtime.

“I didn’t see the replay on either one of them, but they really take their time on those upstairs,” UM coach Al Golden said. “They usually get those right. … I’m disappointed for those two kids, because I’ve never seen either one of those guys get called for targeting. Uncharacteristic on their part, but I know we don’t teach it, and I haven’t seen those guys do it, so I’m disappointed that it happened.”

Linebacker said he was surprised both of his teammates were ejected.

“I feel like Deon went for the ball and I feel like J-Hawk made a play on the ball,” Kirby said. “It is what it is. We’re going to learn from it and move on.”

▪ Starting linebacker Jermaine Grace injured his right shoulder early in Saturday’s game, returned to action and then left again after a collision with Bush in the secondary in the third quarter. WQAM-560 AM sideline reporter Josh Darrow reported Grace initially had a stinger but was sent back to the locker room for further evaluation.

“He’s fine,” Kirby said of Grace. “He’s going to get treated well. We have a bye week this week, which is great. Guys got to get healthy this week.”

SHOE DEAL

Saturday’s showdown between the Hurricanes and Cornhuskers wasn’t just special because it was a meeting between a pair of five-time national champions.

It also marked the first time in college football history each player from both teams wore custom, hand-painted cleats. The Hurricanes wore Soles By Sir designs by Marcus Rivera, and the Cornhuskers wore Mache Custom Kicks by Dan Gamace. Both schools have contracts with Adidas.

The irony: Both Rivera, born in Miami, and Gamarce, a New York native, are diehard Hurricanes fans. “I’ve loved the Hurricanes since the Jimmy Johnson days,” Gamarce said. “I couldn’t tell them that when I was out in Lincoln asking them how they wanted their shoes designed.”

Nebraska’s shoes featured 17 “N’s” and a palm tree to commemorate the school’s 17 trips to the Orange Bowl as well as each player’s number and the word “Nebraska.”

UM’s shoes were more complex and personalized to each player with orange and green paint made to look like a snake’s skin peeling off to symbolize the evolution of the program. Rivero had a UM equipment manager ask each player two questions in personalizing their shoes: “Which Hurricane from the past made you want to become a Hurricane?” and “What best represents you?”

Many players chose Hurricanes greats Sean Taylor, Reggie Wayne, Andre Johnson and Frank Gore. Rivero said it took him about two months to work on the shoes — more time than he anticipated after someone broke into his apartment and stole the first batch he made about a month into it.

“I’m hoping this can become a yearly thing,” Rivero said. “It was a lot of fun. As a diehard Hurricane fan and [2005] graduate, it was a dream come true.”

▪ UM’s baseball team that reached the College World Series this past summer was honored at the end of the first quarter.

▪ Three players from UM’s national championship teams that beat Nebraska — Kenny Calhoun (1983), Darrin Smith (1991) and Jerome McDougle (2001) — served as honorary captains for the game.

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