It was a tale of 3 games within the game.
A horrific start. A roaring comeback. A lifeless ending. All of it combined for a 42-36 defeat in Overtime to the Miami Hurricanes. This was a crazy game and a result full of streaky implications...4th straight loss to Miami...3rd straight loss in OT. Barring a miracle, our chance for winning the ACC Championship, just like that, is done. We knew this would be decided in September...but not like THIS.
I will try to make sense of all this, as you would think in a game like this whoever played great probably also played poorly. We will have several discussions about this game, and of GT football overall in the coming days (PLUG), but I would argue that this might have been CPJ's worst performance as a head coach. Questionable 4th down calls galore...we could argue all of them until rapture...but the result was that he got ALL of them WRONG. Yes, that's a hindsight-assisted analysis...but my only complaint that his decision-making lack clarity and consistency. To go for it on 4th-and-4 from midfield in the 1st quarter but then not go for it on 4th-and-1 at midfield with 3 minutes left and a 7-point lead (where a 1st down ends the game).
But as for the players...I try to sort our the better players from Saturday's game after the jump...
OFFENSIVE MVPs - Tony Zenon (A-Back), Zach Laskey (B-Back)
Tony Zenon was a big-play machine, lighting up the Canes with a 57-yard catch and run in the 2nd quarter and a 35 yard TD run off the pitch in the 3rd quarter en route to 131 yards from scrimmage. If you want to know what hard work and determination look like, then watch Zach Laskey fight for yards in the 4th quarter against a defense that knows a run up the middle is coming. Laskey finished with 82 yards on 15 carries and some strong blocking work.
DEFENSIVE MVPs - none
Sorry...I can't pick any players of value who as a unit combined to allow 609 yards (7.3 yards per play) and absolutely disappeared from the 4th quarter on. There wasn't any facet of the Hurricane offense was remotely stopped, whether it was the 5.4 YPC rushing allowed, or the 436 yards passing allowed to Stephen Morris. Good on Jemea Thomas for picking off Stephen Morris, and Brandon Watts causing a fumble...but those were the few bright spots in an otherwise dismal day.
SPECIAL TEAMS MVPs - Sean Poole/Ryan Rodwell (Punter)
Tells you about the craziness of the game when the punters were your Special Teams MVPs in a game you just scored 36 points. Well, unfortunately that was the case on Saturday. As a group, our punters got off 5 punts for a 44-yard average...and nailed 4 out of 5 inside the 20 yard line. I dig the rugby-style on the spread punt formation. Sean Poole even got himself a tackle. Oh...but that tackle. It knocked him out of the game and forced us to use true freshman Rodwell. It can't be left unsaid that Orwin Smith and Jamal Golden each had a terrific return on their respective return units...but sorry Orwin...there was no Orwinning on that Safety you caused by putting your hand outside the endzone.
Who did you think had a great game? Who do you think needs to move down the depth chart? Ohhh...how it sucks to lose...