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G6: NOTRE DAME 41, HURRICANES 3 AT SOLDIER FIELD: Final: Embarrassing. Humbling. Stunning? You don't lose 41-3 wihtout all of that being in play. Miami killed itself with early mistakes and then got buried all over the field by Notre Dame. The Irish defense dominated what had been an explosive Canes attack. And Miami's problematic defense got run over for 379 ground yards. A thorough whipping. ..... Second half: Irish just scored again. I'm getting to tired to keep track. I can't count that high. ... George Atkinson's 55-yard TD run in final minjute of quarter makes it a 34-3 burial. ... Wood's 3-yard TD run makes it 27-3. Mistakes killed Miami in the beginning. Lately it's just Notre Dame overpowering UM's defense. ... Dames up 20-3 as Cierre Wood 2-yard TD follows his 37-yard run. UM needs TD drive now or hopes will start fading to black. ..... Half: Early mistakes have proved very costly for Hurricanes, but credit Notre Dame's defense, too. Miami has only 171 yards in total offense. ..... 2Q: Canes catch a break when Irish miss a 34-yard FG try on half's final play. ... Wieclaw with a particularly ugly 47-yard FG miss with 1:02 left in half. ... now up 13-3 on 32-yard kick. Canes need offense pronto. ... Dames add 22-yard FG for 10-3 lead. ..... 1Q: Canes within 7-3 on Jake Wieclaw 28-yard kick, after holding penalty nullified Stephen Morris 13-yard TD run. First 1Q points given up by ND all season. UM its own worst enemy so far. ... N-Dame up 7-0 on Theo Riddick 1-yard scoring run on drive kept alive by roughing-punter penalty and helped along by a personal foul. ... Roughing the punter penalty gives Notre Dame new life. Canes killing themselves early. ... Phillip Dorsett drops what should have been a 72-yard TD pass and later drops a perfect pass in the end zone, both on first series of game. Nerves? Weather? (44 degrees at kickoff). ..... Original post: Once upon a distant time they called this game "Catholics vs. Convicts." Now they're calling it the "Shamrock Series." What I'm calling it is UM's big chance to prove to the doubters that this team is for real. There are seven Top 25 teams with a loss, and four of them have fewer wins than Miami's four. So why is UM not a ranked team entering this signature game vs. No. 9 Notre Dame at Soldier Field? Because that proof is lacking. It isn't a conspiracy. Isn't an anti-Cane thing. The haters have not infiltrated the polls (that we know of). There are two reasons: 1) That 52-13 spanking at Kansas State lingers. Poll-worthy teams are not supposed to lose like that. 2) Setting aside the easy win over Bethune-Cookman, UM's three wins over like-sized teams all have had a frantic quality to them. Miami trailed Boston College 14-0 and trailed into the mid-third quarter before rallying. The Canes dug a 36-19 hole against Georgia Tech before that improbable comeback. Then they trailed early and got tied late against North Carolina State before winning on a long TD bomb with 19 seconds left. Poll voters have cause to wonder how good UM really is. So now comes the game -- Notre Dame -- to answer all of those doubts. To confirm them or swat them away. An upset victory at Soldier Field and the Canes will blast into the Top 25, perhaps way up close to the middle of it. Because voters won't have any choice. My pick was: Miami, 31-27.
Other Collball Week 6 featured state FBS games, in order:
Arkansas State 34, FIU 20: Disappointing Panthers, preseason Sun Belt favorites, fell to 1-5 with a conference home loss Thursday night. Tough to win with your starting QB and best runner both out injured, but where's that Mario Cristobal magic? My pick was: Arkansas State (no score), as per Herald's Pigskin Challenge.
No. 10 Florida 14, No. 4 LSU 6: Game of the Week to The Swamp. Especially afterward. A rare college defensive battle found Gators rallying behind strong D and workhorse Mike Gillislee leading ball-control offense. I felt like I had been underestimating the Gators all season. Alas, I continued with this prediction. My pick was: LSU, 24-20.
North Carolina State 17, No. 3 FSU 16: Stunna! Noles were thinking BCS national championship and didn't think they'd slip against a Wolfpack defense that just gave up 44 points and about 7,000 passing yards to Miami. A real shocker. My pick was: FSU, 47-23.
My record: This week, 1-3 (ouch). Season, 22-6.
Other state FBS games: UCF def. East Carolina, 40-20, on Thursday; Temple def. South Florida, 37-28, on Saturday. FAU had a bye.
National Game of the Week: What a week! Honors to No. 4 LSU @ No. 10 Florida (see above), but very honorable mentions to 6-South Carolina def. 5-Georgia, 35-7; and 8-West Virginia def. 11-Texas, 48-45. Hope those Longhorn DBs are ready for the Magic Geno.
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