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College roundup: Miami’s miracle finish lead the Canes to memorable win

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In one of the most dramatic finishes in college football history, the University of Miami somehow took a last-second victory over Duke Saturday night.

Miami ran an eight-lateral kickoff return that lasted 46 seconds as time ran out, leading their way to a 30-27 victory in interim coach Larry Scott’s first game.

The Hurricanes led 24-12 late in the fourth period, but their penalties almost did them in. UM had 23 penalties for 194 yards, and Duke came back to go ahead 27-24.

Miami’s return was one of those desperation plays that criss-crossed the field, the laterals taking the Canes back to the four. But UM finally threw a backward lateral across the field, and Corn Elder finally broke free to the end zone. The official ESPN play by-play: (0:00 — 4th) Ross Martin kickoff for 39 yards, Dallas Crawford return for a loss of 5 yards, Corn Elder return for 1 yard, Jaquan Johnson return for a loss of 7 yards, Mark Walton return for 7 yards, Jaquan Johnson return for a loss of 4 yards, Tyre Brady return for a loss of 8 yards, Corn Elder return for a loss of 7 yards, Dallas Crawford return for 6 yards, Corn Elder return for 91 yards for a TD.

That run came at the end of a week where coach Al Golden was fired, where Scott was hired, where defensive back Artie Burns’ mother died, when Michael Wyche was arrested for domestic violence and quarterback Brad Kaaya was ruled out of the game with a concussion.

“We’ve been through a lot this week, but this says a lot about this team,” Elder said in his postgame interview. “We just kept fighting, kept fighting. We wanted to do this for Artie’s [Burns’] mom, Coach Golden and the City of Miami.”

For the Hurricanes, freshman Malik Rosier threw for 272 yerds in his first start.

Florida 27, Georgia 3: The University of Florida, picked near the bottom of their division before the season came close to wrapping up the SEC East title Saturday.

The Gators won a surprisingly easy victory over the University of Georgia in their annual game played in Jacksonville.

The Bulldogs, picked to win the SEC East when the season started, sputtered all year behind new quarterback Faton Bauta. Bauta hit only 15 of 33 passes and threw four interceptions.

Treon Harris hit only eight of 19 passes for 155 yards, but Kelvin Taylor rushed for 121 yards and Jordan Scarlett added 96. Georgia’s Sony Michel could rush for only 45 yards for the Bulldogs. It wasn’t the smoothest game for the Gators’ offense, but it was Harris’ second victory in the series.

Freshman wideout Antonio Callaway caught three passes for 110 yards, including a 66-yard touchdown.

“It was painful at times on offense,” said coach Jim McElwain, “but our defense played a heck a ballgame and it was fun to watch.”

The Gators can wrap up the division with a victory over Vanderbilt – the last place team in the East – Saturday.

FSU 45, Syracuse 21: Florida State’s was without their most talked-about player Saturday afternoon.

No problem.

The Seminoles were also without their second most talk-about player.

Again, no problem.

FSU rolled over an outmanned Syracuse team to run their record to 7-1 on the season. Playing in place of Dalvin Cook, who had an ankle injury, Jacques Patrick ran for 162 yards and three scores on 24 carries.

That was nothing, however, compared to quarterback Sean Maguire, the quarterback who was edged out for the job in the fall by Everett Golson, who missed the game with a concussion. Maguire played the best game the Seminoles have seen from a quarterback, this year, throwing for 348 yards and three touchdowns as he hit 23 of 35 passes. Travis Rudolph caught five passes for 191 yards and all three scores.

So you ask: Would Jimbo Fisher actually change quarterbacks before his biggest game of the year? Remember: It was Maguire who threw for 300 plus last year as FSU beat the Tigers.

“I’m always re-evaluating things,” Fisher said. “We have two good quarterbacks. The best player will play.

“When (Maguire’s) number was called, he stepped up.  I couldn’t be any happier for any one guy.”

FSU travels to Clemson next week for its biggest game of the season.

Navy 29, USF 17: In the end, USF’s defense wasn’t able to solve the shell game that is the Navy offense.

Imagine being the Bulls trying to deal with the triple option of the Midshipmen Sunday. There is quarterback Keenan Reynolds, who rushed for 117 yards. But what if Reynolds hands it to fullback Chris Swain? Well, Swait ran for 131. But what if Reynolds pulls the ball out and pitches to Dishan Romine? Well, Romine ran for 114.

It was the first time in history that Navy has had three 100-yard runners. USF, meanwhile, with the celebrated duo of Quinton Flowers and Marlon Mack, gained only 62 yards on 24 carries…as a team.

For Navy, Reynolds scored twice to bring his career rushing total total to 77, tying Montee Ball of Wisconsin of rate most in FBS history.

Still, the Bulls led 10-3 and 17-13 during the game. Even a little bit of defense might have been enough.

Wide receiver Rodney Adams had two key kickoff returns. His opening return was a 97-yard touchdown, but his final one was a fumble after a 42-yard return at a time the Bulls trailed only by seven.

The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Bulls and lowered their record to 4-4 on the year. The Bulls travel to East Carolina Saturday.

FAU 31, FIU 17: All season, the Florida Atlantic Owls have looked forward to a game like this. Through seven games, six of them losses, the Owls have felt that success wasn’t that far away.

Saturday night, it finally happened.

FAU beat arch-rival FIU, putting a dent in the Panthers’ shot at a bowl game, with an easy victory. The Owls scored the game’s first 17 points, then went on to win. FIU closed to within 17-10, but Florida Atlantic scored the next 14 points — including a 58-yard interception return return by Jalen Young.

FIU’s Alex Gardner led the game in rushing with 110 yards. Trey Rodriguez had 96 for FAU.

FAU plays at Western Kentucky Saturday. FIU plays Charlotte.

Cincinnati 52, UCF 7: A new coach was unable to lead the Central Florida Knights to a new direction.

The Knights remained winless despite the debut of Danny Robbins on the sideline. The Bearcats rolled up 726 yards of offense in the easy win. UCF was able to score only a meaningless touchdown with 2:28 to play.

Cincinnati starting quarterback Gunner Kiel hit all 15 of his passes for 319 yards and two touchdowns. His backup, Hayden Moore, hit 11 of 15 passes for 154 yards.

For UCF, C.J. Jones rushed 18 times for 123 yards. The Knights play at Tulsa Saturday.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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