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Hurricanes’ comeback goes for naught as they fall to Notre Dame

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By the end of the first quarter of Saturday’s game between Miami and Notre Dame, few could have imagined the game could come down to the final play. That is exactly what happened with Notre Dame making that final play and coming away with a 30-27 victory over the Hurricanes in South Bend, Ind.

The Irish jumped on Miami quickly, taking a 17-0 lead by the end of the first quarter. The lead stretched to 20-0 before the Hurricanes got on the board with a touchdown just two minutes before halftime.

With the Miami defense stepping up to keep the Irish at bay, they tied the game at 20 near the end of the third period. In the fourth, it looked like Notre Dame might go down to their fourth straight home loss.

After C.J. Sanders fumbled a Miami punt, the Hurricanes recovered for a touchdown to take a 27-20 lead. Things would go south after that.

“From that point on, Notre Dame pretty much took the game over, and we weren’t able to get the job done on either side of the ball,” said Miami Coach Mark Richt.

But Notre Dame fought back and took the lead on a field goal by Justin Yoon with less than a minute to play. Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya led his team to near midfield in the closing seconds needing only a field goal to tie.

With 13 seconds left, the one thing he could not do was take a sack, but that is what happened and Notre Dame had the victory. At the same time, the Hurricanes suffered their fourth straight loss after opening the season with four wins.

Kaaya threw for 288 yards along with a touchdown and an interception. Mark Walton was the leading rusher with 45 yards on 18 carries, but with quarterback sacks included, the team rushed for a net of only 18 yards.

Next week Miami tries to break their losing streak when they host the Pitt Panthers in an ACC matchup.

Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue and can be reached at

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