Let the #FireAlGolden banner fest commence in earnest.
Beginning the day with such a sign flying high overhead in enemy territory, Al Golden‘s Miami Hurricanes did nothing but give the head coach’s detractors a cornucopia of ammunition, looking embarrassingly outclassed in a 34-23 loss to Cincinnati at Nippert Stadium. The offensive play calls, particularly in the second half, were head-scratching; the defense was unable to get stops when it’s flailing offense needed it; and the flailing offense could do nothing in the second half against a UC defense that was shredded by Memphis just seven days ago.
It was a bad look all around for a Miami team that, despite entering 3-0, exits it feeling — and even looking — like it’s a 1-3 squad instead of the 3-1 team its record says it is ahead of a huge matchup with Florida State.
Trailing just 27-20 coming out of the half, UM’s defense held UC’s offense scoreless for the first 24 minutes or so of the second half. The only problem, though, was the Bearcats’ defense limited the Hurricanes’ offense to a mere field goal in that same span.
Up 27-23 in the middle of the fourth, Hayden Moore connected with Tyler Cogswell from to push UC’s lead out to 34-24 with 6:54 remaining. The ‘Canes moved inside the 10-yard line on the ensuing drive, but four Brad Kaaya pass attempts fell incomplete to hand the ball back to the Bearcats with just over four minutes remaining. That would be the last time the Hurricanes would see the ball as the Bearcats were able to move down the field and drain the remainder of the clock.
So, where do the ‘Canes go from here? Physically, they’ll travel to Tallahassee to face unbeaten FSU next Saturday. Mentally, especially after nearly blowing a huge lead against Nebraska last week and with the speculation swirling around Golden’s job status once again, this is a team that is, as has been the case the past couple of years, on the verge of unraveling.
The scheduling gods did them no favors either. After facing FSU, they’ll go back-to-back-to-back against teams in which they’ll likely be underdogs: Virginia Tech, No. 12 Clemson and at Duke. The U is a program that’s teetering on the precipice, and if it tumbles in the ensuing weeks it’ll take Golden and his tenure with it.
For Cincinnati, this win was absolutely crucial for any outside hopes it still entertained for the Group of Five’s New Year’s Six bid after splitting its first four games. At 3-2 it’ll still be an uphill climb to get that prime bowl slot, but the Bearcats are in a heck of a lot better place than if they had dropped a game in which they were underdogs.