ACC Football 2013 Payback Games: Miami

Last Season's 41-40 Loss to Virginia in the Final Seconds is a Game Miami Would Prefer to Forget

Last Season’s 41-40 Loss to Virginia in the Final Seconds is a Game Miami Would Prefer to Forget

Every team in the ACC has a couple games they wish they had back from 2012. Whether they didn’t bring their A-game, or the other guys just got lucky, every school would love another shot at an opponent, for the ability to prove it won’t happen again. Luckily, because of conference play and parity in the ACC, many will get a chance at redemption immediately, with rematches already on the books for 2013.

As part of our 2013 college football season preview, we’ll be running through the biggest “payback” games for each school. As no team finished with just one loss, there are likely multiple choices for each — none more “right’ than another, necessarily. Still, every selection should help provide some extra motivation for fans as they gear up for this season’s slate of games.

Team: Miami Hurricanes

Opponent: Virginia Cavaliers

Last Year: Loss, 41-40 at Virginia

This Year: November 23 vs. Virginia

At 5-4, and 4-2 in a down Coastal Division, Miami was actually thinking about playing in the ACC Championship Game for the first time. No, this wasn’t the best ‘Canes team the ACC had seen, but sometimes it’s more about the luck of the draw. After beating Virginia Tech the week before, Miami was in the driver’s seat and with a victory over lowly UVa, would’ve been a near-lock to head to Charlotte. But then they allowed a late 10-point lead to evaporate — the final strike coming with just six seconds remaining on the clock — and that was it. Coastal hopes dashed, it set in motion another self-imposed bowl ban for Miami (hopefully the last one). Perhaps if they’d won this game, we’d have seen a different outcome there.

Setting the stage for the dramatic finish: a back-and-forth game featuring 900 yards of total offense had seemingly given way to the Hurricanes at around the 11-minute mark in the fourth quarter. Up 38-28 following a long touchdown strike from Stephen Morris to Phillip Dorsett, Miami’s beleaguered defense just needed to hang in there for a little bit longer — and they almost did. It took Virginia around five minutes to score a touchdown to make it 38-35, but then an intentional grounding penalty ended up rewarding Miami with a safety with just four minutes to go, making it 40-35. Four minutes and 13 seconds later, UVa quarterback Michael Rocco would complete his out-of-nowhere master class (29/37, 300 yards, four TDs), completing a 10-yard touchdown pass to Jake McGee in the back of the endzone for the one-point lead. And yet somehow, Rocco was the quarterback basically run off campus…

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ACC Football 2013 Payback Games: Maryland

Boston College Got the Best of Maryland with a Late Score in 2012; Can the Terps Rebound in 2013?

Boston College Beat Maryland with a Late Score in 2012; Can the Terps Rebound in 2013?

Every team in the ACC has a couple games they wish they had back from 2012. Whether they didn’t bring their A-game, or the other guys just got lucky, every school would love another shot at an opponent, for the ability to prove it won’t happen again. Luckily, because of conference play and parity in the ACC, many will get a chance at redemption immediately, with rematches already on the books for 2013.

As part of our 2013 college football season preview, we’ll be running through the biggest “payback” games for each school. As no team finished with just one loss, there are likely multiple choices for each — none more “right’ than another, necessarily. Still, every selection should help provide some extra motivation for fans as they gear up for this season’s slate of games.

Team: Maryland Terrapins

Opponent: Boston College Eagles

Last Year: Loss, 20-17 at Boston College

This Year: November 23, vs. Boston College

Not yet starting a linebacker at quarterback, the Terrapins had seemingly made every effort possible to win this game last year. Roaring back from down 13-0, Maryland found themselves with a 17-13 lead against the hapless Eagles offense with just minutes left on the clock. Quarterback Caleb Rowe had performed admirably, completing 23 passes for 240 yards and two scores, though it would be the glaring three interceptions that ultimately killed the Terps chances. In particular, the last one, which came just one play after BC scored to take a 20-17 lead, sealing the loss.

Again, Maryland put themselves in position to win this game. They’d outgained BC by 40 total yards on offense, were even in the turnover battle (until that final pick, anyway), and were even more effective converting on both third and fourth downs. But that’s the difference between a “promising young team” and a “struggling, inexperienced team.” The ones that are ready to make that leap finish the job. The ones who need more time to figure things out drop the ball late. So are the Terps ready to finish the job this year?

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ACC Football 2013 Payback Games: Louisville

Who's More Bitter: Louisville After Losing, or UConn After Being Passed up by the ACC?

Who’s More Bitter: Louisville After Losing, or UConn After Being Passed Up by the ACC?

Every team in the ACC has a couple games they wish they had back from 2012. Whether they didn’t bring their A-game, or the other guys just got lucky, every school would love another shot at an opponent, for the ability to prove it won’t happen again. Luckily, because of conference play and parity in the ACC, many will get a chance at redemption immediately, with rematches already on the books for 2013.

As part of our 2013 college football season preview, we’ll be running through the biggest “payback” games for each school. As no team finished with just one loss, there are likely multiple choices for each — none more “right’ than another, necessarily. Still, every selection should help provide some extra motivation for fans as they gear up for this season’s slate of games.

Team: Louisville Cardinals

Opponent: Connecticut Huskies

Last Year: Loss, 23-20 (3OT) vs. Connecticut

This Year: November 8, at Connecticut

Just days before the ACC voted between adding Connecticut or Louisville for the 2014 athletic season, the two teams played a thriller (albeit a low-scoring one) with a surprising finish. Despite being perceived as the “football school” in the argument between the two schools, Louisville came out flat at home against the Huskies in an eventual three-overtime loss. While UConn won the battle on the scoreboard that day, they’d lose the war in the only college competition that seems to matter (money) when the ACC’s schools voted to add the Cardinals instead — bucking conventional wisdom that said UConn was a perfect fit. In many ways, this becomes a “payback” game for both schools, when you think about it.

After starting the season 9-0, ‘Ville had suffered a deflating loss to Syracuse in early November and was hoping to get back on track against the lowly Huskies. Instead, they came out as flat as ever, failing to get a point on the board until the fourth quarter. Teddy Bridgewater, while still impressive (331 yards passing), looked shaky under pressure and was continually frustrated by dropped passes from his receivers in completing 30 of 53 throws. And despite the fact that he performed admirably, it was ultimately his interception in the third overtime that helped set up the surprising loss. Of course, this is what happens when your team struggles mightily to run the ball,too.

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ACC Football 2013 Payback Games: Georgia Tech

The Hokies Defense Nullified Georgia Tech's Late Heroics Last Year; Can the Wreck Return the Favor?

The Hokies Defense Nullified Georgia Tech’s Late Heroics Last Year; Can the Wreck Return the Favor?

Every team in the ACC has a couple games they wish they had back from 2012. Whether they didn’t bring their A-game, or the other guys just got lucky, every school would love another shot at an opponent, for the ability to prove it won’t happen again. Luckily, because of conference play and parity in the ACC, many will get a chance at redemption immediately, with rematches already on the books for 2013.

As part of our 2013 college football season preview, we’ll be running through the biggest “payback” games for each school. As no team finished with just one loss, there are likely multiple choices for each — none more “right’ than another, necessarily. Still, every selection should help provide some extra motivation for fans as they gear up for this season’s slate of games.

Team: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Opponent: Virginia Tech Hokies

Last Year: Loss, 20-17 (OT) at Virginia Tech

This Year: September 26, vs. Virginia Tech

“The winner of the Virginia Tech/Georgia Tech game has won the Coastal Division every year since 2005,” said the popular refrain that pointed out an interesting quirk in the ACC following the initial round of expansion. While the quote forgot to mention how down the other four teams in the division were for most of those seven years (Miami was the only other team to really come close), the adage had held true until last year. Despite losing to Virginia Tech in a Labor Day showcase game, the Yellow Jackets (thanks to North Carolina and Miami being ineligible for the postseason) found themselves in the ACC Championship Game. Though there’s no need to rehash “what if” — Georgia Tech still made the league title game, despite the loss — it’s also very hard to avoid discussing how close the Wreck was to winning this early contest.

Jackets’ QB Tevin Washington had seemingly become an overnight hero, throwing a touchdown pass to give his team a 17-14 lead with just 44 seconds to play. All the defense had to do was keep VPI out of field goal range, yet they couldn’t and the game headed to overtime. With Georgia Tech receiving the ball first, Washington was given a second chance to be a hero, but instead, took on the role of goat — throwing an ill-advised third down interception that confirmed every weakness ever pointed out about him. Needing just a field goal to win, Virginia Tech put it through the uprights just three plays later for the victory.

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ACC Football 2013 Payback Games: Florida State

NC State Scored a Memorable Upset Over Florida State Last Year; Can the 'Noles Exact Revenge in 2013?

NC State Scored a Memorable Upset Over Florida State Last Year; Can the ‘Noles Exact Revenge in 2013?

Every team in the ACC has a couple games they wish they had back from 2012. Whether they didn’t bring their A-game, or the other guys just got lucky, every school would love another shot at an opponent, for the ability to prove it won’t happen again. Luckily, because of conference play and parity in the ACC, many will get a chance at redemption immediately, with rematches already on the books for 2013.

As part of our 2013 college football season preview, we’ll be running through the biggest “payback” games for each school. As no team finished with just one loss, there are likely multiple choices for each — none more “right’ than another, necessarily. Still, every selection should help provide some extra motivation for fans as they gear up for this season’s slate of games.

Team: Florida State Seminoles

Opponent: NC State Wolfpack

Last Year: Loss, 17-16 at NC State

This Year: October 26, vs. NC State

Yes, Florida State lost two games last year, and one of them was to archrival Florida. But this — the major upset loss to NC State on the road — was the one that likely hurt the most for ‘Noles players and fans alike. After beating highly-ranked Clemson in front of a national audience just two weeks prior, FSU suddenly looked flat in comparison to its no. 3 national ranking. With a manageable schedule, it appeared everyone was willing to push fears aside though; the Seminoles were set to compete for a national championship for the first time in more than a half-decade. And then the offense went overly conservative in the second half. The Wolfpack made the plays they needed to late in the contest. And we were left with a downtrodden, upset FSU team, a beleaguered conference and this indelible .gif.

The Seminoles course-corrected immediately following the loss — hi, 51-7 drubbing of Boston College — but the issue of Jimbo Fisher’s overly conservative play-calling at times never truly went away. One could argue it’s what kept the contests against overmatched Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech teams so close, and maybe what kept Northern Illinois in the Orange Bowl for at least a half. It’s certainly what drove now-Miami offensive coordinator James Coley out of Tallahassee, being handcuffed by Fisher calling plays. So while the personnel is certainly different — both teams have new starting quarterbacks and offensive coordinators this year — there’s still plenty to learn from last year’s loss that can help bring FSU success against the Pack in 2013.

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ACC Football 2013 Payback Games: Duke

Duke Can't Hope to Stop Miami's Offense in 2013; But Can They Outrun the 'Canes Defense?

Duke Can’t Hope to Stop Miami’s Offense in 2013; But Can They Outrun the ‘Canes Defense?

Every team in the ACC has a couple games they wish they had back from 2012. Whether they didn’t bring their A-game, or the other guys just got lucky, every school would love another shot at an opponent, for the ability to prove it won’t happen again. Luckily, because of conference play and parity in the ACC, many will get a chance at redemption immediately, with rematches already on the books for 2013.

As part of our 2013 college football season preview, we’ll be running through the biggest “payback” games for each school. As no team finished with just one loss, there are likely multiple choices for each — none more “right’ than another, necessarily. Still, every selection should help provide some extra motivation for fans as they gear up for this season’s slate of games.

Team: Duke Blue Devils

Opponent: Miami Hurricanes

Last Year: Loss, 52-45 vs. Miami

This Year: November 16, vs. Miami

Though the Blue Devils had already been eliminated from Coastal Division title contention when this game wrapped up late last year, it didn’t mean Duke didn’t want that victory. After starting out 6-2, the team ended up dropping its final four regular season games and then a bowl game to finish 6-7, marking the 18th straight season the program had a losing mark. Yes, the postseason streak is over, and that’s certainly a moral victory, but a win over the Hurricanes to close out the ACC slate would’ve meant a guaranteed winning mark. However, in failing to do so, it does give the team something to build upon for 2013.

As resilient as ever, Duke actually played one of its better offensive games of the season against Miami, despite the fact that its defense allowed nearly 650 yards of total offense to the ‘Canes (the main reason Duke lost). In his last home game playing for the Blue Devils, senior Sean Renfree went 36-of-59 for 432 yards and four scores, while fellow senior Conner Vernon caught 11 passes (two for touchdowns). Even as the game appeared lost late in the third — Duke was down 45-24 — the team refused to quit, displaying the type of tenacity that had been lost virtually every week since the October upset over North Carolina. Alas, they would fall short in the comeback attempt, losing by a touchdown.

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ACC Football 2013 Payback Games: Clemson

Can Clemson Put an End to South Carolina's Four-Game Winning Streak Against Them?

Can Clemson Put an End to South Carolina’s Four-Game Winning Streak Against Them?

Every team in the ACC has a couple games they wish they had back from 2012. Whether they didn’t bring their A-game, or the other guys just got lucky, every school would love another shot at an opponent, for the ability to prove it won’t happen again. Luckily, because of conference play and parity in the ACC, many will get a chance at redemption immediately, with rematches already on the books for 2013.

As part of our 2013 college football season preview, we’ll be running through the biggest “payback” games for each school. As no team finished with just one loss, there are likely multiple choices for each — none more “right’ than another, necessarily. Still, every selection should help provide some extra motivation for fans as they gear up for this season’s slate of games.

Team: Clemson Tigers

Opponent: South Carolina Gamecocks

Last Year: Loss, 27-17 vs. South Carolina

This Year: November 30, at South Carolina

Win or lose the previous year, each iteration of the Battle of the Palmetto State will always be the most important game on Clemson’s schedule. And for a very long time, the Tigers had the upper hand in the clash between them and their cross-state rivals, South Carolina. In recent years, things have changed however, and the SEC’s Gamecocks are now riding a four-game winning streak that’s allowed coach Steve Spurrier to crow about his squad’s superiority even more so than normal. The war of words between Spurrier and Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has added fuel to the fire and intensity of this matchup, but not wins for the Tigers. Swinney, who secured the full-time head coaching job with a victory over South Carolina in 2008, has not won this grudge match since. He hopes that changes in 2013, as there’s arguably never been more on the line for both teams to end the season.

Last year’s iteration was wild enough — the 11th-ranked and 12th-ranked programs in the country, respectively, going at it for in-state supremacy. But despite the fanfare around the Tigers’ offense, Clemson was effectively shut down all game, playing second-fiddle to a surprisingly effective Gamecocks attack. Backup quarterback Dylan Thompson threw for three touchdowns against CU’s beleaguered secondary and to make matters worse, the Tigers’ offense was completely terrorized by Jadeveon Clowney (who recorded 4.5 sacks) all day. Clemson’s Tajh Boyd, who’d been on a statistical tear all season, was held to just 183 yards and a touchdown on 11-of-24 passing. For all intents and purposes, it was a nightmare scenario.

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