An 18-play, 79-yard Duke touchdown drive that took 9:22 permanently changed the momentum in the second half to give the Blue Devils a 24-21 lead they never relinquished. The Miami football team overcame four first-half turnovers with two TDs less than two minutes into the second half to surge in front 21-17.
Jake Garcia completed a 71-yard touchdown pass to Colbie Young to cut the Miami football team’s deficit to 17-14 51 seconds into the third quarter. Miami cornerback D.J. Ivey forced and recovered a fumble on the first play following the Young TD. Three plays later Garcia threw a 34-yard TD pass to Will Mallory.
The two TDs occurred 1:03 apart. How a team reacts to adversity often shows its character. Duke went on the 18-play, 79-yard, 9:22 drive following the Mallory TD. Duke regained the lead with 3:38 remaining in the third quarter and never trailed again. How the drive unfolded partly defined the game.
Duke converted three third-down attempts and two fourth-downs on the drive that changed the momentum. The Miami football team held Duke to 101 yards in the first half. Duke converted two of its seven third-down attempts in the first half, The Blue Devils did not have any fourth-down attempts in the first half.
The first third down attempt for Duke on its epic drive Miami lost a chance to get off the field in excellent field position. Duke quarterback Riley Leonard completed a pass to Jordan Waters for 19 yards to the Duke 37 for a first down on third and 13. Miami forced Duke into another third down on the next set of downs.
Jaquez Moore ran two yards for a first down on third and two to the Duke 47 for a first down. After another first down, Duke dug itself into a first and 20 at the 50 yardline following a holding penalty. On fourth and nine from the Miami 39, Leonard completed a pass to Eli Pancol for 21 yds to the Hurricanes’ 18 for a first down.
On third and three from the Miami 11, Leonard ran six yards for a first down to the Miami five yardline. On first and goal from the Miami five yardline, Duke had a TD called back for a pick play resulting in pass interference. The PI set Duke back to first and goal from the Miami 20 yardline.
On fourth and goal from the Miami two yardline, Riley Leonard completed a TD pass to Nicky Dalmolin to regain the lead for Duke and begin the self-destruction for Miami. Following the Duke TD drive, Miami turned the ball over on downs on the next drive and then had two interceptions and two fumbles on the final four drives.
Miami has not sustained momentum through an entire game versus an FBS opponent this season. The Hurricanes are 0-6 versus the spread against FBS opponents this season and have not played a complete game. Slow starts or poor finishes have frequently doomed Miami this season.
Allowing the 9:22 drive took away the momentum the offense gained in less than two minutes to begin the second half. Miami then self-destructed offensively in the final four drives. Through week seven Miami was 48th nationally allowing opponents to convert only 35 percent of their third down attempts.
Duke was five for nine on third downs in the second half and finished the game seven for 16. Miami was 67th allowing opponents to convert 52.94 percent of their fourth down attempts through week seven. The two fourth-down conversions on the epic third-quarter drive were the only ones Duke attempted on Saturday.
It would be nearly impossible for any team to win with eight turnovers. Miami was in position to overcome the first four turnovers in the third quarter. The failed opportunities on the third quarter Duke TD drive ultimately turned the momentum in Duke’s favor and Miami was unable to overcome the adversity.