Orlando, FL—Anytime Miami steps on the field there is likely a lot fireworks that follows not to far behind.
On Tuesday night, Miami and Oklahoma State gave the fans what they wanted at the Cheez-It Bowl. OSU pulled out a 37-34 victory, but the Hurricanes didn’t go down without a fight.
Miami receiver Michael Redding was stopped 3 yards short of the chains on fourth-and-8 with 1:36 to play in the game to essentially ending the game.
The Cowboys (8-3) called 15 consecutive pass plays to open the game and sprinted out to a 21-0 lead. Spencer Sanders threw TD passes of 30 and 32 yards to Brennan Presley, and LD Brown had a 2-yard touchdown plunge.
Canes quarterback D’Eriq King left the game due to injury, it looked like Miami was on the verge of getting their doors blown off. However, the Hurricanes were able to make the game competitive. Backup quarterback N’Kosi Perry lead the charge. In the fourth, it looked like the Canes would pull the game out, but dropped passes in pivotal situations was the deciding factor.
“Our game plan going in was to try to offset some of the speed and strength they have in the front six,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. They are a fast, athletic team. We wanted to throw the ball 25 times in the first half.”
Spencer Sanders threw for 305 yards and four touchdowns, and the Cowboys held off the Hurricanes off with timely stops on defense in the second half.
Sanders also led the Cowboys with 45 yards rushing and was named Most Valuable Player.
“That MVP doesn’t just go to me,” Sanders said. The defense stopped them when they needed to stop them. We scored when we needed to score. I told them that this MVP is for everyone.”
The big story of the game was the play of Oklahoma State wide receiver Brennan Presley. The freshman entered the game with just one reception on the season but caught six passes for 118 yards and three touchdowns — the last of which gave OSU an 11-point lead halfway through the fourth quarter that turned out to be the game-winning score.
Perry looked comfortable in the pocket. The veteran entered the game with Miami down by two touchdowns and jump started the offense. Perry completed 19 of his 24 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 10 yards on the ground. He hit Mike Harleyfor a five-yard touchdown to cap off the drive with a 10-play, 75-yards that brought them within three points with 5:39 to play in the game.
Oklahoma State went to the air early and often to finish its season on a high note but their defense came up big in the clutch in the second half.
“The guys rallied around N’Kosi and did a great job,” Miami coach Manny Diaz said. He looked like a guy that played a lot of ball and the team had confidence that they could move the ball with him.”
Cowboys wide receiver Tylan Wallace had six catches for 45 yards in just one half of play. That was the tentative plan, according to Gundy.
“We just talked with him and at some point we wanted to get some players in the game that were going to be here next year and we wanted to protect him, Gundy said. “I’m not going to say that what happened with Miami’s quarterback didn’t have a little bit of effect on that.”