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No. 17 Miami Knocks Off No. 8 Oklahoma, 21-20

No. 17 Miami Knocks Off No. 8 Oklahoma, 21-20

Oct. 3, 2009

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MIAMI (AP) -Once Jacory Harris settled down and Miami’s defense got rolling, the Hurricanes found the right combination for their biggest win in years.

And for Sam Bradford-less Oklahoma, it was just another frustrating trip to South Florida.

Harris survived a shaky start to throw three touchdown passes, Javarris James ran for a career-high 150 yards against the nation’s top rush defense, and No. 17 Miami knocked off No. 8 Oklahoma 21-20 on Saturday night – in what will join some games from the 1980s as another Hurricanes-Sooners classic.

With Oklahoma’s reigning Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback watching from the sideline, still out with a right shoulder injury, Miami (3-1) scored 21 straight points to take control.

“It’s our time,” said linebacker Jordan Futch. “We are back. We are still The U.”

Oklahoma led 10-0 early, significant because for nearly seven years, that’s been automatic doom for Sooners foes. Oklahoma had won 40 straight when scoring at least the game’s first 10 points, dating to Nov. 9, 2002.

Not this time.

Not against a Miami team that was desperate for a signature victory, and delivered.

And when Miami was able to run out the clock, its home building shook with joy.

Oklahoma’s last trip to the Hurricanes’ home field was last January, when it lost the BCS national championship game to Florida.

This one almost certainly ended any Sooners national title hopes, too. Landry Jones threw for 188 yards and DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown combined to rush for 151 more for Oklahoma (2-2).

The teams last met in September 2007, a 51-13 romp by Oklahoma. That game shaped today’s Hurricanes in a number of ways: For the older players, it was humiliating, and for the ones like Harris who were in high school at the time, it reaffirmed that they wanted to be part of the group that brought Miami back to prominence.

But Saturday surely didn’t start the way Miami wanted.

Harris threw interceptions on Miami’s first two drives, the first so easy for Oklahoma’s Dominique Franks to grab that it wasn’t even clear who was the intended receiver. Oklahoma turned that one into a 16-yard touchdown pass from Jones to Cameron Kenney, and stretched the lead to 10-0 in the second quarter on Jimmy Stevens’ 21-yard field goal.

Yet Oklahoma had to be disappointed at that point: A 95-yard drive mustered only three points.

You name it, the Hurricanes did it wrong in the first half. They downed a punt inside the Oklahoma 1, only to let Brown get loose for a 48-yard run on the very next snap. Missed tackles were plenty, and Harris wasn’t clicking. Some penalties were baffling – perhaps the most egregious was being offsides on a kickoff, when Oklahoma couldn’t run it back to the 10.

So the ground game gave Miami a spark.

James ripped off his longest run since his freshman season in 2006, a 50-yarder midway through the second quarter. Two plays later, thanks to a recovered Harris fumble by lineman Matt Pipho, Jimmy Graham – he of the two crucial drops last week against Virginia Tech – caught an 18-yard TD pass to help Miami claw within 10-7 at the half.

Barely a half-minute into the third quarter, the Hurricanes took the lead.

Joe Joseph went into the Miami locker room hobbling in the second quarter. He returned in the third, forced a fumble on the Sooners’ first drive, and Harris connected with Dedrick Epps for an 11-yard score that put Miami up 14-10.

And that’s when Oklahoma got rattled. A pair of 15-yard penalties on the next Sooners possession led to a fourth-and-42 scenario, giving Miami the ball back – and Harris came through with it, hitting Benjamin for a 38-yard score and 21-10 lead as the stadium roared.