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No. 16 Miami beats Clemson 30-21

Clemson, S.C. (AP)–Quarterback Jacory Harris got No. 16 Miami ahead. Cornerback Brandon Harris made sure that lead stood up in the Hurricanes’ Atlantic Coast Conference opener.

Jacory Harris tied a career best with four first-half touchdown passes while teammate Harris stuffed Andre Ellington on fourth down to end Clemson’s best chance to rally back in Miami’s 30-21 victory on Saturday.

The Hurricanes (3-1, 1-0 ACC) have long grown accustomed to Jacory Harris’ heroics. This time, they saw a second Harris and their top-ranked ACC defense take center stage.

Leonard Hankerson

“It may be? I’d say it is” the play of the game, Miami cornerback Ryan Hill said.

Ahead 27-21, Brandon Harris stopped Ellington on 4th-and-1 from Miami’s 20 with 8:20 to go, ending the Tigers comeback bid.

The Hurricanes followed with a mistake-free, 68-yard drive that finished with Matt Bosher’s clinching 29-yard field goal.

Coach Shannon

“As a player here in Miami, those are the situations you want to be in,” Brandon Harris said. “Come up and make a big stop for your team.”

It didn’t seem like Miami would need its defense to shine after Jacory Harris threw three touchdowns to Leonard Hankerson and one to Mike James to put the Hurricanes ahead 27-14.

And the lead could’ve been larger if not for two Jacory Harris’ interceptions, one in the end zone on a 3rd-and-goal from the Tigers 4.

But Clemson’s defense clamped down on Harris and the `Canes, turning an easy game into a nail-biter.

“It was just one of those games where I thought our guys really stayed focused and played hard and didn’t stress,” Miami coach Randy Shannon said. “Defensively, they really showed a lot of poise in the second half.”

Clemson (2-2, 0-1) came into the game with the ACC’s fewest turnovers–just two its first three games. But Miami forced the Tigers into three fumbles and three interceptions.

“There is no way to have an effective offense with flaws like these,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said.

Jacory Harris finished 13 of 33 for 205 yards with the two interceptions. His touchdown throws matched his personal high set against Duke in 2008.

Hankerson had seven catches for a career high 147 yards. No Miami receiver has had as many touchdowns in a game since Santana Moss did it against Rutgers in 1998.

Hankerson said Miami’s offense is glad it’s backed up by an equally potent defense.

“The defense, they stepped up two weeks in a row, got us the ball and we scored point,” Hankerson said.

The past three games between Miami and Clemson all went to overtime, highly entertaining back-and-forth affairs people didn’t want to leave.

Harris and the Hurricanes, though, looked like they had put this one away by halftime after Hankerson’s 7-yard TD catch with 10 seconds left before the break put Miami ahead 27-14.

Stats | Photos | Video | Notes
  1st 2nd 3rd 4th F
Miami 7 20 0 3 27
Clemson 7 7 7 0 21
Team Stat Comparison
  Clemson UM
1st Downs 15 19
   Rushing 1st downs 5 8
   Passing 1st downs 8 9
Net Yards Rushing 162 171
   Rushing Attempts 40 43
   Avg Per Rush 4.1 4
   Rushing TDs 3 0
Net Yards Passing 149 205
   Cmp-Att-Int 14-33-3 13-33-2
   Avg Per Attempt 4.5 6.2
   Avg Per Completion 10.6 15.8
   Passing TDs 0 4

Individual Stat Leaders
Passing Leaders
  Cmp-Att-Int Yds TD Long
   J. Harris 13-34-2 205 4 65
   K. Parker 14-33-3 149 0 23

Rushing Leaders
Miami No Yds TD Avg
   D. Berry 24 101 0 4.2
   L. Miller 7 53 0 7.6
Clemson No Yds TD Avg
  A. Ellington 17 107 3 6.3
   J. Harper 18 57 0 3.2

Recieving Leaders
Miami No Yds TD Long
   L. Hankerson 7 147 3 65
   M. James 2 29 1 18
Clemson No Yds TD Long
    A. Ellington 3 39 0 22
    D. Hopkins 3 37 0 20

But then in the second half Harris showed why he can both amaze and frustrate fans of “The U.”

He was called for intentional grounding near his goal line, forcing Miami to punt from the end zone. Clemson took advantage of the good field position that followed with the last of Ellington’s three touchdowns to cut the lead to 27-21.

Harris then escaped a game-changing mistake when Hurricanes lineman Seantrel Henderson, a 6-foot-8, 355-pound freshman making his first start, covered up the quarterback’s fumble.

Hankerson said Harris knows how to forget about his errors and focus on what Miami must do to win.

“If he thinks about the picks, it’s going to hurt us in the end,” Hankerson said. “So (Jacory) put it behind him, made plays, made throws … and we won the game.”

Harris, who was not available to the media following the game, showed off his skills in the first half.

When Clemson moved in front 14-7 on Ellington’s second TD run, Harris answered back three plays later with a textbook throw to Hankerson for a 65-yard score to tie the game.

In the second quarter, Harris followed a badly overthrown interception a series later with a perfect lob to Mike James for an 18-yard touchdown.

Harris made a second bad error when, on third-and-goal, Marcus Gilchrist intercepted his throw into the end zone. But Harris made up for it right before halftime with two nifty passes to Hankerson, the second for his 7-yard TD.

Clemson looked like it had figured a way through Miami’s defense as Ellington dashed off two TD runs, the first a 71-yarder in the first quarter that was the Tigers longest in three seasons.

Ellington rushed for 107 yards. Clemson quarterback Kyle Parker was just 14 of 33 for 149 yards. He was sacked three times and ended the Tigers final two drives with a fumble and an interception.

Postgame Notes

True freshman
Seantrel Henderson made his first career start as a Hurricane. Henderson started at right tackle.

True freshman Storm Johnson had his first career touch when he returned a second quarter kickoff 24 yards.

Redshirt sophomore Marcus Forston had his first career interception off a tipped pass by Allen Bailey in the second quarter. It led to Mike James first career touchdown reception – an 18-yard catch.

With a seven-yard touchdown pass to Leonard Hankerson in the second quarter, Jacory Harris moved into a tie for fifth place all-time in career touchdowns with his 46th. He tied Craig Erickson (1987-90).

Harris threw four touchdown passes in the first half – a 22-yard touch to Hankerson, 65-yarder to Hankerson, an 18-yarder to Mike James and another seven yard strike to Hankerson.

Harris tied his career-high for touchdown passes with the four TD’s. He had four touchdown passes in a Miami win at Duke on Oct. 18, 2008.

When Miami and Clemson have gotten together the last four times, a high-scoring affair always seems to be in order. The teams combined for 41 points in the first half and finished with 51 points combined.

Last season, the teams combined for 77 points in Miami. In 2005 in Clemson, the teams combined for 66 points and in 2004, the teams combined for 41 points.

Miami continued to make it hard on its opponents to cross the line of scrimmage. The Hurricanes, which lead the nation in tackles for loss, picked up five in the first half. The `Canes finished with eight tackles for loss in the game. The `Canes are averaging 10.5 tackles for loss per game.

With a 22-yard touchdown reception from Jacory Harris in the second quarter, Leonard Hankerson has now caught a pass in 17-straight games.

Hankerson hauled in three touchdown catches in the first half – a seven-yard strike, the 22-yarder and a career-long 65-yard TD in the second quarter. It was Hankerson’s second career multitouchdown game. He had two TD catches against Florida A&M earlier in the season.

Hankerson also moved into a tie for sixth place all-time in career touchdown receptions. He now has 15 career touchdown receptions tying Brian Blades (1984-87). Hankerson has six career touchdown receptions in four games this season.

With a 10-yard completion, Hankerson notched his third career 100-yard receiving game and second 100-yard performance of the season. He had six catches for 115 yards and two touchdowns against Florida A&M.

Hankerson’s three-receiving touchdowns in the first half was the first time since 1998 that a `Cane has had three touchdown receptions in a game. Santana Moss had three against Rutgers on Oct. 3, 1998.

Miami notched its 10th scoring drive of less than two minutes versus Clemson. Here’s a look at Miami’s quick strikes thus far this season:
Plays-Yards TOP Result Opponent
7-63 1:40 Leonard Hankerson 19-yd TD catch FAMU
6-64 1:17 Hankerson 40-yd TD catch FAMU
6-55 1:51 Mike James 1-yd TD run FAMU
7-19 1:58 Matt Bosher 51-yard field goal OSU
7-60 1:37 Chase Ford 9-yd TD catch OSU
4-51 1:02 Leonard Hankerson 19-yard TD catch PITT
4-43 1:26 Travis Benjamin 10-yard TD catch PITT
3-70 1:00 Leonard Hankerson 65-yard TD catch CLEMSON
1-18 0:06 Mike James 18-yard TD catch CLEMSON
2-29 0:14 Leonard Hankerson 7-yard TD catch CLEMSON

All-ACC punter/kicker Matt Bosher extended his streak to 105 straight PAT’s made – continuing to make it the second best streak in a career in Miami history. Carlos Huerta owns the school record with 157 consecutive made. Bosher had his streak snapped on a blocked PAT in the second quarter.

Senior defensive back Ryan Hill’s interception with under a minute left in the fourth quarter gives him an interception in back-to-back games for the `Canes. Hill is tied with sophomore Ray Ray Armstrong for the team lead with two INT’s on the year.

Miami’s offensive starters today were: Jacory Harris (QB), Damien Berry (HB), Travis Benjamin (WR), Leonard Hankerson (WR), Richard Gordon (TE), Harland Gunn (LG), Orlando Franklin (LT), Brandon Washington (RG), Tyler Horn (C), Seantrel (RT) and Pat Hill (FB).

Starting for Miami on defense was: Olivier Vernon (DE), Micanor Regis (DT), Josh Holmes (DT), Allen Bailey (DE), Colin McCarthy (LB), Sean Spence (LB), Ramon Buchanan (LB), Brandon Harris (CB), Vaughn Telemaque (FS), Ray Ray Armstrong (SS) and Ryan Hill (CB).

The 2010 captains for Miami are Jacory Harris, Matt Bosher, Colin McCarthy, Pat Hill, Leonard Hankerson and Allen Bailey. Representing the captains for the coin toss against Clemson were Bosher, Bailey, Hankerson and Hill.

Linebacker Sean Spence recorded a career-high 14 tackles against Clemson. It was the second time this season he’s had 10 or more tackles in a game. His previous career-high was 11 tackles against Ohio State, also recording nine tackles against Pitt. He is averaging 11.3 tackles over the last three games.

Junior linebacker Ramon Buchanan tallied a career-high tying six tackles. He had six tackles in the season-opener against Florida A&M (Sept. 2)

Running back Damien Berry set a new career-high with 24 carries while finishing with 101 yards. Berry’s previous career-high was 16 carries for 94 yards against Ohio State earlier this year.

Senior defensive lineman Allen Bailey had a career-high tying five tackles. He also collected five tackles against Wake Forest and USF in 2009.

Hankerson’s 147 yards receiving is a career-high for the senior from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. His previous career-high was 143 yards against Duke in 2009.

-Gave Miami its fifth win in an ACC season opener since joining the league in 2004
-Gave Miami a 3-1 record in ACC season openers under head coach Randy Shannon
-Gave Miami a 3-1 record for the second straight year and third time under head coach Randy Shannon