Canes Rally for Thrilling Double Overtime Win over Clemson

Canes Rally for Thrilling Double Overtime Win over Clemson

by Carter Toole

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – As the clock crept closer to midnight, the Clemson Tigers needed to move the ball just one yard to extend the game.

But the Tigers learned that in Miami space is at a premium.

The Miami Hurricanes’ defense protected that yard just like they had every inch of real estate Saturday night through four quarters and two overtime periods – intelligently, passionately and ferociously.

And when linebacker Corey Flagg, Jr. dragged Clemson quarterback Cade Klubnik to the turf for an eight-yard loss on fourth and goal Miami had its first win over the Tigers in 13 years.

The Canes defeated Clemson 28-20 in two overtimes Saturday night before a delirious crowd of 48,562 at Hard Rock Stadium. Miami improved to 5-2 overall and 1-2 in ACC play. Clemson fell to 4-3 and 2-3.

“Obviously, very proud of our players,” head coach Mario Cristobal said. “Very proud of our program for showing just a ton of resiliency, toughness and coming out and really just playing every snap with just a lot of juice, a lot of energy, executing at a higher level.

“Certainly, the value of each snap showed for us today.”

Miami won the turnover battle and controlled the line of scrimmage, outrushing the Tigers by 180 yards. But to rally from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter it needed freshman quarterback Emory Williams – making his first career start in place of the injured Tyler Van Dyke – to step up. And he did.

Williams completed 24 of 33 passes for 151 yards with one touchdown and one interception, hitting wide receiver Colbie Young in the end zone to cut Clemson’s lead to 17-14 and then driving the Canes into field goal range where Andy Borregales tied it with a 38-yarder.

From there we transitioned to bonus football, where both teams kicked field goals in the first overtime and running back Ajay Allen scored both a touchdown and a two-point conversion to put the Canes up by eight. Kublick connected with Tyler Brown on a 21-yard pass to set Clemson up with first and goal at the two-yard line. But Miami’s defense stuffed the Tigers on four plays, the last a desperate scramble by Kublick that Flagg snuffed out from the outset.

“We talked about how games like this are 15-round heavyweight fights and rounds 11 through 15 separate you,” Cristobal said. “I’m just proud of those guys, man. They played hard; they played well. They got it done.”

Wide receiver Brashard Smith led the Canes in rushing with 87 yards, most on an 80-yard bolt that led to Miami’s first touchdown. Don Chaney, Jr. rushed for 63 yards, while Allen added 54. Wide receiver Xavier Restrepo led the team with seven catches, while Young registered six grabs for 76 yards and that crucial score. Miami racked up 362 total yards and was a tidy 9 of 18 on third down.

Defensive end Rueben Bain had a monster game, amassing eight tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble. Safety Kam Kinchens had six tackles and an interception, while fellow safety James Williams recorded seven stops, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Llinebacker Francisco Mauigoa added six tackles and one sack. The Canes had five total sacks for the second straight week.

Klubnik completed 18 of 34 passes for 314 yards with two touchdowns and one pick. Tight end Jake Briningstool caught five of those passes for 126 yards and two scores. Running back Will Shipley managed 44 yards but needed 15 carries to do so.

Miami’s defense forced a quick three-and-out to start the game and Williams completed his first pass of the evening to Smith for 12 yards. But the drive stalled and the Tigers got the ball back at their 16. Klubnik converted a 3rd and 10 with a 34-yard completion to wide receiver Adam Randall that moved the ball to the Canes 39. Klubnik scrambled to convert another third down and keep the drive alive and Clemson eventually faced 3rd and goal from the two-yard line.

What happened next was one of the most bizarre two-snap sequences of the season. Shipley fumbled right before he reached the end zone and Williams recovered to give Miami the ball at the 20. Smith then bolted up the middle and raced towards the end zone, but he was stripped of the ball as he crossed the goal line. George was there to pounce on it and the Canes had an 80-yard touchdown drive and a 7-0 lead.

Clemson drove into Miami territory again to start the second quarter, and again fumbled on a key third down. On 3rd and 6 from the Canes 25, Klubnik tried to elude the rush and Bain popped the ball loose. Linebacker Wesley Bissainthe recovered at the Miami 28. The Tigers forced another punt and got the ball back at their 10.

This time Clemson was able to finish the drive. Klubnik marched the Tigers 90 yards in just seven plays, connecting with Briningstool on a 32-yard touchdown strike to tie the game at 7-7.

The teams traded interceptions as Kinchens picked off Klubnik and cornerback Sheridan Jones picked off Williams with 48 seconds lift in the half. Klubnik nearly got sacked by Mauigoa in the end zone for a safety but the officials spotted it at the one-yard line and the first half ended on the next snap.

After a Miami three-and-out to start the second half, Klubnik completed consecutive throws to wide receivers Beaux Collins and Troy Stellato for 28 and 17 yards to the Canes 23. But on third down cornerback Te’Cory Couch stripped Klubnik on a blitz. Shipley recovered the loose ball and Clemson settled for a 41-yard field goal by Jonathan Weitz to take a 10-7 lead.

On the next drive, the Canes faced a 4th and 1 from their own 44 and Chaney picked up nine yards to keep the chains moving. Three snaps later, it was 4th and 3 and Williams completed a short toss to tight end Riley Williams, but cornerback Andrew Mukuba read the play and made the tackle short of the marker. Clemson took over on downs with 3:02 left in the third quarter.

Klubnik and Briningstool went back to work, first connecting for a 50-yard gain to the Canes 14 and then on a 19-yard touchdown toss that was initially ruled incomplete. The overturn gave Clemson the score and a 10-point lead.

But the Canes responded with their most methodical drive of the night, rushing 12 times over 14 plays to reach a crucial 3rd and 3 from the Tigers 11. But it was Williams’ arm that got Miami into the end zone as he lofted a gorgeous toss to Young for his first career touchdown pass. Clemson’s lead was back to just three points with eight minutes to go.

Miami’s defense came through with a quick three-and-out, forcing two incompletions. Williams threw a dart to Young for 16 yards to convert a third down and move the ball to midfield. Williams then connected with Young on another third down, this time on a deep ball to the Clemson 23. But the Canes had to settle for a 38-yard field goal attempt by Borregales – he split the uprights to tie the game at 17 with 1:52 left.

The Canes got the ball back but the clock ran out and the two teams headed for overtime.

Miami returns to Hard Rock Stadium next Saturday to face Virginia, which upset No. 10 North Carolina 31-27 in Chapel Hill for its first ACC win of the season. Kickoff is 3:30 p.m. on ACC Network.