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Knights Outlast Canes in Pinstripe Bowl

Knights Outlast Canes in Pinstripe Bowl

by Carter Toole

BRONX, N.Y. – Five weeks ago, the Miami Hurricanes ended the regular season with a dominating win at Boston College. But a lot had changed by the time the Canes walked out onto the field Thursday at venerable Yankee Stadium to play Rutgers in the Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl.

Jacurri Brown was making his first appearance as Miami quarterback since November of last year, one of five new starters. The Canes were also missing two starting offensive linemen and their dynamic duo of starting safeties, all off to prepare for the NFL Draft.

But what hadn’t changed was the tenacity and resolve of these Canes. Miami battled from start to finish – at one point overcoming a 14-point deficit to take the lead and later recovering a late onside kick. But ultimately the Canes fell short in a 31-24 loss to the Scarlet Knights in the 13th edition of the bowl game hosted by Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees.

Miami and Rutgers both ended their seasons with 7-6 records.

Brown completed 20 of 31 passes for 181 yards with one touchdown and one interception, adding 57 yards and two scores on the ground. Wide receiver Xavier Restrepo caught 11 passes for 99 yards and one score, setting Miami’s single-season reception mark (85) in the process. Running back Henry Parrish, Jr. rushed for 46 yards.

Linebacker Francisco Mauigoa paced Miami with 12 tackles, while defensive back Markeith Williams added eight stops. Reigning ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year Rueben Bain racked up a career-best three tackles for loss.

Knights running back Kyle Monangai rushed for 163 yards on 22 carries with one score, pacing a ground attack that amassed 210 yards overall. Quarterback Gavin Wimsatt threw for just 84 yards but scored two rushing touchdowns. Linebacker Mohamed Toure had eight tackles and a sack. The Knights also scored on special teams, recovering a blocked punt in the end zone in the third quarter.

Rutgers opened the game with a 13-play, 75-yard march that culminated with a one-yard touchdown plunge by Wimsatt. On Miami’s opening possession, Brown threw a third-down dart to Restrepo to push the wide receiver over the 1,000-yard receiving yards mark for the season. But a sack by Toure ended the drive and forced a punt.

The Knights reached the Canes 35 on their next drive but Jai Patel’s 53-yard field goal attempt fell short. But three plays later Brown was picked off by linebacker Abram Wright at the Miami 42. Wimsatt threw a 23-yard pass to wide receiver Christian Dremel, giving the Knights first and goal at the seven-yard line. Monangai took care of the rest with a scoring scamper on the next snap. Rutgers led by two touchdowns.

The Canes responded with their best drive of the first half, aided by two personal foul penalties on the Knights. Brown capped the nine-play march with a six-yard touchdown run, punctuating it with a slide that would have made Derek Jeter proud. Rutgers’ lead was cut to 14-7.

Miami stopped the Knights near midfield and got the ball back at its 10 with 45 seconds left in the half. Brown went back to work, completing four passes to get the Canes in field goal range. Andy Borregales booted a 35-yard field goal and Miami went into the locker room trailing by four points.

The Canes sustained that momentum to open the second half. Miami opened up with six rushes on its first seven plays before Brown lofted a 30-yard scoring toss to a wide-open Restrepo. The Canes had scored 17 straight points and had their first lead of the game.

Miami’s defense held the Knights but Rutgers pinned the Canes back at their own seven-yard line. The Knights forced a three-and-out and blocked Dylan Joyce’s punt. Defensive back Timmy Ward recovered the ball in the end zone and Rutgers was back in front 21-17.

The Knights pulled further ahead early in the fourth quarter when Monangai raced 40 yards to within a whisper of the end zone. Two plays later Wimsatt burrowed in for his second touchdown and Rutgers’ lead was back to double digits.

After stopping the Canes on 4th and 2 at their 45, the Knights proceeded to chew up the clock, running on 10 straight plays to set up a 35-yard field goal by Patel to make it 31-17.

The Canes drove down the field as Brown capped an 11-play touchdown march with his second rushing score. Miami cut the lead to 31-24 but there were only 27 seconds left on the clock. Borregales executed a perfect onside kick, which was recovered by cornerback Te’Cory Couch. The Canes had the ball back at their own 44, but a fourth-down reception by Restrepo fell one yard shy of the sticks.

This marked Rutgers’ first win over Miami in 12 tries.