By Kyle Kensing
Miami may have beat Nebraska 36-33 on Saturday, but the overtime victory probably won't ground planes flying "Fire Al Golden" banners.
Nebraska scored 23 points on three Tommy Armstrong Jr. touchdown passes in the final 8:36 of regulation to force overtime, and while Miami pulled off the win to move to 3-0, ceding a 33-10 lead won't do any favors for Golden, Miami's embattled coach..
1. Corn Elder vexed the Cornhuskers
No one was better than nickelback Corn Elder. His interception of Armstrong in overtime saved Miami and provided the enduring Hurricane highlight of the afternoon.
However, Elder did a little of everything, much of which won't register in the box score. Would-be Nebraska pass-catchers dropped passes with Elder in the neighborhood, the result of his physical play early.
He was a standout against the run, dropping into pass coverage and on special teams. He averaged 14.7 yards per punt return, though his three opportunities only led directly to three points.
2. Miami has yet to go 60 minutes
In a Week 2 win at Florida Atlantic, Miami started sluggishly and finished strong. Saturday, the Hurricanes came out on a torrid pace before the near-damning finish.
Miami built a 17-0 advantage on its first three possessions. The Hurricanes' three touchdown drives, which came early in the first and third quarters, totaled just over four minutes.
The Miami that showed up for these stretches looked capable of contending in the ACC. The 'Canes dominated on both lines, quarterback Brad Kaaya moved the ball all over the field, including deep, and running back Joseph Yearby ran with purpose.
The Miami that appeared in the fourth quarter explains the animus toward the coaching staff.
3. The Mike Riley era at Nebraska begins with heartbreak
Nebraska's 30-year win streak of Week 1 wins at home ended on a Hail Mary two weeks ago against BYU, in Riley's first game as head coach. Saturday, the Cornhuskers finally did what they couldn't do in the 1984 Orange Bowl, converting a two-point conversion at the end of the game at Miami. The Huskers lost the 1983 season's national championship after a failed two-point conversion attempt, and this time a successful one forced overtime.
For Nebraska to lose in the fashion it did -- Armstrong throwing his third interception after a brilliant fourth quarter comeback, and just after the two-pointer -- is arguably more gutting than BYU's Week 1 prayer.
Stat of the Game
The Hurricanes totaled all of five yards of offense in regulation after going ahead 33-10, per ESPN.com's Andrea Adelson.
Since taking a 33-10 lead on Nebraska in the 4Q, Miami has 5 yards of offense. That is one part of the explanation.— Andrea Adelson (@aadelsonESPN) September 19, 2015
That jarring statistic explains Nebraska's rally from another staggering number: a 0.8 percent of winning.
To make things crazier, Nebraska had a 0.8% chance to win when they were down 23 w/ 11:14 remaining, #NEBvsMIA- ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) September 19, 2015
After offensive coordinator James Coley opened the playbook to Kaaya for three quarters, Miami's play-calling in the fourth period was confounding. Moreover, the lack of production wasn't the result of going vanilla to bleed the clock.
On the contrary: The Hurricanes passed 10 times in the fourth quarter.
These numbers will loom over Golden like a plane carrying a derogatory banner.
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Kyle Kensing is a contributor to Sports on Earth. He is a sports journalist in Southern California and has covered college football and basketball for a variety of outlets in the last decade. Follow Kyle on Twitter @kensing45 for insights on sports, cinema and old Simpsons episodes.