Every college football season produces a team or two that earns a reputation for pulling off improbable wins and dramatic finishes. Two weeks of October football make the case that Miami is that team.
A week after Darrell Langham caught a 23-yard winning touchdown pass from Malik Rosier with six seconds left to beat rival Florida State for the first time since 2009, Langham and Rosier followed that up with another enormous connection to set the stage for a 25-24 Hurricanes win over Georgia Tech.
Needing a field goal to win, No. 11 Miami got the ball back at its own eight-yard line with 2:24 left, on a sloppy Hard Rock Stadium field after storms arrived in the second half. Rosier hit a couple key passes to Braxton Berrios, who played a clutch role in the win at FSU, too. But after a run went nowhere, Miami faced fourth-and-10 at the Georgia Tech 43-yard line with only 42 seconds left.
Rosier fired downfield for a covered Langham. The ball slipped over the arriving safety help, and Langham somehow came down with the ball off a deflection with cornerback Lamont Simmons in his face.
Now in field goal range, Miami got a 12-yard run from tailback Travis Homer -- starting in place of the injured Mark Walton -- to set the stage for Michael Badgley's 24-yard field goal for the win with four seconds left.
All week, there was concern that Miami would suffer from hangover effect after the win over the Seminoles and struggle to prepare for Georgia Tech's option offense.
Miami went ahead 3-0 early, but it trailed most of the game after a J.J. Green touchdown run with 4:27 left in the first quarter. Miami cut Georgia Tech's lead to 14-13 at halftime with a 17-yard TD pass from Rosier to Homer, but it nearly kicked the game away to start the third quarter with a botched surprise onside kick that Georgia Tech's Simmons picked up and ran 42 yards for a touchdown.
Miami tried to start the second half with an onside kick. It didn't work. pic.twitter.com/oVouOX3boQ— Dr. Saturday (@YahooDrSaturday) October 14, 2017
But after a Georgia Tech field goal, Miami scored the game's final 12 points -- a two-point attempt after a Homer touchdown failed early in the fourth quarter -- and it ended up out-gaining the Yellow Jackets 481-281, on 16 more plays.
Last year, Miami's nine wins all came by at least two touchdowns. It went 0-3 in games decided by a touchdown or less. So far, in Mark Richt's second season, close-game fortunes have changed, leaving the 5-0 Canes as the ACC's last unbeaten team after Clemson lost to Syracuse on Friday night.
The Canes have plenty of room for improvement and can't live on the edge every week, but they prevailed on Saturday, again, after their defense stepped up, Homer emerged with 170 rushing yards and Rosier and Langham again played the hero after last week's theatrics:
After a long wait to finally win a division title, Miami has not made snapping its drought easy on itself, but the Hurricanes' journey toward what it hopes is a first trip to the ACC Championship Game is on track.