Oklahoma State knocks off Miami

By David Furones
South Florida Sun Sentinel/TNS

ORLANDO, Fla. - It looked bad when the Miami Hurricanes trailed 21-0 in the first quarter. It looked worse when star quarterback D’Eriq King went down with an apparent knee injury late in the first half.

Through it all, 18th-ranked Miami fought back against the No. 21 Cowboys, but the rally behind backup quarterback N’Kosi Perry came up short. UM fell, 37-34, in the Cheez-It Bowl at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium on Tuesday night.

The Hurricanes (8-3, 7-2 ACC) finish 2020 with two consecutive losses to ranked teams after getting drubbed, 62-26, against North Carolina on Dec. 12. They are now 1-10 in bowl games since 2006, the only win coming in 2016 in the same Orlando bowl when it was named the Russell Athletic Bowl.

King was 10 for 13 for 113 yards and a touchdown pass, adding 18 rushing yards, at the time of his departure. Perry came on in relief to throw for 228 yards and two touchdowns on 19-of-34 passing.

Driving at around midfield with under two minutes to play, Perry threw a screen to Michael Redding on fourth-and-9 that only went for 6 yards. The Cowboys (8-3, 6-3 Big 12) were able to run out the clock from there.

Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders threw for 305 yards and four touchdowns on 27-of-40 passing. Three of his touchdowns went to freshman receiver Brennan Presley, who finished with six receptions for 118 yards.

Instead of a tie by way of 21 unanswered points, it was, 21-19, Oklahoma State. The Cowboys added to the lead with a Dillon Stoner 5-yard touchdown from Sanders that followed a field goal, and they led, 31-19, early in the fourth quarter.

Jordan scored his second touchdown from a yard out on a one-handed snag off a lob over his back shoulder from Perry. It was set up by Perry finding his other tight end, Will Mallory, open over the top for a 44-yard gain on a fake draw, a play King had mastered this season under offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee.

The score, however, was countered by Presley’s third receiving touchdown, a 16-yarder caught in front of the safety playing center field on a post route.

The Hurricanes got back within 3, at, 37-34, with 5:39 remaining, when Perry hit Harley in the flat for a touchdown, which was followed by a two-point conversion rush by former walk-on receiver Marshall Few on an end-around.

Miami started off in the 21-0 hole by allowing Oklahoma State touchdowns on the Cowboys’ first three drives.

OSU scored on its opening series with Sanders finding Presley wide open over the top, left alone with striker Keontra Smith for a 30-yard touchdown on fourth-and-6.

Oklahoma State then went 82 yards on eight plays as LD Brown ran in a touchdown from 2 yards out. Miami safety Gurvan Hall committed a pass interference earlier in the drive, and the UM defense allowed Dezmon Jackson to break free for a 29-yard run.

The Hurricanes came up empty again on their second series thanks to a missed call on what should’ve been pass interference on a fourth-and-2 pass to Jordan.

With a short field, the Cowboys scored their third touchdown of the first quarter. Sanders comfortably found Presley in a hole in the UM zone, and Presley weaved through the defense for a 32-yard touchdown on the catch and run.

Miami showed its first bit of life driving into the Oklahoma State red zone at the end of the first quarter. Two plays into the second quarter, King found Jordan on a post to the back of the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown.

Then, the Hurricanes got their first stop. Although they allowed the Cowboys to use up 5:33 and get to the UM 16-yard line gaining 59 yards on 11 plays, a Brady Pohl field-goal attempt missed wide right.

Miami drove again on its ensuing possession, but that was when King went down. Perry threw two incomplete passes before Jose Borregales converted on a 22-yard field goal.

The Hurricanes continued to claw back to start the second half. Borregales made a 40-yard field goal on UM’s first drive after halftime. A 27-yard pass from Perry to Jordan was the key play on the possession, but drops from receivers Mark Pope and Dee Wiggins halted Miami’s progress before Harris’ touchdown nearly tied it.

Miami Hurricanes running back Donald Chaney Jr. (2)  is tackled by Oklahoma State Cowboys safety Tre Sterling (3) in the second half during the 2020 Cheez-It Bowl at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla. on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020.