ATLANTA - The game was bad enough for the Miami Hurricanes. What happened immediately after was even worse.
No. 9 Miami suffered its worst loss in more than seven years on Friday night, a 40-3 defeat to 10th-ranked LSU in the Peach Bowl — a game marred by a skirmish near one of the field exit tunnels shortly after the game.
Miami coach Larry Coker said he was told the incident started when an LSU player tried to grab a game ball from a ballboy on the Hurricanes’ sideline. That sparked a melee with more than a dozen players involved in some capacity, and which apparently led to two Miami players being knocked unconscious.
“As a university, as a football program, we don’t condone any type of activities such as that,” Coker said. “Certainly, I think, that detracts from a great bowl game and what the spirit of college football is all about.”
Coker said the two unconscious players were Andrew Bain and Khalil Jones. Neither was hospitalized, said Coker, who was told that those players were injured by someone swinging a helmet during the scuffle.
Miami players were not made available for comment after the game.
“That was a bunch of craziness,” LSU offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth said.
It was a trying end to a season that started with promise for the Hurricanes, who lost two regular-season games — both on missed opportunities.
On Friday night, the problems went far deeper.
Miami was simply dominated by LSU, giving up more than 300 yards by halftime and doing nothing right offensively, either. It was the most one-sided beating absorbed by a Miami team since Nov. 28, 1998, a 66-13 loss to Syracuse.
The night started with such promise. Miami marched down the field on its first possession, taking a 3-0 lead on Jon Peattie’s chip-shot field goal early in the first quarter.
When Miami quarterback Kyle Wright came up short on a fourth-and-inches early in the second quarter, LSU got the ball — and seized momentum. Playing before a decidedly pro-Tigers crowd, LSU opened a 20-3 lead by halftime, then scored the first 20 points of the second half while heads drooped on the Miami sideline.
The loss assures that the Hurricanes won’t finish ranked among the nation’s top 10 teams and probably not as the highest-rated club in the Atlantic Coast Conference — two of the team’s biggest goals entering the Peach Bowl, which they won with ease over Florida a year ago.
In Miami’s first loss, against Florida State, the Hurricanes missed a chance for an easy field goal at the end and lost 10-7. Against Georgia Tech, a crucial fourth-and-short wasn’t converted, helping seal a 14-10 defeat.
But there was nothing close about this one.
Wright completed only 10 of 21 passes for 100 yards, victimized by drops and never-ending pressure from LSU’s swarming defensive front. The Hurricanes couldn’t stop LSU running back Joseph Addai, who rushed for 130 yards and a touchdown.
And by night’s end, Miami was outgained 468-153 — a truly stunning stat, considering the Hurricanes came into the game ranked among the nation’s stingiest defenses.
“They played,” Coker said. “And we didn’t.”
The Fighting Irish have a promising future based on coaching, current talent, recruiting, title path, and program power.
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