After Jacory Harris threw his second interception of the opening minutes, Miami’s sophomore quarterback went to the sideline with a most unusual reaction.
Rattled? Not in the slightest.
Harris settled down, the Miami (3-1) defense got rolling – and the result was the Hurricanes’ biggest win in years. Javarris James ran for a career-best 150 yards, Harris threw for three scores and No. 17 Miami knocked off No. 8 Oklahoma (2-2) 21-20 on Saturday night.
“Big, huge win for us,” Miami coach Randy Shannon said. “It’s huge.”
With Oklahoma’s reigning Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Sam Bradford watching from the sideline, still out with a right shoulder injury, Miami scored 21 straight points to take control.
And then they held on, running out the final 4 minutes because James churned up 38 yards against an Oklahoma defense that came into the game as the nation’s best against the run.
“It’s our time,” said linebacker Jordan Futch. “We are back. We are still The U.”
The day surely didn’t start the way Miami wanted.
Harris threw interceptions on Miami’s first two drives, the first so easy for Oklahoma’s Dominique Franks to grab that it wasn’t even clear who was the intended receiver. Oklahoma turned that one into a 16-yard touchdown pass from Jones to Cameron Kenney, and stretched the lead to 10-0 in the second quarter on Jimmy Stevens’ 21-yard field goal.
You name it, the Hurricanes did it wrong in the first half. They downed a punt inside the Oklahoma 1, only to let Brown get loose for a 48-yard run on the next snap. Missed tackles were plenty, and Harris wasn’t clicking.
So the ground game gave Miami a spark.
James ripped off a 50-yard run midway through the second quarter. Two plays later, thanks to lineman Matt Pipho recovering Harris’ fumble, Jimmy Graham – he of the two crucial drops last week against Virginia Tech – caught an 18-yard TD pass to help Miami claw within 10-7 at the half.
Barely a half-minute into the third quarter, the Hurricanes took the lead for good.
Joe Joseph recovered a fumble on the Sooners’ first drive, and Harris connected with Dedrick Epps for an 11-yard score.