MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Miami held on to beat Nebraska, 36-33, in overtime after the Huskers' late 23-point fourth-quarter rally, nearly blowing a game in which it held a 33-10 lead with 8:36 to play. Here is how it all went down:
How the game was won: Miami defensive back Corn Elder came up with a huge interception on the first play of overtime, a crucial play considering Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. erased the fourth-quarter deficit with three touchdown passes, as he carved up the Miami defense with relative ease and quickness. Given how poorly the Miami defense played in the fourth quarter, it was a curious decision to put the defense on the field first. But it paid off, thanks to Elder. Michael Badgley kicked a 28-yard field goal to win a game the Canes had well in hand for three quarters.
Stat of the game: 13-114. The teams actually combined for a whopping 25 penalties, but Miami won out with the slightly higher number. Several were for sideline warnings, and coach Al Golden spent much of the fourth quarter in a highly agitated state.
What the win means for Miami: Golden keeps his job. OK that was a joke. All kidding aside, a cranky fan base would have been up in arms over a loss in this game, especially after the way Miami played for three quarters. But the fourth quarter was an absolute implosion that was simply unacceptable. An offense that did whatever it wanted for the majority of the game suddenly sputtered like it was playing the Steel Curtain. Penalties played a big role, too, including two targeting calls against Deon Bush and Jamal Carter that will cost them the first half of their next game against Cincinnati on Oct. 1. Brad Kaaya threw for over 300 yards and Rashawn Scott had over 100 receiving yards, but that feels like little consolation considering the ground game with Joseph Yearby could not ground out a couple first downs to ice the game in the end.
What the loss means for Nebraska: The Huskers tried to claw their way back into the game late, a remarkable comeback and performance from Armstrong, whose heroics were simply not to overcome the gap they faced. They have to be completely deflated after this loss, especially since they lost the opener to BYU in heartbreaking fashion, too. It took three quarters for Armstrong to get going -- he looks like the only big-time player on an offense that doesn't seem to have a true identity. The Huskers also had problems defending the speedy Miami receivers, and left the middle of the field open for large stretches of the game. Nebraska was widely regarded as one of the better Big Ten teams going into this game. We will see how the Huskers rebound after two tough losses.