Editor's note: This is the second of two parts recapping Miami's season as the Hurricanes and Notre Dame prepare for Friday's Sun Bowl.
Miami (7-5) had a rough road to start the season with four road games in the first six weeks, including trips to No. 2 Ohio State and No. 23 Florida State -- both losses. Still, the Hurricanes managed to put together a 4-2 record.
Randy Shannon's squad never could hold onto momentum, failing to win more than two games in a row all year. Miami's only two-game losing streak came in the final two weeks, which led to Shannon's dismissal.
Here's a look at the Hurricanes' rocky finish to the regular season:
Oct. 24, North Carolina
Miami entered the contest ranked 25th in the Associated Press poll and quarterback Jacory Harris threw three touchdown passes to move into second place on the program's career list. Tailback Damien Berry posted his fourth consecutive effort over 100 yards to help the 'Canes cruise to a 33-10 victory over the Tar Heels, which kept them in the Atlantic Coast Conference title hunt.
Oct. 30, at Virginia
Moving up to a No. 22 ranking, the Hurricanes' season started to unravel in Charlottesville after Harris went down with an injury and the Cavaliers intercepted Harris once and Miami's backup QBs four times to tie a school record. Virginia's Keith Payne rushed for a pair of TDs to finish off Miami and its ACC championship hopes.
"When you chop the head off a giant, the rest of the body goes with it," Virginia defensive tackle John-Kevin Dolce said about his blast to Harris' chest that lifted the athletic QB off his feet and took him out of the game with a concussion. It was Virginia's first league victory in its last 10 tries.
Nov. 6, Maryland
A sloppy game that featured three Miami turnovers and two missed extra points came down to that final 82-yard drive that began at the 3:06 mark. A defensive touchdown was negated by a penalty and Maryland capitalized with a Travis Baltz field goal from 23 yards prior to the Hurricanes' last drive.
Nov. 13, at Georgia Tech
Even distribution on the ground led to a 35-10 win on the road in Atlanta. Taking pressure off Morris, the Hurricanes had four rushers find the end zone as Hankerson did the heavy lifting receiving. Morris still finished with 230 passing yards. Lamar Miller, Berry, Mike James and Graig Cooper all ran for scores to help pile up a season-high 504 total yards of offense.
Nov. 20, No. 14 Virginia Tech
The Hokies, ranked 14th, got a huge lift from Ryan Williams' 142 rushing yards and two TDs, which included a career-long 84-yarder in the fourth quarter, for a 31-17 victory over Miami to seal up an ACC Coastal Division crown. It was Virginia Tech's ninth straight victory -- its longest winning since 1999 -- after back-to-back losses to start the season.
Miller rushed for a career-best 163 yards for the Hurricanes, which dropped to 7-4 overall and 5-3 in the ACC after turning the ball over six times.
Nov. 27, South Florida
Shannon's time in Miami ran out after a 23-20 overtime loss to the Bulls. The defeat sent the Hurricanes to their worst home record since 1997. South Florida's Bobby Eveld rushed for a 1-yard TD with two minutes left in the fourth quarter to tie the game, then caught a 9-yard pass in the extra period to move the Bulls to the 1-yard line. Demetris Murray finished the drive by leaping over the pile on the next play to end it.
In his return from injury, Harris threw a pick with five seconds left well within kicker's Matt Bosher's range. Bosher connected on a 38-yarder in OT but the cushion wouldn't be enough.