MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- No. 6 Clemson absolutely dominated from start to finish in an overwhelming 58-0 win against Miami on Saturday, making an emphatic case for the College Football Playoff selection committee. But that storyline was overshadowed by the absolute meltdown on the Miami sideline, with questions about Miami coach Al Golden’s future only intensifying after the Canes suffered their worst loss in school history.
What the win means for Clemson: Anybody still wondering whether the Tigers are legitimate got their answer after just one quarter against the Hurricanes, Clemson rolling to a 21-0 lead after only 13 minutes. It was 42-0 at halftime. Consider: Wofford and Appalachian State both put up bigger fights through the first half than Miami. The Tigers had their way in virtually every facet -- dominating on both the offensive and defensive lines, and also scoring off a pick-six and locking Miami down after quarterback Brad Kaaya suffered an injury. Shaq Lawson was a particular menace, delivering the blow that sent Kaaya to the sideline. The starters were pulled midway through the third quarter, a development that most inside the Clemson locker room would have probably never predicted leading up to the game. A game at NC State on Halloween is all that stands between Clemson and its showdown against Florida State in Death Valley on Nov. 7.
What the loss means for Miami: You thought there was heat on Golden leading into the game? That has turned into a dumpster fire after an embarrassing performance at home in a game that should have been competitive. "Fire Golden" chants started early, and alums from Warren Sapp to Joaquin Gonzalez to Leon Searcy voiced their displeasure throughout the game on social media. This is the same Miami team that came within five points of upsetting Florida State in Tallahassee, mind you. There was no fight in this team, no will to win, no passion and no energy. Then when Kaaya went out in the second quarter, the Canes had nothing left to give. So now the question that everybody wants answered: How can Miami move forward with Golden after this team just hit rock bottom under his watch? It is completely unacceptable for a program with a proud history, in one of the most fertile recruiting areas in the country, to lose this way. Against a team fielding top-notch recruits from the state of Florida no less.
Unsung hero: Wayne Gallman. He posted his fourth 100-yard game this season, finishing with 118 yards on 22 carries and a touchdown, highlighting the absolute domination the Tigers had on the ground against the Hurricanes. Clemson scored six rushing touchdowns -- all by different players -- and averaged 7 yards per carry.
The game turned when: Clemson scored off a red-zone interception from Kaaya early in the first quarter to lead 14-0. Kaaya had made some good throws early on, but that interception was a poor one. Miami then gave up its first points off a turnover this season, and the Canes were never back in the game.