PITTSBURGH -- The Miami locker room was quiet after its 24-14 loss to Pitt on Friday, lacking any celebration, something the Hurricanes have been able to do for 15 straight games. This time, the turnover chain was put away, and the swag was replaced by anger and frustration from a team that was set to be undefeated heading into its first attempt at winning an ACC championship.
"Everything was out in front of us and everything was in our own control, and we gave that up," senior receiver Braxton Berrios said. "That, among other things, is terrible. It's a terrible way to end the regular season."
The regular season is over for the Hurricanes, but the chance at a conference championship and potentially a berth into the College Football Playoff is not lost. Despite losing on Friday, Miami could still find its way into the playoffs with a win over Clemson in the conference title game Dec. 2.
That scenario is out of their hands, though, and coach Mark Richt says he won't focus too much on where his team might fall once the season is over. Instead, Richt said he wants his team to focus on what's ahead and is hoping his players can bounce back and forget what happened in Pittsburgh.
"I think there's an awful lot to play for yet," Richt said. "We have no idea what's going to happen, even in the big picture. How many teams have lost on a Friday and come back and got back in the top four? How many teams have lost one game and won a conference championship and got right back in it?
"Who knows? We don't know, and we have to keep our hopes up in those regards. But the bottom line is, Miami's never won an ACC championship. Miami's never played in the game, and we're about to do that."
They'll do it at an inopportune time in regards to their performance throughout the season. Coming off of a slow start against Virginia and now losing to Pitt in a game where Richt pulled starting quarterback Malik Rosier, who struggled throughout the game.
Rosier had led the team to its 10-0 start, but had amassed only seven points through the third quarter Friday and was eventually pulled in the fourth. Richt told Rosier that he needed to lead the team and start performing at a higher level or he would make a move. He ultimately replaced Rosier with sophomore Evan Shirreffs.
"It was one of those moments to where, I felt like as a starter, especially as long as I've been starting I haven't lost yet. I guess I got complacent," Rosier said. "I was just out there to be out there, and I was kind of like going through my reads instead of dialing in and focusing every snap. After that, it really put this football game into perspective, that any moment I could get pulled."
Rosier said Friday's loss hurt, but it's now on him and his teammates to make sure there is no more complacency and that the slow starts are turned into early punches against Clemson.
As Richt said, there is still much to play for and a lot ahead for this Hurricanes team.
"I know the guys are hurt. I know I'm hurt -- our coaching staff, everybody associated with our program, I'm sure, is hurt by it," Richt said. "But that's football, that's life. The good news is, we're about to play for the ACC championship here in seven or eight days. We gotta get rested up, get a good plan and get ready to play that one."