MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Hurricanes are now bowl-eligible.
Now, comes the wait – not for the bowl, but for the decision that will determine whether the Canes actually go to one.
CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald reports that if Miami, a 40-9 winner over USF on Saturday, opts to self-impose a bowl ban for the second consecutive year in hopes of allaying future NCAA sanctions, an announcement could come as early as Sunday.
Saturday, however, was all about slamming the hammer on USF and sending out the Miami seniors with smiles in their final game at Sun Life Stadium.
The Canes (6-5, 4-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) have qualified for a bowl the past five seasons and eight out of the nine years they’ve been in the league. Now they need to defeat Duke next Saturday in the season finale to win their first ACC Coastal Division title.
After losing four of its last five games coming into Saturday, UM delivered its biggest blowout since beating Duke last November 49-14.
The Canes scored three points in the first quarter, 13 in the second, 14 in the third and 10 in the fourth.
And despite being down four scholarship receivers – three due to injury and one due to suspension – Miami had three receivers that surpassed 100 yards.
UM quarterback Stephen Morris became only the second Canes quarterback in UM history to have three 400-yard passing games. The other: Heisman Trophy winner Gino Torretta.
Morris, who was replaced by backup Ryan Williams with 10:02 left, completed 21 of 32 passes for 413 yards and three touchdowns. His three prolific receivers: tight end Clive Walford (three catches for 135 yards and a touchdown) and wideouts Phillip Dorsett (11 for 104) and Herb Waters (four for 130 and a touchdown).
Kendal Thompkins and Duke Johnson also scored touchdowns, with senior Jake Wieclaw kicking four field goals.
The Hurricanes won the toss, stopped the Bulls and took over at their own 30-yard line. With the help of a 34-yard completion to Walford on UM’s opening offensive play, the Canes marched 48 yards on eight plays, enabling senior Wieclaw to kick a 39-yard field goal.
UM led 3-0 with 11:11 left in the first quarter.
Miami scored again 38 seconds into the second quarter on a 22-yard field goal by Wieclaw, making it 6-0 Hurricanes. The drive was highlighted by a Statue of Liberty trick play on first-and-goal from the USF 20. Morris cocked his arm back as if to pass, then lowered it and handed the ball off behind his back to Johnson. Johnson ran for 13 yards.
Wieclaw was at it again at 9:43 of the second quarter, this time with a 37-yard field goal. The Canes kicked off with a 9-0 lead, then got the ball back on USF’s first play from scrimmage – a Jimmy Gaines interception of USF’s Matt Floyd.
The next play, Morris lofted a pass to the right side of the end zone, and senior Thompkins caught it for his second career score, and first touchdown this season.
Hurricanes 16, Bulls 0.
As time expired in the first half, USF kicker Meikon Bonani culminated a nine-play, 74-yard drive with a 23-yard field goal to make it 16-3.
The Bulls made it 40-9 with two field goals in the final quarter.
(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.)