DURHAM, N.C. (CBSMiami) – It took six years to happen, but the Miami Hurricanes are ending their season on a high note.
The Hurricanes defeated Duke 52-45 Saturday, clinching a share of their first Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division title and closing out a roller-coaster season with even more late dramatics.
CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald reports UM had a 21-point lead entering the fourth quarter, reduced it to seven points with 7:56 left, then increased it to 14 with a 65-yard touchdown pass from Stephen Morris to freshman Herb Waters.
But after backup quarterback Brandon Connette’s one-yard run with 2:32 left, Duke reduced the deficit to 52-45.
The Canes’ season ends at 7-5 overall and 5-3 in the ACC, while Duke dropped its fourth consecutive game to end the regular season 6-6 and 3-5.
Miami would have clinched a berth in the ACC Championship on Dec. 1 in Charlotte had it not self-imposed a postseason ban on Monday in hopes of softening expected NCAA sanctions in the case involving former booster Nevin Shapiro.
Instead, Georgia Tech will replace Miami and face Florida State in the ACC title game.
The last time Miami won a season finale was against Nevada in the MPC Computers Bowl on New Year’s Eve, 2006, Larry Coker’s final game as head coach.
Saturday’s star: Miami running back Duke Johnson, who set the Hurricanes freshman rushing record. Johnson eclipsed Clinton Portis’ record of 838 yards, set in 1999.
Johnson had 173 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 17 carries, including a 65-yarder in the third quarter. He also had 270 all-purpose yards.
Sophomore tight end Clive Walford had four catches for 99 yards with about 10 minutes left in the game. One more yard would have made him the first Miami tight end since 2003 with two consecutive games of at least 100 receiving yards. The last one was Kellen Winslow II.
Running back Mike James, one of two starting seniors on offense or defense, had a memorable final game, scoring two touchdowns – the latter a 72-yard pass play in which he outsprinted the defense at least 65 yards.
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