Turnovers Doom Clemson in ACC Opener
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Jacory Harris tied a career best with four touchdown passes — three to Leonard Hankerson — and No. 16 Miami opened Atlantic Coast Conference play with a 30-21 victory over Clemson on Saturday.
Harris had all four of his scoring throws in the opening half as the Hurricanes (3-1, 1-0 ACC) took a 27-14 lead. Then they called on the ACC’s top-rated defense to hang on.
Ahead 27-21, cornerback Brandon Harris stopped Andre Ellington on 4th-and-1 from Miami’s 20 with 8:20 to go, ending the Tigers comeback.
The Hurricanes followed with a mistake-free, 68-yard drive that finished with Matt Bosher’s clinching 29-yard field goal.
Clemson (2-2, 0-1) came into the game with the ACC’s fewest turnovers — just two its first three games. But Miami forced the Tigers into three fumbles and three interceptions.
Jacory Harris finished 13 of 33 for 205 yards and two interceptions. His touchdown throws matched his personal high set against Duke in 2008.
Hankerson had seven catches for a career high 147 yards.
The past three games these teams played all went to overtime, highly entertaining back-and-forth affairs people didn’t want to leave.
Harris and the Hurricanes, though, looked like they had put this one away by halftime after Hankerson’s 7-yard TD catch with 10 seconds left before the break put Miami ahead 27-14.
But then Harris showed why he can both amaze and frustrate fans of “The U.”
He was called for intentional grounding near his goal line, forcing Miami to punt from the end zone. Clemson took advantage of the good field position that followed with the last of Ellington’s three touchdowns to cut the lead to 27-21.
Harris then escaped a game-changing mistake when Hurricanes lineman Seantrel Henderson, a 6-foot-8, 355-pound freshman making his first start, covered up the quarterback’s fumble.
Clemson’s last serious threat ended on its drive to the Miami 20. That’s when Brandon Harris made his big stop, flipping Ellington out of bounds short of the first down.
Quarterback Kyle Parker ended the Tigers final two drives with a fumble and an interception.
Jacory Harris showed off his skills in the first half.
When Clemson moved in front 14-7 on Ellington’s second TD run, Harris answered back three plays later with a textbook throw to Hankerson for a 65-yard score to tie the game.
In the second quarter, Harris followed a badly overthrow interception a series later with a perfect lob to Mike James for an 18-yard touchdown.
Harris made a second awful error when, on third-and-goal, Marcus Gilchrist intercepted his throw into the end zone. But Harris made up for it right before halftime with two nifty passes to Hankerson, the second for his 7-yard TD.
Clemson looked like it had figured a way through Miami’s defense as Ellington dashed off two TD runs, the first a 71-yarder in the first quarter that was the Tigers longest in three seasons.
Ellington rushed for 107 yards. Parker was just 14 of 33 for 149 yards. He was sacked three times.