HYDE

South Florida Sun-Sentinel Palm Beach (Sunday) - - SPORTS -

the sta­dium’s Jum­botron early in the fourth quar­ter to de­liver some video­taped mes­sage, boos filled the night.

They were louder boos than in a failed se­cond se­ries to the game. Louder than the boos when Duke scored to take the lead in the third quar­ter. Boos fell like rain, which came like a mon­soon much of the first half, mak­ing pud­dles turn into ponds on the play­ing field.

Some­where, Al Golden was gig­gling.

That’s where we’re at with this pro­gram in Year Three with Richt. We’re thumb­ing through

the ugly losses with Golden and won­der­ing how we’re back in the same ques­tions.

So many odd things hap­pened in this game. Duke’s first play, a sim­ple run, went 75 yards for a touch­down. Mi­ami ex­changed quar­ter­backs early like re­cy­clables. Duke threw two jump passes over the line on one drive – the se­cond for a touch­down. And, yes, that rain out of some hor­ror movie.

Still, the big­gest odd­ity was the fi­nal score. This was a must­win game for Mi­ami. Duke, you might think, should be an al­ways-win game for Mi­ami. But this wasn’t a night about his­tory les­sons. It was about sur­vival.

Mi­ami’s sea­son is ka­put now. Richt’s hon­ey­moon, if it hadn’t

al­ready ended, is of­fi­cially over. Some will want his era done after con­sec­u­tive losses to un­ranked Vir­ginia, Bos­ton Col­lege and now Duke.

Noth­ing would have been solved in the big pic­ture with a win against Duke. But it would have helped the small pic­ture. In­stead, a lot of ugly was on dis­play this night. Three ugly turnovers talked of at­ten­tion to de­tails. A botched ex­tra point and blocked field goal told of the con­tin­ued kick­ing-game woes.

Even when Mi­ami was win­ning at half, 12-7, it’s not like its of­fense had solved its most press­ing prob­lem. It ran for 235 yards and passed for 33 at that point. The school of Jim Kelly, Bernie Kosar and Steve Walsh

doesn’t have a quar­ter­back.It plays two, though. That’s not a con­tro­versy. That’s a void. And if Perry drove them down the field in the fi­nal sec­onds to within sight of a touch­down, and a pos­si­ble tie, this of­fense doesn’t get points for ef­fort.

Ear­lier this week, I wrote a col­umn say­ing fans had ev­ery right to want more from Richt this sea­son but not to be in a frenzy over his job. This night doesn’t change that idea. It just makes the cracks in his build­ing pro­gram more ob­vi­ous to see.

Lose on the road to Vir­ginia and Bos­ton Col­lege is bad.

Lose at home to Duke?

That’s a place Mi­ami foot­ball should never be.

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