Originally posted on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 11/12/11

This was not how Jacory Harris’ senior year was supposed to go. The quarterback that came into the year looking to prove he had put it all together and was ready to lead Miami back to prime time; the quarterback who wanted the Hurricanes to re-invent swagger.

That has not happened.

The trip to Tallahassee for the always heated rivalry with Florida State was another chance for Harris and his Hurricanes to get over the hump.

The road to the top of that mountain seems farther than ever for the program. The reclamation project still has a ways to go.

Florida State has its consistency issues too, but E.J. Manuel managed the game extremely well to help FSU overcome a deficit in total yards and FSU scored a 23-19 victory to send itself in the opposite direction of its rival.

Manuel was exceptional with 196 yards on 17-for-23 passing. He responded when his team was down early with a touchdown drive in the middle of the second quarter that gave the Seminoles the lead for good. His 21-yard pass to Rodney Smith capped off Florida State’s longest and most sustained drive of the game.

 

Greg Reid’s 83-yard punt return with a minute to play before the half was an exclamation point for FSU’s offensive output. The Seminoles only gained 263 yards on the day.

 

This game was squarely on Harris’ shoulders. And much like his entire career to this point, there were moments of brilliance capped off with puzzling moments. Harris’ stat line was a solid 20 for 31 for 225 yards. But he had only a single touchdown, a two-yard pass in the second quarter, and one interception, a pick Harris threw in the back of the end zone.

That is the inconsistency of Jacory Harris.

His Miami team also displayed some of those inconsistencies. There was the muffed punt in the first quarter which Florida State recovered to set up its opening score. There was even a fumble returned for a touchdown on the first play of the game that was called back on video review.

Still, the Hurricanes had a chance to compete and win. The Hurricanes gained 383 total yards, including 140 on the ground – 92 yards from sophomore Lamar Miller against one of the top rush defenses in the country.

Miami began mounting its run with Harris making plays through the air and with his legs. He caught some breaks as Florida State lost focus and roughed him up a little with some late hits. Harris bounced back, as he always seems to, and made the Seminoles pay.

The Hurricanes scored a touchdown with 6:27 left to pull within 10 points (their two-point conversion failed). Then, Miami got within four with 1:27 left to get within four. But, of course, success was tinged with failure as a botched snap on the point after prevented the Hurricanes from making it a three-point game.

It may not have mattered anyway. Florida State recovered the onside kick.

Even with Clemson clinching the division and giving Florida State no chance at reaching the ACC Championship game, the Seminoles recorded their first five-game conference win streak since 2003 and at 7-3 seem on their way back to the top – especially with much of their team returning. The ability to win a tight game when the overall offense is struggling is a sign that Florida State may meet those preseason expectations in the near future.

For Miami, it is still a long road ahead. In a rivalry game that still has recruiting meaning and pride meaning, the Hurricanes showed the swagger is not back. Jacory Harris once again embodied the potential – and the disappointment – left with the Hurricanes.

At 5-5, Miami has to continue bouncing back and picking up the pieces to get back.

Follow Philip on Twitter @PhilRSquared.

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