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Central Michigan's comeback against Miami Hurricanes falls just short

Central Michigan linebacker Andrew Ward defends the Miami Hurricanes on Sept. 21 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida (Courtesy of CMU Athletics)

It came down to the end.

Quarterback David Moore and Central Michigan gave Miami (Florida) everything it had Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium in a 17-12 loss. 

CMU dropped to 2-2 on the season while the Hurricanes improved to the same record. 

First year coach Jim McElwain said he was more than happy with the way his Chippewas stood against a Power Five program. 

"I'm really proud of those kids in that locker room," first-year CMU coach Jim McElwain said. "They made a decision and a choice this week to go out and really play hard, and I'll tell you what, we played hard, which was great to see."

DeeJay Dallas punched in a 1-yard run to score the game's first touchdown. The run came on a fourth down and goal and a second effort to find his way into the end zone. 

The Chippewa offense showed promise at points throughout the first half. 

Moore was able to sling the ball around the field and put his teammates in position to score. He was able to hit JaCorey Sullivan and Tyrone Scott over the middle at a few different points during the first half. 

CMU earned its first points on the road this season with a safety as Jacques Bristol sacked Miami quarterback Jarren Williams in the end zone. 

That play came after the Chippewas thought they had earned a safety just a few plays prior. Williams was hit hard by tackle Robi Stuart in the end zone. The ball, which was ruled live, was recovered by the Hurricanes. 

The review showed that Williams' arm was going forward and ruled a legal forward pass. 

"That was a great effort by our defense," Stuart said. "We really prepared  a lot for this week. We really looked inside ourselves and saw what we had to do."

Miscues hurt CMU in the first half and killed much of the momentum that it built up. Moore was sacked late in the first quarter and fumbled when the Chippewas were driving near the red zone. 

Then late in the second quarter, Moore was sacked on his blindside and fumbled when CMU looked poised to score a touchdown and potentially take the lead before halftime. 

Moore was sacked on the Chippewas' last drive of the first half which stalled it out. Miami brought a 7-2 lead to the half time intermission. 

Going into the game and throughout the whole contest, Stewart said that the team knew it could go out there and pull the upset. 

CMU just needed to prove it to everyone else.

"We all knew we could do it," Stuart said. "We all knew we had that in us, every single one of us did. We're not someone to take lightly." 

The Hurricanes came out and scored a touchdown -- a 6-yard pass from Williams to K.J. Osborn -- with 10:45 to play in the third quarter. 

CMU was able to cut the Miami lead to 9 points late in the penultimate quarter. Ryan Tice, who had missed earlier from 54 yards, punched through a 55-yard field goal. The kick was the longest of his career. 

Bubba Baxa returned the favor on the next drive. After the Hurricanes' drive stalled in the red zone, Baxa attempted a 27-yard field goal and missed. But true freshman Kyron McKinnie-Harper ran into the kicker. 

After the penalty, Baxa was able to convert the 22-yarder and extend the Miami lead to 17-5. 

On the ensuing drive, the Chippewas went 55 yards in 17 plays, aided by four penalties in the red zone. Moore was able to punch in the ball on a quarterback sneak from about a foot away from the goal line. 

The score brought the score down to 17-12 with 3:24 to play in regulation. 

CMU had one final drive with 39 seconds to play but Moore threw his first interception of the season with six seconds left for Miami to secure the victory. 

McElwain took the perspective that he learned a lot about his team in a game many said it didn't have a chance to win. 

"I think the biggest piece that we took from it is if you really go make your mind up you've got an opportunity to do anything you want," McElwain said. "I think at the end of the day when it's all said and done, I asked our guys to do one thing, when the game was over be able to look yourself in the mirror and say, you know what, I gave everything I had."

The Chippewas head to face rival Western Michigan to battle for the Victory Cannon at noon next Saturday in Waldo Stadium.