Hurricanes can’t secure win on Senior Day, lose first Howard Schnellenberger Trophy

CORAL GABLES — The Hurricanes’ home crowd said farewell to a group of players who are out of eligibility or may have played their last home game with Miami on Saturday.

UM honored those players with a Senior Day ceremony before their heartbreaking 38-31 loss to Louisville.

The players participating in Senior Day were: Souleymane Bangoura, K.J. Cloyd, Corey Flagg Jr., Javion Cohen, Jaden Davis, Branson Deen, Luis Gutierrez Jr., Tyler Harrell, Will Hutchinson, Keontra Smith, Matt Lee, Jake Lichtenstein, Josh Neely, Chris Pastora, Lucas Peterson, Fred Potter, Ryan Ragone, Rocky Shelton, Jefferson Walls, Chris Washington and Chantz Williams.

“It means a lot, man. Just got to try to get this W for them,” sophomore linebacker Wesley Bissainthe said earlier in the week. “It might be their last game at Hard Rock. So just got to give it your all and try to get the W for those guys. It means a lot that we can, the young guys, contribute to a win for the older guys. Just wish them the best of luck.”

Louisville wins first Howard Schnellenberger Trophy

The Cardinals did not just win on Saturday. They earned the first awarding of the Howard Schnellenberger Trophy, a new honor given to the winner of the Miami-Louisville game. The trophy honors former Hurricanes and Cardinals coach Howard Schnellenberger.

The trophy was created for the matchup, which was going to be an annual rivalry series in the ACC’s scheduling model. However, when Cal, SMU and Stanford joined the conference, the ACC needed to make additional changes, and UM-Louisville will no longer be an annual series. The Hurricanes will play the Cardinals on the road in 2024, at home in 2025 and again in Miami Gardens again in 2027.

Keontra Smith, Leonard Taylor miss loss

Starting defensie tackle Leonard Taylor III and veteran Miami linebacker Keontra Smith missed Saturday’s game due to injuries, Mario Cristobal said.

Taylor, a junior, has 19 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and one sack this season.

“Leonard Taylor tried to play, but he wasn’t able to,” Cristobal said. “He sustained something last week and wasn’t able to play.”

Smith, a fifth-year senior, has played in nine games with eight tackles and a tackle for loss in a reserve linebacker role.

Miami struggles vs. Louisville tight ends

When the Cardinals needed to gain a few yards in crucial situations, they frequently turned to their tight ends.

Louisville tight ends combined for 113 receiving yards on 10 catches. They scored a pair of touchdowns for the Cardinals. Starter Nate Kurisky had five catches for 50 yards and a score, Joey Gatewood had three catches for 51 yards, Josh Lifson had one catch for 11 yards, and defensive lineman Trevonte Sylvester, who lined up as a tight end, caught a 1-yard pass for a touchdown.

“This team is going to press us on the outside quite a bit and take away our outside receivers and make us throw it over their heads, so when that’s happening, you have to work in the middle of the field a little bit and those guys have got to get open and be physical,” Louisville coach Jeff Brohm said. “I think Coach (Ryan) Wallace and our tight end room has worked hard. We wanted to utilize them more. To be a successful team, you have to be able to own the middle of the field more than we have and they have to be a great compliment for us.”