October 02, 2010
Miami 27, Clemson 21. The more we see of him, the more clear it is that Jacory Harris is being secretly controlled by a 14-year-old who's somehow plugged into the ultimate video game. Again today, roughly half his throws – more in the first half – were downfield heaves in search of the home run, and it shows in the box score: Harris completed just shy of 40 percent (13 of 33) with a pair of ugly interceptions, one a hopeless lob that amounted to a punt, the other a killer dart into coverage in the Tiger end zone, his third straight game with multiple picks. He plays like he dresses: It's all or nothing, and sometimes worse.
But how do you pull in the reins on a kid who so frequently connects on the "all" half of that equation? Harris balanced the picks and then some with four touchdown passes, three of them covering 22, 65 and 18 yards (on the first play following a Clemson turnover in the second quarter) behind the Tiger secondary. By contarst, his Clemson counterpart, Kyle Parker, matched Harris gaffe for gaffe with three interceptions and a fumble of his own, with none of the big-play penance.
When the NCAA updates the official stats Sunday morning, Harris will have almost as many interceptions (8) in his last three games as anyone else will have in five. He'll also have ten touchdowns and back-to-back road wins to show anyone who suggests he stop slinging it. When he's on, the 'Canes are one of the most explosive, entertaining teams in the country, not to mention an obvious contender in the ACC.
If that's not more often, it's going to cost them, as it did when Harris served up four interceptions at Ohio State three weeks ago. To the extent that the mistakes are a product of the pedal-to-the-metal mentality n the passing game, though, they may not be able to generate enough big plays for an ACC title run without breaking a few eggs.