Kicker Cole Murphy keeps Syracuse competitive in 27-19 loss at No. 8 Miami

first_imgMIAMI — At the end of his postgame press conference, in the bowels of Hard Rock Stadium, Dino Babers called on Cole Murphy down a nearby hallway.“Cole Murphy,” Babers said. “I ain’t ever seen nothing like that before. You were outstanding today.”Babers was joking, slightly. He has coached in college football since 1984 and said he had previously seen something like the performance Murphy put on Saturday afternoon. But he underscored how Murphy, Syracuse’s senior kicker, kept the Orange competitive on the road against one of the top teams in the country. In a 27-19 loss to No. 8 Miami (6-0, 4-0 Atlantic Coast), Murphy drilled all four of his field goal attempts — including a career-long 53-yarder — to keep Syracuse (4-4, 2-2) within striking distance.More significantly, Murphy executed some of the most difficult kicks of his career on a damp, choppy grass field with nearly 60,000 fans cheering. None of that fazed him, as he tied his single-game career high with four field goals (22, 40, 45 and 53 yards, respectively) and moved to second place on the Syracuse all-time record list. With four games remaining on the schedule, he needs three more field goals to break John Biskup’s program record which has stood for 25 years.While the Hurricanes harassed Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey for six QB hurries, four sacks and four interceptions, Murphy injected life in an otherwise anemic offense.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“They gave us a little life,” said Murphy, who broke out new cleats for better traction. “We were excited.”Last week, Murphy hit both of his field goals in Syracuse’s upset over No. 2 Clemson. Babers said Syracuse would not have won the game without Murphy, who hit a 30-yarder to put SU ahead by three in the fourth quarter and seal one of the biggest victories in program history.Because of the field conditions, Miami head coach Mark Richt said he tried to convert on a fourth-and-three and not kick a field goal in the fourth quarter. Michael Badgley slipped “at least twice” on kickoffs, Richt said. Yet Syracuse, down four with 5:23 left in the game, gave Murphy a shot to kick a 53-yarder anyway. He obliged, kicking it through with some depth to spare. Murphy perked up as teammates tapped his helmet.In the third quarter, Murphy hit a 40-yarder to cut Miami’s lead to seven. As Murphy landed his left foot to swing his right foot toward the ball, he slipped and fell flat on his rear after he connected with the ball.“After I made contact with it, I felt I was slipping, I looked up and I saw the ball falling in line,” said Murphy, who jumped up and threw a fist bump after the kick. “I was like, ‘OK, good. I look like an idiot, but I made it.’”Murphy said earlier this week that he hasn’t gotten into his own head, which he said contributed to his slide in 2016. He struggled on the road, going 1-for-6 on field goals away from the Carrier Dome, compared to a 9-of-12 mark in the Dome.As the ACC’s leader in made field goals, Murphy said he’s much more confident. Rather than listening to Metallica before games, he listens to “relaxed music,” such as The Weeknd. He credits an overall improvement across special teams, especially with the snap and hold. He took a sports psychology class to practice relaxation methods. All of it is paying off as he hopes for the first winning season of his career at Syracuse.“Last year I was always second-guessing myself and it was very anxious,” Murphy said, “whereas now I’m more in control. That’s the word I like to use. I write it on my notebook like 20 times before getting on the plane.” Comments Published on October 21, 2017 at 11:26 pm Contact Matthew: | @MatthewGut21 Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more