Coral Gables, Fla. — Miami has fired coach Al Golden, midway through his fifth season and one day after the Hurricanes endured the worst loss in the program’s 90-year history.
Golden went 32-25 with the Hurricanes and 17-18 in Atlantic Coast Conference play, his entire stint marred by an NCAA investigation and subsequent fallout caused by things that happened before he arrived in Coral Gables. His last game with Miami was a 58-0 loss to then-No. 6 Clemson, a result that had fans booing from the stands and calling for his departure — as many had for some time.
Larry Scott will take over as Miami’s interim head coach.
“Coach Golden has led our program through some very difficult times and he has done so with class, integrity and a true desire to see our students succeed on the field, in the classroom and in the community,” Miami athletic director Blake James said. “However, we have a proud tradition of excellence at Miami, not just in football but in all sports, and we want to compete for ACC and national championships.”
“I simply believe that now is the time to bring the Hurricane Family together and rally behind our young men.”
Miami is still dealing with the after effects of that scandal. This year’s team had 80 scholarship players, five fewer than the maximum allowed — and that was to be the last step, Golden hoped, in finally escaping all the sanctions that Miami was handed by the NCAA in response to the extra benefits provided by convicted and currently imprisoned Ponzi scheme architect Nevin Shapiro as well as other rule-breaking inside the department.
In less than two weeks, Southern California went from the depths of a coach’s firing to the heights of a wild celebration after beating the No. 3 team in the nation.
Cameron Smith returned the second of his three interceptions 54 yards for a touchdown, and USC knocked third-ranked Utah from the unbeaten ranks with a 42-24 victory Saturday night.
Ronald Jones II, Justin Davis and fullback Soma Vainuku rushed for scores to help the Trojans earn a victory for interim coach Clay Helton in his debut game at the Coliseum.
“These guys want to prove to everybody what type of team they are,” Helton said. “When we play together and play like we did tonight, they’re a very hard football team to beat. There’s a lot of talent in that room.”
Cody Kessler passed for 264 yards and a touchdown and rushed for another score, while JuJu Smith-Schuster had eight catches for 143 yards and a fourth-quarter TD that wrapped up the win. The sounds of the Trojans’ celebration could be heard through the walls of the Coliseum, where USC had lost its previous two home games.
The Trojans were outstanding in their first appearance at the venerable arena since an embarrassing loss to Washington and the subsequent firing of coach Steve Sarkisian. After Helton took over for last week’s narrow loss at Notre Dame, he became the eighth straight USC coach to win his first home game when his Trojans dominated the Pac-12 South leaders.
Baylor quarterback Seth Russell is set to see a specialist for a fractured bone in his neck this week. The extent of Russell’s injury and a timetable for his return is unknown.
Freshman Jarrett Stidham will take over for Russell.
... Following one of the worst starts in program history, George O’Leary is retiring as UCF’s football coach, effective immediately, the school announced Sunday.
It comes a day after the Knights dropped to 0-8 with a 59-10 loss to Houston. Danny Barrett has been named interim coach.