DURHAM, N.C. — Corn Elder took Miami's eighth lateral of a wild final kickoff return and brought it back 75 yards for a touchdown to give Miami an unbelievable 30-27 victory over No. 22 Duke on Saturday night.
Thomas Sirk seemingly had given the Blue Devils the win by scoring on a sneak with 6 seconds left.
But in a final sequence reminiscent of California's unforgettable run through the Stanford band, Elder caught the last of eight laterals, and zigged and zagged through the Duke coverage team for the score.
One problem: A penalty flag thrown on teammate Mark Walton for an illegal block in the back on Breon Borders at the Duke 25.
But after a lengthy review, the officials determined the block was to Borders' side — not his back — and the touchdown stood.
"You know...we just wanted to keep the ball alive," a bewildered Elder said. "You never practice these moments. We talked about it, but we never really practiced it. We had a bunch of playmakers, and we made a play."
The "did-you-see-that" finale capped a tumultuous week for the Hurricanes. Coach Al Golden was fired after the program suffered its worst loss in school history — a 58-0 embarrassment against Clemson — a week ago.
Forgetting that might be easier than Miami thought. All anyone will remember about this one is the madcap finish — which lasted for 49 seconds but wasn't decided until a 9-minute review.
Dallas Crawford fielded Ross Martin's squib kick at the Miami 25-yard line and flung the ball to Elder, who ran back left before flipping to Jaquan Johnson. Johnson then lateraled to Walton, who let the ball rip as he was being tackled by Alonzo Saxton.
Five. Six. Seven. Finally, it made its way to Elder at the 8-yard line and he took the final pass down the left sideline before cutting back at the Duke 40. He ran down the middle of the field and into the end zone, where he was finally tackled by teammate Lawrence Cager.
All that was left was to wait for the referees to confirm the chaos was enough to win the game.