It was for a punt to the 1-yard line.
That was the reality Saturday during what became the worst loss in the program's 90-year history. Quarterback Brad Kaayadeparted in the second quarter with what was likely a concussion, and No. 6 Clemson wound up embarrassing Miami 58-0 in a game that could doom whatever chance embattled coach Al Golden had of keeping his job much longer.
"Got beat from top to bottom," Golden said. "They outplayed us. They outcoached us. I just told the team it's completely my responsibility for not getting them ready to play. They just beat us soundly in every facet of the game, period."
There was booing in the first quarter, a "Fire Golden" chant soon afterward, and many of those who did show -- the announced attendance was 45,211, while the actual number was clearly far less -- never returned to their seats after halftime, perhaps a wise move given that Clemson already had a 42-0 lead and was dealing Miami (4-3, 1-2 ACC) a loss that undoubtedly won't be forgotten anytime soon.
"I know it isn't far from outhouse to penthouse," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. "I don't celebrate anything from Miami's bad day. I feel for him. I hate it, man. Al Golden is a great guy. I have a lot of respect for him. I have respect for this university."
The score was a blowout, and so was just about every stat.
Until Saturday, Miami's worst loss was a 70-14 defeat to Texas A&M on Dec. 8, 1944. The Hurricanes hadn't been shut out since a 2007 loss to Virginia.
It was Clemson's largest win over an FBS opponent since an 82-24 win over Wake Forest on Oct. 31, 1981. Clemson had 33 first downs to Miami's six, picked up 567 total yards to Miami's 146 and outrushed the Hurricanes 416-53. It was the most rushing yards for the Tigers since 2000, the most allowed by Miami since 2008.
"We are all disappointed with today's outcome," Miami athletic director Blake James said. "Anyone who loves Miami is disappointed. But we have another game next week."
Golden was hired in December 2010 and before he coached his first game had to deal with the massive mess created by the revelations of rampant rule breaking by a former booster who is currently in federal prison for masterminding a $930 million Ponzi scheme. All five of Golden's seasons, in some way, have been affected by that NCAA probe; scholarship reductions are still in place this season as part of the sanctions levied against Miami.
He was hired to bring Miami back to prominence then was tasked with the added burden of cleaning up giant problems that he never knew about when taking the job.
The Hurricanes made it through the NCAA saga. But turning around the on-field product still hasn't happened.
Many fans long stopped seeing that as a valid reason for Miami's problems, such as never winning an ACC title since joining the league in 2004. Golden has been under fire from a segment of the fan base since at least last season.
In the end, Clemson looked very much like a national title contender.
Miami looked like a team that hit rock bottom.
Deshaun Watson threw for one touchdown and ran for another before sitting out most of the second half. Clemson (7-0, 4-0) led 42-0 at the half and enjoyed its biggest road margin of victory in 100 years.
The Associated Press and ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this report.
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