The Syracuse playbook is now 400-odd pages, but DeLeone doesn't know precisely how long it is, because the pages aren't numbered. That's deliberate. "I don't want kids to walk out of our first meeting and transfer," he says.
Perhaps data overload was responsible for Graves's big goof. After getting his team back into the game, he managed the clock poorly on Syracuse's final drive. Starting at the Miami 49 with 2:40 to go, Syracuse took 90 seconds to run three plays. There was Graves strolling up to the line, taking his sweet time calling the cadence. Pasqualoni was disposed to forgive him. "Marvin's got to make sure he sees the defense right," he said. "He's got to get us in the right play."
Graves's task was made all the more difficult by the fact that several plays earlier he had taken a thunderous hit from cornerback Paul White. After scrambling for 15 yards to the Miami 21 with less than a minute remaining, Graves wobbled back to the huddle. "I got a sharp pain in my heart," he said later, "and just started vomiting." Rather than let the officials call a timeout—which would have required Graves to leave the game for at least one play—Syracuse spent a precious timeout of its own.
Graves's distress did not go unnoticed in the Miami huddle. "Hey, you guys, he's throwing up," said linebacker Rohan Marley. "Let's get him!"
Marley, a redshirt freshman, was giving Jessie Armstead a breather. A senior, Armstead is on his way to the NFL, but the Hurricanes don't lose much with Marley in the game. Marley's interception of a ball knocked loose by linebacker Darrin Smith had snuffed out Syracuse's penultimate drive. At 5'8", 200 pounds, Marley describes himself as "the smallest linebacker in the state of Florida." He comes from athletic stock. His father was a soccer player and distance runner in Jamaica, though he was better known for his music. Bob Marley, who died of cancer in 1980, was the seminal reggae artist of the '70s. After his father's death Rohan moved to Miami to live with his grandmother. When he went out for the team at Palmetto High, the coaches put him at safety. "Then we did hitting drills," says Marley. "Next day, I'm a linebacker."
Once Graves had collected himself and play had resumed, the Hurricanes did, as Marley had implored, "get him." After a short run Graves took costly sacks—his eighth and ninth of the game—on consecutive plays. On fourth-and-forever from the 32, with less than 10 seconds left, Graves called a pass play at the line of scrimmage. "There wasn't much I could do," he said later. "I sent everyone deep."
He sent everyone but only had eyes for Gedney, an All-America who has been his go-to guy all season. Gedney had played a strong game, encouraged by female admirers in the west end zone who had hung a banner that read, CHRIS GEDNEY, WE LOVE YOUR TIGHT END. Gedney lined up on the right side and ran a post pattern. He made his cut around the 12-yard line and gathered in Graves's pass at the three, where he was immediately flattened by strong safety Casey Greer.
"When I saw where I was, then looked up and saw those zeros on the game clock, it was a sickening feeling," said Gedney.
Greer's response was vintage Hurricane: "Hey, better him than me."
As time ran out, the Syracuse fans cut loose with an epic groan, followed by spontaneous sustained applause. They clapped as they coped with one of Graves's symptoms: a sharp pain in the heart.