Lesson learned helped Chase Minnifield corral end zone interception
Following fifth-year senior quarterback Marc Verica's lone interception of the day Saturday, Miami drove into the red zone and appeared set to finally put some points on the scoreboard. But on first and 10 from the Virginia 15-yard-line, Hurricanes quarterback Stephen Morris's pass to the back of the end zone was picked off by junior cornerback Chase Minnifield.
To make the interception stick, Minnifield had to out-leap Miami wideout Travis Benjamin, grab the ball and land at least one foot in the end zone. The play was reviewed and confirmed: Minnifield's left foot stamped the end zone before he fell out of bounds.
But the important part here -- not just for the team, but for Minnifield personally -- was the catch itself. Two weeks prior, early in the third quarter against North Carolina, Minnifield was defending wideout Erik Highsmith on a pass play Minnifield was sure would be an easy interception. But rather than going up to get it, Minnifield waited for the ball to fall into his hands. Highsmith came underneath Minnifield and got to the ball first, recording a 42-yard reception.
"I told myself that I'm not going to make that mistake no more," Minnifield said after Saturday's two-interception performance against Miami. "I'm going to go get the ball at its highest point from now on, and that's what I've really been focusing on these last two weeks."
| November 1, 2010; 9:49 AM ET
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