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Return To Glory

Return To Glory

Aug. 29, 2000

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) – High expectations aren’t new at Miami.

The Hurricanes begin a season full of promise Thursday night when theyplayhost to McNeese State, a Division I-AA team.

The Hurricanes are fifth in The Associated Press preseason poll, theirhighest ranking to start the season since they were No. 4 to start the 1993campaign.

Butch Davis arrived at Miami two years later, and during his tenure theHurricaneshave failed to reach the heights theywereat while winning four national titles in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Itlooks like they will be back this year.

The Hurricanes finished 1999 on a roll, winning their final four gamestofinish 9-4. They outscored their final three regular season opponents 155-13and return enough key parts from that team that Davis feels this is his bestteam since arriving at Miami.

“I think we’re at the stage now where it’s legitimate to say we canmakeour season just about what we like,” Davis said. “This is the first timesince 1994 that we’ve been at full scholarships.”

Speedy receiver Santana Moss and the trio of running backs JamesJackson,Najeh Davenport and Clinton Portis should make things easy for Ken Dorsey,whobecame the starting quarterback when Kenny Kelly left the team to pursue hisbaseball career. Dorsey threw nine touchdown passes in three starts lastseason.

Miami’s defense should also be strong, as the Hurricanes return eightstarters from last season.

“We want to make this a season to remember,” Moss said. “Look, everyoneknows Miami can talk a big game. This year we’ll leave the talk to the fansandwe’ll go out on the field and do it.”

Of course, it would be a surprise if all facets of Miami’s game didn’tlookstrong Thursday. The Hurricanes don’t figure to be challenged by McNeeseState,which is beginning its first season under new coach Tommy Tate.

The Cowboys went 6-5 in 1999, finishing second in the SouthlandConference.Tate, who took over in June after Kirby Bruchhaus resigned, returns 15startersfrom last year’s team.

The teams are meeting for the first time. The Hurricanes will be tryingtoextend their four-game winning streak in openers at the Orange Bowl.