Portis Back, Ready For Showdown With Hokies

Nov. 1, 2000

AP Sports Writer
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Playing for the first time in more than amonth,Miami running back Clinton Portis showed few, if any, lingering effects ofthefoot injury that sidelined him three games.

Portis ran inside and outside, cutting right and left and displayingthesame speed that helped him set the school’s freshman rushing record lastseason.

He proved he’s ready for No. 3 Miami’s showdown Saturday againstsecond-ranked Virginia Tech.

“I wasn’t expecting to play, but then things got rolling and theycalled mynumber,” Portis said Monday. “It was perfect timing for me to return. Now Idon’t have to worry about going into this game not knowing how to react tomyfoot. That’s out of the way.”

Portis gained 86 yards on 14 carries Saturday against Louisiana Tech,picking up where he left off before the injury. He had 253 yards rushing inthefirst three games, but broke three toes on his right foot Sept. 26 inpractice.

The sophomore is averaging nearly 10 yards per carry despite playingbehindstarter James Jackson and Najeh Davenport. His early season performance hadcoaches talking about getting him more playing time.

It could finally happen against the Hokies.

Portis hopes so. He ran for 139 yards last year in Virginia Tech’s43-10 winover Miami. He also fumbled three times, something he hasn’t forgotten.

“There’s nothing I could do to change what happened last year,” Portissaid. “I thought I played well. I just fumbled the ball three times, whichwere good plays on their part.

“I doubt that will happen this year. I’m ready to roll. I ran wellagainstthem last year. I think the same thing will happen, just without thefumbles.”

Portis, a 5-foot-11, 190-pound slashing back from Gainesville, set theschool’s freshman rushing record with 838 yards last season. He got themajority of his playing time while Jackson and Davenport were injured.

“He brings another dimension to the table in our running game,”receiverDaryl Jones said. “We have J.J. and Najeh with speed and power and then youbring Clinton in who’s real shifty and real quick outside the tackles. Itgivesthe defense something else they have to be ready for.”

It also helps Jackson.

“It takes a lot of pressure off me,” Jackson said. “It gives me thatbreather. Sometimes I want to go to the sideline and watch when he’s in thegame or Najeh’s in the game. You can see what the defense is running and seewhat schemes they are doing.”