No. 1 Hurricanes Stomp West Virginia, 45-3
Oct. 25, 2001
By MARK LONG
AP Sports Writer
MIAMI (AP) – Miami’s Ken Dorsey has as many career touchdown passes as SteveWalsh and Vinny Testaverde.
Dorsey wants as many national championship rings, too.
He threw two touchdown passes, tying the school record of 48 held by Walshand Testaverde, and top-ranked Miami overcame a slow start and a sloppy fieldto beat West Virginia 45-3 Thursday night for their 16th consecutive victory.
“Winning is all that really matters, but it’s a great honor for me becausethat record is held by such great players, people who have proven themselvestime and time again,” Dorsey said.
Walsh, who was on hand Thursday night, led the Hurricanes to the 1987 title.Testaverde earned a ring as part of the 1983 championship team.
“To be mentioned in the same sentence as those guys is a great honor,”Dorsey said.
The Hurricanes, fourth in the Bowl Championship Series standings, hoped towin impressively and possibly gain ground on the leaders.
“The world was watching and we wanted to make a good impression as a greatteam and a contender for the national championship,” safety Ed Reed said.
Miami did, but it needed more than a quarter to get on track.
West Virginia’s Avon Cobourne ran for 95 yards in the first half as theMountaineers held tough. The game was tied at 3 after one quarter, and WestVirginia was looking to tie it at 10 when James Lewis intercepted a pass andreturned it 74 yards for a score.
The Hurricanes (6-0, 3-0 Big East) ran away from there, scoring 28second-half points behind backup running back Frank Gore and dominating theMountaineers (2-5, 0-3) defensively.
Gore, a freshman from Miami, had six carries for 124 yards and twotouchdowns. He had a 45-yard run in the third quarter and added a 49-yarder inthe fourth.
“I know he had several 300-yard rushing games in high school, and Iremember reading all the stats last year,” Miami coach Larry Coker said.”After having been around him for a few weeks, I don’t see how they held himunder 300. The guy is a phenomenal football player. He can do it all. He cancatch and he can run.”
Clinton Portis had 76 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries before giving wayto Gore. With the game in hand, Portis sat out most of the fourth quarter – asdid most starters, including Dorsey.
Dorsey didn’t look particular sharp in the steady rain. He was 16-of-27 for192 yards and threw an interception. He also fumbled once.
“I don’t think Ken was in a good rhythm in the first half,” Coker said.”He made some plays, but when we look at the first half, it won’t be one ofhis better first halves. He was a little off balance and he was rushing somethrows. It wasn’t a typical Ken Dorsey first half.”
Miami’s defense- led by Reed – picked up the slack. Reed had twointerceptions for the second consecutive game and recovered a fumble. Reed hadtwo interceptions against Florida State on Oct. 13 and blocked a punt thatMiami returned for a touchdown in the 49-27 win.
The Hurricanes, who finished with seven sacks and six turnovers against theSeminoles, had five sacks and six turnovers against West Virginia.
“Our defense was very opportunistic,” Coker said. “There are more ways toscore on defense than on offense, so we’re very happy with the way we createdturnovers.”
With the game tied at 3, Reed intercepted Derek Jones’ pass and set upMiami’s first touchdown.
Dorsey hit tight end Jeremy Shockey in the flat on third-and-goal, and asShockey was being tackled by two defenders, he stretched the ball across thegoal line with his right hand for the score.
Six plays later, the Hurricanes scored again – this one coming on Lewis’interception. Linebacker D.J. Williams hit Jones, causing his pass to floatacross the middle. Lewis picked it off, then worked his way down the sidelineto make it 17-3.
“We’re not a real good football team,” West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguezsaid. “We need to get better.”
Jones entered the game in the first quarter when starter Brad Lewis injuredhis neck. Lewis, being driven to the ground by 346-pound defensive tackle VinceWilfork, hit his head on teammate Tim Brown’s knee.
Lewis stayed on the ground for several minutes, then was helped off thefield. He had precautionary X-rays during halftime.
Miami took advantage of his absence, pressuring Jones into fourinterceptions.
“We know how we need to play to win,” Coker said. “In the second half, wereally opened it up and played well and scored and played great defense.Hopefully that impresses the BCS or the people that make those decisions.”