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Miami Welcomes Syracuse To The Orange Bowl

Miami Welcomes Syracuse To The Orange Bowl

Nov. 10, 2003

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When: Saturday, November 15, 2003, at 12 p.m. EDT.
Where: Orange Bowl (Natural Grass; 72,319) in Miami, Fla.
TV: ESPN Regional will televise the game live with Dave Sims (play-by-play) and John Congemi (analysis) describing the action. Greg Roberts will report from the sidelines.
Fox Sports Net Florida (Tape Delay, Sunday, Nov. 9, 5 p.m. ET) replays all Hurricanes football games.
Radio: The Hurricanes Radio Network (WQAM 560 AM) will carry the game live with Joe Zagacki (play-by-play) Don Bailey, Jr. (analysis), and Brian London (sideline reports) describing the action. Josh Darrow is the studio host.
En Espanol: Radio Unica (1210 AM) will broadcast the game in Spanish with Roly Martin (play-by-play) and Joe Martinez (analysis) describing the action.
Websites: Miami (, Syracuse (


Miami and Syracuse have met 21 times since 1960 with the Hurricanes holding the 14-7 series lead. The record includes an 9-2 mark in BIG EAST play since in 1992.Miami is riding a four-game win streak in the series and has won those games by a combined score of 179-20 (44.8 – 5.0), a 39.8-point margin of victory. Additionally, the Hurricanes have won the last three meetings with the Orangemen by an 134-7 margin, 26-0 at the Carrier Dome in 2000, 59-0 at the Orange Bowl in 2001, and 49-7 at the Carrier Dome in 2002. The two SU victories in the BIG EAST series occurred in 1997 (33-13 in Miami) and 1998 (66-13 at Syracuse).The overall series record is broken down into a 7-2 all-time UM lead at Syracuse (5-1 at the Carrier Dome, 2-1 at Archbold Stadium) and a 7-3 UM edge at the Orange Bowl. Syracuse holds a 2-0 advantage in neutral site games with a 15-14 win in the 1961 Liberty Bowl and a 25-15 victory at Buffalo’s Rich Stadium in 1979.Miami and Syracuse was the first BIG EAST rivalry. Prior to round-robin conference play that began in 1993, Miami and Syracuse finished 1-2 in each of the 1991 and 1992 BIG EAST standings, respectively. The Hurricanes were crowned conference champion in both of those seasons by being the higher ranked team in the final regular season USA Today/CNN Top 25 Coaches’ Poll. Additionally, Miami played for the national championship in 1991 and 1992, winning the 1991 title.In 1995, Miami was not eligible for the conference title, but defeated Syracuse, 34-25, in the Orange Bowl to deny the Orangemen at least a share of the title with Virginia Tech. That year, SU finished the league schedule at 5-2 to the Hokies’ 6-1 record.In 1996, Miami, Syracuse and Virginia Tech shared the league title, each posting a 6-1 conference record. The then-16th ranked Orangemen had a shot to win the championship outright, but were upset by the 23rd-ranked Hurricanes, 38-31, at the Carrier Dome in the regular season finale.The 1998 season saw Syracuse capture the league championship with a 66-13 win over Miami at the Carrier Dome, yet finish behind the Hurricanes in the season’s final polls. UM’s worst conference defeat ever was in large due to a stellar performance from Syracuse QB Donovan McNabb (in his final regular season game) and placed the Hurricanes in a tie for second. UM rebounded to defeat UCLA, 49-45, at the Orange Bowl, then routed N.C. State, 46-23, in the Micron PC Bowl. Florida downed Syracuse, 31-10, in the Orange Bowl Classic. The Hurricanes finished ranked No. 20/21 in the polls, while the Orangemen were No. 25/24.

The sustained success of the Miami football program over the last four years ranks among the most remarkable runs in college football history. Since the start of the 2000 season, Miami has constructed a 42-4 record and constructed the following streaks – 34 straight victories (all games), 39 consecutive regular season victories, 27 consecutive BIG EAST victories, 18 straight road victories (at opponent sites), and a 26-game home winning streak. Over that span, Miami has won one national title, competed for another, and won three BIG EAST titles. However, the team that will take the field Saturday for Miami is a much different group than the one that won the 2001 national title. Only two players in the 2003 starting lineup – linebackers Jonathan Vilma and D.J. Williams – were starters on that 2001 team. Only one player on offense (senior flanker Kevin Beard) started a game that season (5 games in place of regular starting FL Daryl Jones). On defense, only current starting cornerback Alfonso Marshall got any starting time, and that was only as an extra defensive back when Miami started six DBs against Troy State. Eleven starters from 2002 are starting this season, including six on offense (FL Kevin Beard, TE Kellen Winslow, LG Vernon Carey, RG Chris Myers, RT Carlos Joseph and FB Quadtrine Hill) and five on defense (MLB Jonathan Vilma, WLB D.J. Williams, CB Antrel Rolle, FS Sean Taylor, and SS Mo Sikes). On special teams, Miami has undergone a virtually complete makeover. Long snapper Chris Harvey is the only holdover who started the last two seasons.

University of Miami head football coach Larry Coker is 31-3 as a head coach after Saturday’s loss to Tennessee, the second-winningest start (third-best by percentage) through 34 games in college football history. His 31-1 record through 32 games tied Walter Camp of Yale as the best by a head football coach in the history of the sport through that span of games, edging out Oklahoma’s Barry Switzer. Coker set a modern NCAA record for victories by a first-year head coach in 2001 with 12 wins. Coker’s 24-1 two-year start ranked as one of the finest by a head coach in the history of college football in terms of winning percentage. In terms of victories through two seasons as a head coach, Coker’s 24 victories ranked third all-time, the most in 109 years.

The Hurricanes defense has strengthened as the season has progressed and currently ranks among the NCAA’s national top 5 in two categories, the nation’s top 10 in three categories and in the top 20 in a fourth. According to NCAA statistics released Sunday, November 9, Miami ranks third in passing yards defense (140.7 ypg), third in total defense (263.9 ypg) and eighth in pass efficiency defense (98.47 rating). Additionally, Miami ranks 15th nationally in scoring defense (16.4 ppg). The Hurricanes lead the BIG EAST Conference four defensive categories (pass efficiency defense, total defense, scoring defense and passing yards defense) while ranking no lower than third in any defensive category. Miami is third in the conference in rushing defense (123.2 ypg, 33rd nationally).

The Hurricanes posted their third consecutive impressive pass defense outing against Tennessee. Miami allowed only 81 yards through the air and a season-low 170 total yards. One week previously, the Miami defense limited Virginia Tech to 219 total yards (the Hokies’ second-lowest total offense production this season), including only 44 passing yards. Over Miami’s last three games, the defense has allowed only 146 yards passing while Temple ,Virginia Tech and Tennessee combined to complete only 18 of 40 passes with one interception and one touchdown.

Miami makes its 15th all-time appearance on ESPN Regional Television (ERT) this week with the Syracuse Orangemen visiting the Orange Bowl. The Hurricanes are 14-0 on ERT dating back to a 47-15 win over Temple on Oct. 25, 1997. UM’s last appearance on ESPN Regional was a 52-14 win over Temple on Oct. 18. Temple and Rutgers are Miami’s most common opponent on ESPN Regional with five appearances each. Miami is 8-0 at the Orange Bowl on ERT.


Freshman Ryan Moore recorded a reception in the first quarter marking the ninth consecutive game in which he has made at least one reception.Junior Kellen Winslow recorded multiple receptions for the 22nd consecutive game. He finished with 7 catches for 88 yards, marking the 22nd consecutive game in which he registered multiple receptions in a game. The last game in which Winslow failed to record at least two catches was versus Nebraska in the 2002 Rose Bowl.The Hurricanes’ field goal on its opening possession against Tennessee marked the fifth time this season that Miami has scored on its first offensive possession of the game.Tennessee’s second quarter TD marked just the fifth first half touchdown allowed by the UM defense this season.Miami registered 22 offensive plays for 86 yards in the first half marking season lows in both categories. Miami’s previous first half lows were 29 plays and 112 yards versus Boston College.Miami has lost two straight games for the first time since dropping three straight to Penn State, East Carolina and Florida State in 1999.Miami’s 27:16 time of possession marked a season-low.Tennessee defeated Miami 10-6 snapping the Hurricanes’ 26-game home win streak. The streak dates back to a 28-20 win over West Virginia on Oct. 30, 1999. Miami’s last home loss was to second-ranked Penn State, 27-23, on Sept. 18, 1999.Miami’s 10-6 loss to Tennessee marked the first time the Hurricanes were held without a touchdown at home since a 38-3 loss to Florida State on September 22, 1984. Miami was last held with out a touchdown on October 4, 1997 in a 47-0 loss at Florida State. The last time Miami was held without an offensive touchdown was at Boston College on November 10, 2001 in an 18-7 Hurricane win.

Saturday’s loss to Tennessee ended Miami’s home winning streak at 26 games. The streak began with a 28-20 win over West Virginia on Oct. 30, 1999. Some facts about the second-longest Miami home win streak in its history (longest was an NCAA-record 58-game streak from 1985-94):

Before the loss to Tennessee, Miami’s last home loss was to second-ranked Penn State (27-23) on Sept. 18, 1999.During the 26-game streak, Miami outscored its opponents 1,158 to 343 (44.5-13.2 per game – 31.3 UM margin of victory).In non-conference games during the streak, Miami outscored 10 opponents 470 to 197 (47.0-19.7 per game – 27.3 UM margin of victory).Against BIG EAST opponents, Miami outscored the league 710 to 176 (44.4-11.0 per game – 33.4 UM margin of victory) in 16 home contests.Against the eight ranked teams defeated at the Orange Bowl during the streak, Miami outscored the opposition 342-178 (42.8-22.3 per game – 20.5 UM margin of victory).During the streak, Miami’s lowest point total was 22 points in a 22-20 win over West Virginia on Oct. 2, 2003.Scoring was high during the streak with the Hurricanes surpassing 30 points 21 times, 40 points 15 times, 50 points 10 times and 60 points four times. The most points UM has scored during the streak is 65 points in a 65-7 win over No. 12 Washington on Nov. 24, 2001.The UM defense posted five shutouts during the 26-game streak and had another seven games where the opponent scored seven or less points.The most points allowed by UM was 45 by Virginia Tech on Dec. 7, 2002. Opponents achieved double-digit scoring 12 times during the 26-game streak.Prior to Pittsburgh’s first quarter touchdown on Nov. 21, 2002, the last touchdown recorded by a BIG EAST opponent at the Orange Bowl was in the first quarter vs. Boston College on Nov. 25, 2000 – 23 straight quarters over six league games.Over the last 18 wins of the streak dating to a 35-7 win over Pittsburgh on Nov. 11, 2000, the Hurricanes outscored home opponents 804 to 230 (44.7-12.8 per game – 31.9 UM margin of victory).Including the home loss to Penn State in 1999, Miami won 30 of 31 home contests from a 26-14 loss to Florida State on Oct. 10, 1998, to Saturday’s loss to Tennessee.

UM is 216-43-2 all-time in games while holding an AP national ranking. Since 1983, Miami is 151-23 as a top 10 team and 123-14 as a top five team. The Hurricanes are 42-6 as the nation’s No.1-ranked team. Miami has won 32 of its last 34 when ranked No. 1.

Miami is 75-101-1 vs. AP-ranked teams since its first game against a ranked opponent against No. 18 Alabama in 1941, is 36-54 vs. AP top-10 teams since playing No. 6 Alabama in 1947, is 20-32 against AP top-5 teams since playing No. 3 Maryland in 1953, and is 9-7 against No. 1-ranked teams.

Since 1990, Miami has registered a 36-25 mark against Associated Press ranked teams and a 97-7 record against unranked opponents.

Saturday’s loss to Tennessee was a rarity in many ways for the Hurricanes, who have been particularly effective in day games under head coach Larry Coker. Since Coker took over the program in 2001, Miami is 15-1 in day games and 31-3 overall. In the modern era of University of Miami football, the Hurricanes have enjoyed success in day games accumulating a 154-34 (.819) record in day games since 1980. Since 1990, Miami is 88-21 (.807) in day games.

Miami produced a 7-0 start this season, marking just the ninth time in UM football history the Hurricanes have gotten off to such a fast start. For the first time in school history, Miami has done it three consecutive seasons. UM achieved 7-0 starts in back-to-back seasons for the first time 1986 and 1987 and then again in 1991 and 1992. Miami has won four national championships when starting the season 7-0. Miami’s first 7-0 start was by its freshman team in 1926, finishing 8-0. The Hurricanes are 4-3 in bowl games after starting the season with a 7-0 record.

The Hurricanes have scored a total of eight touchdowns this season via returns, eclipsing their total from last season. Two via a fumble return, two on a punt return, three via interception returns and once on a kickoff return. Since 1999, Miami has scored more touchdowns on various returns (punts, kickoffs, fumbles or interceptions) than any team in the nation.

Twenty-one members of the 2003 Hurricanes have either graduated or are on track to receive diplomas by the end of the 2004 spring semester. Thirteen members of the team will have earned their degrees by the end of the fall semester while five have already achieved their bachelor’s degrees and are playing this fall.

Five UM football players who already have graduated are playing for UM this season: defensive end Larry Anderson (criminology), flanker Kevin Beard (liberal arts), offensive guard Joe McGrath (business management), center Joel Rodriguez (newspaper journalism), and safety Mo Sikes (criminology/african-american studies). All five received their bachelor’s degrees in May, 2003.

Eight more student-athletes are on track to graduate in December – offensive guard Vernon Carey (liberal arts), kicker Mark Gent (marketing), long snapper Chris Harvey (history), safety Tim Kelly (liberal arts), offensive guard (Chris Myers (history), running back Jarrett Payton (liberal arts), and offensive guard Jim Sikora (civil engineering).

Nine others are on track to graduate in May, 2004: receiver Jason Geathers (liberal arts), fullback Talib Humphrey (history), offensive tackle Carlos Joseph (liberal arts), cornerback Alfonso Marshall (criminology), linebacker Darrell McClover (business management), defensive tackle Santonio Thomas (criminology), linebacker Jonathan Vilma (finance), linebacker Carl Walker (liberal arts), and linebacker D.J. Williams (liberal arts).

This continues Miami’s tradition of achieving a high graduation rate among its football student-athletes. Miami has received recognition by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) as one of an elite group of schools to exceed a 70 percent graduation rate among its football student-athletes in eight of the past 11 years.

The Hurricanes’ have exceeded the national graduation rate for AFCA member schools for 15 consecutive years. From 1992-97, Miami was one of only eight schools in the nation to graduate at least 70 percent of its football student-athletes and that trend continues to the present day.

Thirteen of 18 Miami football student-athletes who entered UM in 1996 have graduated, a rate of 72.2 percent – exceeding the national average of 2001 (59 percent). Since the AFCA began its national survey of graduation rates for football playing institutions, Miami has graduated 71.29 percent of its football student-athletes – far above the national average. Additionally, Matt Walters (New York Jets) and Jonathan Vilma were named to the 2002 Verizon Academic All-America First Team.

During the last 20 years, National Football League teams have turned to the University of Miami more than any other college or university when it comes to premium picks in the annual draft. The following chart illustrates college programs that have produced the most players selected in the first three rounds from 1984 to 2003.

Miami has scored nine touchdowns this season via non-offensive means (special teams or defense) and one safety. The Hurricanes have scored at least one non-offensive touchdown in six of their seven games this season, scoring 56 points through non-offensive means in 2003. In 2002, the Hurricanes had six non-offensive scores. For the second straight season in 2001, Miami led the nation in non-offensive scoring with 11 touchdowns and one safety. The 11 scores and one safety gave UM 68 points. The Hurricanes led the nation in 2000 with 13 touchdowns and 89 points coming from defense and special teams.

Saturday’s loss to Tennessee bucked a strong trend that Miami teams have developed over the last 21 seasons. Beginning with the 1983 season, the Hurricanes have gone 168-15 when scoring first. Against Tennessee, Miami followed its habit of jumping to an early lead when Jon Peattie booted a 31-yard field goal at the 5:57 mark of the first quarter. Miami has scored first in six of nine games this season.


Miami has won 115 consecutive games when scoring 30 or more points since a 31-30 loss at Notre Dame in 1988.

Miami has won 136 consecutive games when scoring 31 or more points since falling 39-37 to UCLA in the 1985 Fiesta Bowl. Excluding bowl games, Miami has won 131 consecutive regular season games when scoring 31 or more since a 47-45 loss to Boston College in 1984.

Over the last 18 seasons, Miami has been almost unbeatable when leading after three quarters. Since 1985, Miami has won 167 of 169 regular season games in which it entered the fourth quarter with a lead. The two losses in this span occurred at East Carolina (1999) and West Virginia (1997). Prior to those two losses, UM’s last loss when leading after three quarters was in 1984 against Maryland (42-40), after leading 34-21 heading into the fourth quarter.

Miami has converted 47 percent (59 of 126) of its third-down plays through the first nine games of the 2003 season. Miami has been effective on third and long (six yards or more) this season, converting on 22-of-59 (37.3 percent) attempts for 423 yards and a touchdown, which equates to 7.2 yards per attempt on third and long. The Hurricanes have also been efficient on third and short (two yards or less), converting 14 of 20 (70.0 percent) on the season.

Miami quarterbacks have been extremely productive through the air on third down so far this season. Miami quarterbacks are completing 71.6 percent of his passes on third down, racking up 461 yards, 32 first downs and two touchdowns. Crudup is 7 for 10 on the season for 100 yards, five first downs and one touchdown.

Miami is averaging 29.6 points per game in 2003, and the Hurricanes’ production in the red zone is a big reason why. UM has produced points on 32-of-42 trips inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. The Hurricanes have scored 162 points in their 42 appearances in the red zone, with 17 touchdowns and 15 field goals. The Hurricanes have rushed for 10 touchdowns inside the red zone and passed for seven more.

Miami’s offense is one that has proven over the years that it can strike quickly. Seven games into the 2003 season the Hurricanes have recorded 79 plays of 10 or more yards, or 22% of its total offensive plays for the season. The Hurricanes have struck for 10 or more yards once every 4.3 plays from scrimmage. Hurricanes’ quarterback Brock Berlin is leading the way for the Hurricanes with 54 big plays, while tailback Frank Gore is second with 19 big plays.

One of the keys to the University of Miami’s success has been its balance offensively. Each of the last five seasons the Hurricanes have rushed for over 2,000 yards and passed for over 2,000 yards. Miami is the only school in the nation to surpass 2,000 yards both rushing and passing each season since 1998. Boston College and Iowa State have accomplished this feat for the past three season (2000-2001), while Minnesota has rushed and passed for 2,000 yards for four straight seasons.

As many as 10 different Hurricanes are in the running for national awards this season. Jonathan Vilma and D.J. Williams were named semifinalists for the Butkus Award earlier this week. Free Safety Sean Taylor is among the leading candidates for the Thorpe Award given to the top defensive back in the country. Mo Sikes, Antrel Rolle and Kelly Jennings are also candidates for the Thorpe Award. Miami has four players up for the Lombardi, which is given to the nation’s top offensive or defensive lineman or linebacker. Vilma and Williams are candidates along with Vince Wilfork and Kellen Winslow. Vernon Carey and Wilfork are also being heavily considered for the Outland Trophy given annually to the nation’s top interior lineman. Winslow is also the leading candidate for the Mackey Award given to the nation’s top tight end. Redshirt freshman Jon Peattie has quickly become a serious contender for the Lou Groza Award, which is given to the best place-kicker in the country.

University of Miami head football coach Larry Coker is among 10 coaches listed on the watch list for the 2003 George Munger Award honoring college football’s top coach, the Maxwell Football Club of Philadelphia announced. Coker has led Miami to a 7-0 start this season and ranked second nationally in both major polls. In two-and-a-half seasons as head coach, Coker has a 31-1 record, a mark that ranks as the finest start of any head coach in college football history. Coker’s Hurricanes have been ranked among the nation’s top three throughout his tenure and he has maintained the Miami program’s high level of success through an almost complete overhaul of talent since taking over the job prior to the 2001 season. Joining Coker as contenders for the honor are Frank Beamer (Virginia Tech), Pete Carroll (Southern California), David Cutcliff (Mississippi), Mike Leach (Texas Tech), Mark Richt (Georgia), Nick Saban (LSU), Bob Stoops (Oklahoma), Joe Tiller (Purdue), Tommy Tuberville (Auburn).

Eight Miami football players were recently listed among’s Top 100 College Football Players, which was picked by ESPN The Magazine’s Bruce Feldman. Junior free safety Sean Taylor tops the list. He is tied for second on the team with 43 tackles, including 28 solo stops, 4.5 tackles for loss, one sack, six interceptions and 12 pass breakups. Junior tight end Kellen Winslow is fourth on the list with 36 receptions for 391 yards and a touchdown. Defensive tackles Vince Wilfork is ranked 19th, while linebackers D.J. Williams (24) and Jonathan Vilma (30) round out the top 30. Cornerback Antrel Rolle is listed as the 65th best player, while defensive tackle Orien Harris came in at 88th and offensive tackle Eric Winston was ranked at No. 96.

Sean Taylor, Jonathan Vilma and Vince Wilfork are among 14 candidates for the Bednarik Award honoring college football’s top defensive player. Taylor (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) was recently rated college football’s top player by ESPN The Magazine in a mid-season ranking, as he has become more than just a burgeoning star in the secondary. He also has solidified his standing as college football’s finest defensive back through the first half of the 2003 season and is nothing less than a candidate for college football’s highest honors. Vilma is in his third full season as a starter, but he has become more than the leader of the Miami Hurricanes defense – he’s now the team’s unquestioned leader. Vilma has been an impressive player since the beginning of his UM career. He leads the team lead in tackles. Wilfork is a dominating player in the mold of former Miami greats.

Middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma was named one of 15 winners of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame post-graduate fellowship. Vilma is also a finalist for the Draddy Award or the “Academic Heisman.” To be eligible, the nominee must be a senior or graduate student in his final year of eligibility, have a grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, have shown superior academic application and performance, have outstanding football ability as a first team player, and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship. Vilma, along with the 14 other scholar-athletes will be recognized at The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame’s 46th Annual Awards Dinner on December 9, at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. Also being honored at the dinner will be the 2003 College Football Hall of Fame class, which will share the dais with these scholar-athletes. Each scholar-athlete receives an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship, and that evening, one will receive the Draddy Trophy as the top scholar-athlete in the nation, increasing the scholarship to $25,000. Former Hurricane Joaquin Gonzalez won the Draddy Trophy in 2001.

Junior safety Sean Taylor (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) is among 12 players listed as semi-finalists for the 2003 Jim Thorpe Award honoring college football’s top defensive back, the Jim Thorpe Association announced last week. The Association will select three finalists on Monday, November 25. The 2003 Thorpe Award winner will be announced as part of the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show to be held Thursday, December 11, 2003 in Orlando. The winner will be honored at a banquet in Oklahoma City scheduled for February 9, 2004.

Freshman placekicker is among 20 semi-finalists for the 2003 Lou Groza Award honoring college football’s top placekicker, the Palm Beach County Sports Commission announced last week. Peattie (Clearwater, Fla./Countryside HS) has produced an outstanding season in his first year as Miami’s full-time placekicker. He has given the Hurricanes with a reliable and consistent kicker, providing a solution to one of the team’s major preseason concerns. Peattie has made 16 of 20 field goal attempts through the season’s first nine games, including a stretch in which he made 10 consecutive field goals, the third-best streak in Miami history. Peattie is a perfect 26 of 26 on extra-point attempts, leads the team in scoring with 74 points and ranks ninth nationally in field goals per game (1.78 avg.). He made a school-record five field goals, including the game-winner from three yards in the final seconds, to provide the difference in Miami’s 22-20 squeaker over West Virginia on Oct. 2. Peattie made three of four field goal attempts in Miami’s 22-14 win at Florida State on Oct. 11 and his 16 field goals made ties for eighth on the Miami single-season list.