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Miami Smells the Roses, 59-0

Big East: Dorsey returns to form and Hurricanes score early and often in routing No. 14 Syracuse.

November 18, 2001|From Associated Press

MIAMI — Ken Dorsey woke up early all week, trying to figure what caused him to throw a career-high four interceptions and how No. 1 Miami nearly lost to Boston College.

Dorsey found plenty of problems. He also found all the fixes. That was obvious against No. 14 Syracuse on Saturday, as Dorsey threw four touchdown passes and kept the Hurricanes on track for the national championship game with a 59-0 victory.

Miami (9-0, 6-0 in the Big East) also secured at least a share of the conference title and virtually secured a spot in a bowl championship series game. The Hurricanes want to make sure it is the Rose Bowl. The next two opponents--No. 16 Washington and No. 18 Virginia Tech--are all that stand in their way.

"This football team is a little scary when it hits on all cylinders," Miami Coach Larry Coker said. "This team was challenged and they wanted to make a statement."

Dorsey made a statement. So did tackle Bryant McKinnie, running backs Clinton Portis and Frank Gore, and cornerback Phillip Buchanon as the Hurricanes defeated Syracuse (8-3, 5-1) to end the Orangemen's eight-game winning streak and extend theirs to 19 games.

Dorsey, facing little pressure, was 13 of 20 for 224 yards. He threw two touchdown passes to Andre Johnson and two to Jeremy Shockey, then spent the fourth quarter on the sideline.

"Ken is just a tremendous competitor," Coker said. "You don't understand it until you know what he is all about. If you know him as a person, he is just a very nice young man. But he is a tremendous competitor and perhaps his toughest critic."

McKinnie shut down Dwight Freeney, the NCAA sack leader. Freeney broke the NCAA season record last week with 161/2 sacks, but didn't have a tackle against Miami.

"They're the No. 1 team in the country and they showed it today," Freeney said. "They took advantage of every mistake we made and they ran their base plays to perfection."

Especially in the running game. Portis ran 18 times for 132 yards and scored once, and Gore added 153 yards in 11 carries.

Miami's defense--led by Buchanon--did the rest. The Hurricanes held Syracuse's ball-control, mistake-free, option-style offense to 185 yards.

Buchanon returned an interception 76 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, recovered a fumble that led to a touchdown and a 17-0 lead in the second and added a 17-yard sack. He also returned a punt 59 yards.

"This is absolutely the best team we've played this season," Syracuse Coach Paul Pasqualoni said.

"We never got to a point where we could get anything established. They had us coming and going. We ganged up to stop the run, they hit a receiver. We dropped back, they ran. We were completely out of whack. It seemed like they got us every time.

"If they keep playing like that, they're going to the Rose Bowl."

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