Canes W (Getty Images)
Willis McGahee scored three touchdowns on the ground and Ken Dorsey threw for three more scores, leading top-ranked Miami- Florida to a 48-14 victory over Connecticut at the Orange Bowl. The Hurricanes (5-0) opened a 42-0 lead in the first half and cruised in the second to extend the nation's longest winning streak to 27 games, two shy of Miami's all-time record set from 1990-93.
The Hurricanes have also won 19 straight at the Orange Bowl, the second-longest active home winning streak in the nation. Nebraska beat I-AA McNeese State, 38-14, on Saturday for its 25th consecutive home victory.
Dan Orlovsky guided the Huskies (2-4) with one touchdown pass, but the team's 14 points came after many of the Miami starters were sidelined to avoid injury. Connecticut, one of six Division I-A Independents in the NCAA, met Miami for the first time on the gridiron. The schools will clash annually when the Huskies join the Big East in 2005.
McGahee, who crossed the 100-yard rushing plateau for the fourth straight game, opened the scoring with three straight rushing touchdowns to give Miami a 21-0 advantage just seconds into the second quarter.
Miami special teams earned the game's first big play when Adam Coles had his punt blocked and Sean Taylor recovered for the Hurricanes and returned the ball 13 yards to the Connecticut 17-yard line. Two plays later, McGahee scored on a 15-yard run.
Connecticut drove the ball to the Miami 33-yard line, but a false-start penalty and a sack stalled the Huskies' drive. Adam Coles punted away 29 yards and the Hurricanes took over at their own 15-yard line.
McGahee guided Miami down the field with four carries for 41 yards, including his second 15-yard touchdown, which made the score 14-0 with 3:34 remaining in the opening frame.
The Miami defense then held Connecticut to three-and-out, and the Hurricanes took over at their own 28-yard line.
This time Dorsey took charge, completing 4-of-6 passes for 57 yards, and McGahee found the end zone again on an 11-yard run, making the score 21-0.
Vince Wilfork then forced Orlovsky to fumble on a six-yard sack. Andrew Williams scooped up the loose football and lumbered 56 yards for a touchdown.
The Huskies were forced to punt again, and the snap went high over Coles' head. But Coles was able to retreat and had time to kick the ball away. The punt went just 24 yards from scrimmage, but Coles saved certain disaster.
Dorsey was then intercepted by Roy Hopkins on a deep pass at the Connecticut five-yard line, and the Huskies drove into Miami territory for the second time in the game. However, the march stalled at the 44-yard line, and Coles' punt was downed at the Miami 10.
However, Geathers turned the momentum back in Miami's favor with a 50-yard run down to the Connecticut 25-yard line. Five plays later, Dorsey completed a four-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Beard to give the Hurricanes a 35-0 cushion.
Miami got the ball right back after again holding the Huskies to three-and- out, and closed out the scoring with another touchdown pass to Beard, this time from eight yards out. The score was set up by a 28-yard run by Jarrett Payton.
Chandler Poole rushed off right tackle for 35 yards to put the ball inside Miami's territory for the third time in the half. However, the Huskies stalled again, and went into the locker room trailing 42-0.
Dorsey opened the scoring in the second half with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Ethenic Sands, capping a 12-play, 86-yard drive. Dorsey, who completed 6-of-8 passes for 54 yards on the march, was called for unsportsmanlike conduct for taunting, and Todd Sievers missed the extended extra-point, keeping the score at 48-0.
Dorsey then was rested on the sideline in favor of backup Derrick Crudup, and the Huskies showed they would roll over as they scored 14 straight points.
Crudup led Miami's second unit down to the Connecticut 35-yard line, but his pass on 4th-and-5 fell incomplete.
Deon Anderson put the Huskies in Miami territory with three carries for 29 yards, and a face-mask penalty gave Connecticut a first down at the Hurricanes' 13-yard line. Two plays later, the Huskies avoided the shutout when Orlovsky found Tommy Collins open over the middle for a 13-yard touchdown.
The Huskies then held Miami to three-and-out, and Freddie Capshaw had his first punt of the game blocked by Dwaun Black. Ezra Carey picked up the loose ball and ran five yards into the end zone to make the score a more respectable 48-14.
The Hurricanes, who host No. 11 Florida State next week, will likely remain at No. 1 in the Top-25 poll for the 18th straight week. Notre Dame holds the all- time record for longest streaks atop the AP poll with 19 straight No. 1 appearances...The Hurricanes have scored 235 points this season, the most productive output for the first five games in school history, surpassing the 2000 mark of 228 points...Miami has won 106 straight games when scoring 30 or more points since a 31-30 loss at Notre Dame in 1988.