Hurricanes Storm Late
Marshall (R. Schultz, AP)
Marshall (R. Schultz, AP)

Posted Nov 2, 2002


Willis McGahee rushed for 187 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries and Ken Dorsey threw for two more scores to lead top- ranked Miami-Florida to a 42-17 comeback victory on the road against Rutgers. The defending national champions trailed 17-14, but scored 28 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to extend the nation's longest winning streak to a school-record 30 games.

Dorsey, who suffered a finger injury on his left hand in the third quarter, led the Hurricanes (8-0, 4-0 Big East) back from the deficit by completing 16- of-32 passes for 191 yards with an interception. The Heisman candidate, who has thrown 20 touchdown passes against nine interceptions this season, surpassed Syracuse's Donovan McNabb (1995-98) for the Big East record with 78 touchdown passes in his career.

Meanwhile, McGahee passed the 1,000-yard mark on the season with 1,034 yards on 160 carries to help Miami win its 15th straight game on the road and its 21st consecutive conference victory, extending its own Big East record.

Ryan Hart completed just 9-of-24 passes for 110 yards with two interceptions and his backup Ted Trump did not fare any better, completing just 1-of-4 passes for seven yards with an interception. Clarence Pittman gained only 26 yards on 14 carries with a touchdown, while Markis Facyson was held to 36 yards on 14 carries. The Scarlet Knights (1-8, 0-5) held a lead into the fourth quarter with dominant field position, but fell apart after losing their edge.

Dorsey took advantage of a short field to give Miami a 21-17 lead with 13:47 remaining in the fourth quarter. After taking over possession at the Rutgers 38-yard line following a 16-yard punt return by Ethenic Sands, Dorsey completed a pair of passes to Andre Johnson for 34 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown strike over the middle.

Things began to snowball for Rutgers as Facyson was only able to reach the 10- yard line on the ensuing kickoff. Facing 3rd-and-10, Trump threw a wobbling pass along the sideline that floated into the arms of Kelly Jennings, giving Miami possession at the 21-yard line.

Dorsey found Jason Geathers open for a 20-yard gain to set up 1st-and-goal at the one-yard line, but the Scarlet Knights' defense held for three downs. However, Miami head coach Larry Coker kept the offense on the field facing 4th-and-goal just a foot from the end zone. Dorsey faked a handoff to McGahee and rolled out to his right, where Winslow was wide open for a touchdown. The score extended the Miami lead to 28-17 with 10:04 remaining.

Hart was then intercepted by Alfons Marshall, who returned the pick 34 yards to the Rutgers four-yard line. McGahee ran untouched into the end zone on the next play to seal the victory for Miami.

Derrick Crudup stepped in for Dorsey and completed a 33-yard touchdown pass to David Williams to close out the scoring. Crudup collected his second touchdown pass of the season.

Miami crushed Rutgers 61-0 in last year's contest at the Orange Bowl and demolished the Scarlet Knights, 64-6, in the last meeting at Rutgers Stadium in 2000.

Rutgers got off to a promising start by taking the game's opening drive to the end zone for an early 7-0 lead. Hart completed three passes for 64 yards, including a 40-yard completion to a wide open Aaron Martin to the Miami one- yard line. Pittman plunged into the end zone on the next play to give the Scarlet Knights the surprising advantage.

Miami faced 3rd-and-inches on its first possession, and McGahee broke a run for 68 yards to swing the momentum in the Hurricanes' favor. However, Miami could not keep the drive going and had to settle for a 29-yard field goal by Todd Sievers.

The Scarlet Knights again moved the football on their next possession, but had to punt away. However, Mike Barr's punt pinned Miami at its own 12-yard line. Dorsey completed a 55-yard pass to Sands, but the large gain was negated by an illegal motion penalty, and the 'Canes eventually were forced to punt.

However, Hart was intercepted by Sean Taylor on the first play of the second quarter, and Taylor returned the ball 49 yards to the Rutgers 21-yard line. But the Scarlet Knights' defense held again, as Dorsey's 3rd-and-goal pass into the end zone was batted down. Sievers hit a 24-yard field goal to draw the 'Canes within one, trailing 7-6.

Miami finally took its first lead of the game with 10:54 remaining in the half, when the shotgun snap to Hart was low and rolled into the end zone. Pittman was forced to pitch the ball out of play to avoid a defensive touchdown, but the safety gave Miami an 8-7 edge.

The 'Canes could not take advantage of the potential for good field position after the free kick, as Sands was only able to return the ball to the Miami 37-yard line. Dorsey was then intercepted by Brandon Haw, who hauled in a deflected pass at the Rutgers 38-yard line.

The Scarlet Knights were held to three-and-out, but returned the favor on defense. Freddie Capshaw shanked the ensuing punt and gave Rutgers possession near midfield. Rutgers could not move the ball down field, but Barr again pinned the 'Canes at their own 15-yard line.

Miami faced 3rd-and-19, but Winslow could not hang on to a pass over the middle. Capshaw, who was forced to punt from his own end zone, was able to only get the ball to his own 29-yard line.

Ryan Sands then drilled a 38-yard field goal to give the Scarlet Knights a 10-8 advantage with four minutes left in the half.

A personal foul penalty on the ensuing kickoff pinned Miami at its own 10-yard line, and the Scarlet Knights continued their excellent play on defense by holding the 'Canes to three-and-out. Rutgers then brought a huge blitz on the punt, and Capshaw's kick was blocked by the right hand of Jason Nugent. The ball bounced right to Shawn Seabrooks who ran untouched into the end zone for the touchdown. The score extended Rutgers' lead to 17-8 with 2:17 on the clock.

McGahee regrouped the 'Canes with a 43-yard run on Miami's first play after the kickoff, and Dorsey ran for a nine-yard gain to set up 3rd-and-goal from the Rutgers' five-yard line. Dorsey looked for Ethenic Sands in the end zone, but his pass was intercepted by Nathan Jones, who sprinted down the left sideline, avoided Dorsey, and scored on a 102-yard return. Rutgers would have led 24-8 with the extra-point, however, the play was negated by a defensive holding penalty prior to the interception, which gave the 'Canes 1st-and-goal. McGahee scored on a two-yard run on the next play. Rutgers blocked another kick, as Gary Gibson batted down the extra point.

Still holding an improbable 17-14 advantage, the Scarlet Knights took a knee and went into the locker room with the three-point edge.

Miami had a chance for excellent field position early in the second half after pinning Rutgers deep. However, Barr blasted a 53-yard punt from his own end zone, and Ethenic Sands lost 10 yards on the return to push the 'Canes back to their own 30-yard line.

Ryan Sands had a chance to open the scoring in the second half with a 28-yard field goal, but Rutgers coach Greg Schiano called a fake. The holder, Sean Carty, took the snap and rolled out to his left, looking to pass into the end zone. However, there were no receivers open, and Carty was tackled short of the first-down marker. Rutgers faced 3rd-and-2 on the drive at the Miami six- yard line, but defensive tackle Vince Wilfork stuffed Facyson for a three-yard loss to force fourth down.

After forcing Miami to punt, the Scarlet Knights took over at their own 20- yard line. However, an intentional grounding penalty drove Rutgers back, and Ethenic Sands returned a 40-yard punt 16 yards to the Scarlet Knights' 38-yard line.

Game Notes: Miami has converted 3-of-6 fourth-down opportunities this season...McGahee has 16 rushing touchdowns this season...The Scarlet Knights led at halftime over a No. 1 team for the first time...Rutgers recorded its fourth special teams touchdown of the season...The Scarlet Knights fell to 0-10 all-time against Miami.


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