One Down - One To Go
Roscoe (Getty Images)
Roscoe (Getty Images)

Posted Nov 30, 2002

Top-ranked Miami left nothing to chance. Ken Dorsey threw for 345 yards and two touchdown passes and Willis McGahee had two long scoring runs as the Hurricanes moved a step closer to the Fiesta Bowl with an easy 49-7 victory over Syracuse.

Miami (11-0, 6-0 Big East) extended the nation's longest winning streak to 33 games and needs only to defeat Virginia Tech next Saturday to lock up a date with second-ranked Ohio State for the national title on January 3 in Tempe, Arizona.

The Hurricanes, who clinched at least a share of their eighth Big East Conference title, were threatened by Pittsburgh last week before holding on for a 28-21 victory. There was no such tension Saturday at the Carrier Dome, where Dorsey completed TD passes of 23 yards to Ethenic Sands and four yards to Andre Johnson as Miami rolled up 565 total yards.

"It was a great team performance. The offense was clicking," Dorsey said. "We wanted to build some momentum ending the season. We have a tough game next week. I felt very comfortable out there. We had a great game plan and guys were getting open."

Dorsey enhanced his chances for the Heisman Trophy by completing 16-of-25 passes without an interception. His favorite target was Johnson, who caught six passes for 181 yards.

"I said all season that Ken Dorsey is the best quarterback in the country and I think you saw that today," Syracuse coach Paul Pasqualoni said.

Dorsey had to share the spotlight with another Heisman candidate as McGahee had touchdown runs of 61 and 51 yards despite playing with what appeared to be a slight knee injury.

McGahee, who carried 14 times for 134 yards, has rushed for 21 touchdowns this season to extend his own school record and went over the 100-yard mark for the ninth time this season.

The Hurricanes posted their 23rd straight Big East win, while coach Larry Coker improved to 23-0 in his two years at Miami. Coker, always a diplomat, refused to endorse either player for the Heisman Trophy.

"If we win as a team, the individual honors will take care of themselves and I hope that happens this year," Coker said. "I don't want to downplay that, but it's not for me to decide."

The Hurricanes also extended their road winning streak to 17 games.

Syracuse (4-8, 2-5) completed its worst season in 12 years under Pasqualoni, who has come under fire despite a 129-63-1 record at the school. The Orangemen endured their worst season since 1982, when it was 2-9, and the end of the year did not nothing to ease the pain.

"I don't feel relieved at all. I don't feel good," Pasqualoni said. "It kind of makes you sick to your stomach."

Miami set the tone early. Dorsey completed a 19-yard pass to Andre Johnson on Miami's first play from scrimmage and McGahee followed with a 61-yard touchdown run to make it 7-0.

Dorsey led the Hurricanes on a seven-play, 85-yard drive later in the opening quarter. Dorsey completed a 34-yard pass to Johnson and capped the drive with a scoring strike to Ethenic Sands.

The advantage grew to 21-0 early in the third quarter when Dorsey completed passes of 33 yards to Johnson and 19 yards to Jason Geathers before finding Johnson for a three-yard TD pass.

"We knew we had the potential for some very good matchups," Dorsey said of the Syracuse secondary.

One of the few bright spots for Syracuse came late in the first half when it blocked a 48-yard field goal attempt by Todd Sievers and marched downfield for a one-yard touchdown run by Walter Reyes.

Reyes carried 15 times for 110 yards. Troy Nunes completed 18-of-29 passes for 145 yards.

Any chances of a Syracuse comeback ended early in the third quarter when Dorsey lofted a 68-yard pass to Johnson to set up a two-yard TD run by Quadtrine Hill.

McGahee soon exploded on a 51-yard TD run to make it 35-7 in the middle of the second quarter.

In a curious move, Coker called for a fake out of punt formation with the game well in hand as punter Freddie Capshaw threw a 47-yard TD pass to Sean Taylor.

Maurice Sikes capped the scoring with a 53-yard interception return for a score.

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P Freddie Capshaw (profile)
C Larry Coker (profile)
QB Ken Dorsey (profile)
WR Jason Geathers (profile)
RB Quadtrine Hill (profile)
WR Andre Johnson (profile)
WR Ethenic Sands (profile)
DB Maurice Sikes (profile)
DB Sean Taylor (profile)
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