Nov. 11, 2000
No. 2 Miami 35, Pittsburgh 7
By MARK LONG
AP Sports Writer
MIAMI -- Miami coach Butch Davis refused to run up the score Saturday against Pittsburgh. It could hurt the No. 2 Hurricanes in the Bowl Championship Series rankings.
Ken Dorsey threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score as Miami overcame a slow start to beat the Panthers 35-7 and remain in the hunt for the national championship.
"Crucify me, but it would have been much worse if we had lost Ken Dorsey or Damione Lewis to an injury with the game out of reach," Davis said. "You'd like to think that 35-7 was enough. Everybody says that winning by 20 points is enough, that they don't give you any more for 20 than they do for a 1,000."
Dorsey was sharp, completing 22 of 35 passes for 264 yards. So was Miami's defense, which forced three turnovers, had two sacks and held Antonio Bryant, the nation's leading receiver, to 31 yards on four catches.
"Offensively we made some mistakes," Pittsburgh coach Walt Harris said. "To have a chance to win against one of the best teams in the nation, we had to play the way we were coached and we didn't do it."
Even though Miami (8-1, 5-0 Big East) needed to make up ground in the eight Bowl Championship Series computer polls, seven of which factor in margin of victory, Davis pulled most of his offensive starters midway through the fourth quarter and ran the ball extensively.
The Hurricanes are third in the latest BCS rankings, a little more than three-tenths of a point behind Florida State. The top two teams in the final BCS standings will play in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 3. Miami finishes the season at Syracuse and at home against Boston College.
"We're just going to play and hope things go our way," cornerback Phillip Buchanon said.
Players and coaches received updates of No. 1 Oklahoma's game at Texas A&M. A side judge told Davis the halftime score, and then a Miami official updated him after Miami's win, telling him the Aggies were leading by 10 in the fourth quarter.
Davis responded: "Go get 'em Aggies."
Unfortunately for Miami, Oklahoma rallied for a 35-31 win.
"The BCS is going to be the BCS whether we win or lose, so we don't worry about," receiver Santana Moss said.
The Hurricanes failed to score twice inside Pittsburgh's 15 in the first half. The Panthers (5-4, 2-3 Big East) moved the ball well before halftime, gaining 148 yards.
But John Turman threw two first-half interceptions, including one that was returned 71 yards by Buchanon for a score.
Turman's 4-yard TD pass to Kris Wilson in the second quarter gave Pittsburgh a 7-6 lead. The Hurricanes, though, scored 29 unanswered points after missing two good early scoring opportunities. Dorsey's 1-yard run gave Miami a 13-7 halftime lead and started the scoring.
The 'Canes were stopped on a fourth-and-2 from Pittsburgh's 12 and a fourth-and-goal from the 1 in the closing seconds of the half.
"There were times in the first half that it seemed we were out of sync," Davis said. "I was disappointed that we left some opportunities to score out there on the field. But we got stronger and stronger as the game went on."
Miami rebounded by scoring touchdowns on three of its first four second-half possessions.
Mike Rumph caused Pittsburgh's Kevan Barlow to fumble on the first play of the second half, and Miami scored six plays later.
"We took off from there and never looked back," linebacker Dan Morgan said.
Dorsey hit a wide open Ivan Mercer for the score, then found Reggie Wayne on a slant pass on the next possession. James Jackson's 7-yard run capped the scoring early in the fourth quarter.
Jackson ran for 89 yards on 19 carries. Moss caught six passes for 100 yards and set the school record for career receiving yards.
Moss broke Michael Irvin's mark of 2,423 yards set in 1987. Moss has 2,462 yards receiving. Morgan also became Miami's all-time leading tackler, breaking George Mira Jr.'s mark of 490.
"It's nice to have that over with," said Morgan, who finished with 13 tackles. "It's been fun leading up to it."
Turman was 17-of-31 for the Panthers. Bryant, who entered the game as the nation's leading receiver at 149 yards per game, was held in check. Buchanon had both interceptions for Miami.
Pitt Earns Invitation to New Era Pinstripe Bowl
Ejuan Price Named Finalist for Ted Hendricks Award
Brian O'Neill Selected as a Piesman Trophy Finalist
James Conner Named Winner Of ACC's Brian Piccolo Award
JAMES CONNER TOOK A HEROIC ROAD TO 1,000 YARDS
Bugg, Henderson Earn First National Bank Weekly Honors