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Hurricanes: Win wasn't in doubt

© St. Petersburg Times
published October 14, 2002

CORAL GABLES -- A day later, the euphoria remained.

That's what a win like Saturday's 28-27 thriller over Florida State does. The No. 1 Hurricanes (6-0) have two weeks to prepare for a trip to West Virginia (4-2), though they likely will savor their third straight win over the Seminoles a few more days.

Coach Larry Coker, who danced in the locker room after the win ("That's scary there," he said of a photo of the dance), said it was the best game he had ever been part of. But it is doubtful he felt that way when FSU (5-2) was leading by 13 in the fourth.

But the 'Canes -- who have not lost in 28 games and look to tie the best streak in school history (1990-93) in Morgantown, W.Va. -- said they were confident.

"I knew we were going to win some kind of way," said defensive tackle Jerome McDougle, part of a UM front that allowed FSU to rush for 296 yards (189 by Greg Jones). "Everybody was saying it ... we didn't know who it was going to be or who was going to be or what."

Quarterback Ken Dorsey, who tied his career-high 362 yards, shook off a poor start to lead UM to a pair of fourth-quarter TDs, the biggest play likely being a 68-yard screen pass to Willis McGahee that set up Jason Geathers winning 11-yard TD run.

"Whenever he calls that play, we all get excited," senior guard Sherko Haji-Rasouli said. "It didn't work early in the game, but we knew it wouldthis time."

Added Coker: "Anyone can make plays when it doesn't matter. Ken makes them when the game's on the line." After games against the Mountaineers and Rutgers on Nov. 2, the 'Canes travel to Tennessee.

NOT TALKING: FSU kicker Xavier Beitia, whose 43-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left as time expired, was not the only kicker who could have won the game. He also was not the only one refusing to talk to the media.

Lost in the frantic finish is that Miami punter Freddie Capshaw shanked a 3-yard punt after UM went three and out on its final series. The Seminoles took over at their 46 with 2:05 left. It did not cost Miami the game, but it was another miscue in what has been a long season for Capshaw, who has had numerous high snaps, two punts blocked, one partially blocked.

"We should have never let them come back on the field, our offense should have gotten a first down, but strange things happen in this (series)," center Brett Romberg said.

Special teams coach Don Soldinger downplayed the poor punt.

"What are you going to dwell on something for?" Soldinger said. "That guy has won a lot of games. Last year, he picked up an errant snap (at FSU) and scored a touchdown. That's what I remember."

NOTEWORTHY: Dorsey is the first QB from either school to win three starts in the series, but Romberg, his roommate, was quick to point out "and I'm the first center, too." ... Saturday's game was UM's homecoming, the first time in a decade Miami's opponent wasn't a conference foe, and a weak one at that. Miami is Tennessee's homecoming opponent. ... The sideline was a who's who of former UM players including Jim Kelly, Warren Sapp, Cortez Kennedy, Bennie Blades, Brian Blades, Melvin Bratton, Alonzo Highsmith, Leon Searcy, Derrick Ham, Carlos Huerta, Ryan Clement and Lamar Thomas. Singer/actor Beyonce Knowles and rapper Jay-Z also were spotted. ... For the third straight game, FSU failed to sack Dorsey. Miami had one sack by defensive end Jamaal Green. ... Including Saturday's game, seven contests in the series have been decided by one point, all Miami victories. ... UM has won 20 straight at the Orange Bowl.

FINALLY: "It was a little deja vu ... it was kind of creepy." -- Dorsey on rallying against FSU late, as Miami did in 2000.

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