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Dorsey delivers as 'Canes pull away

MIAMI 40, W. VA. 23: The senior quarterback has a career best 422 yards and two touchdowns.

©Associated Press

October 27, 2002

MIAMI 40, W. VA. 23: The senior quarterback has a career best 422 yards and two touchdowns.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Miami's run defense had another poor showing, so Ken Dorsey came to the rescue with his best game.

Dorsey threw for a career-high 422 yards and two touchdowns as top-ranked Miami defeated West Virginia 40-23 Saturday.

He set school career records for completions (564), yards passing (8,024) and total offense (7,981), all set by Gino Torretta from 1989-92.

Except for two career categories, Dorsey has surpassed Heisman Trophy winners Torretta and Vinny Testaverde, along with Bernie Kosar, Craig Erickson and Steve Walsh.

"Ken has been so steady and so good that you sometimes take him for granted as a football coach," Miami coach Larry Coker said.

The Hurricanes (7-0, 3-0 Big East) pulled away from a 17-all third-quarter tie to extend the nation's longest winning streak to 29, equaling the school record set from 1990-92. The streak started in Morgantown two years ago.

West Virginia (5-3, 2-1) stayed in the game because it was able to run.

Just like two weeks ago against Florida State, Miami's run defense was pummeled. This time it was Avon Cobourne, backup Quincy Wilson and quarterback Rasheed Marshall doing the damage, as the Hurricanes allowed a season-high 363 yards on the ground.

"Every team is going to try to rush on us," said Miami defensive end Andrew Williams, a former Hillsborough High standout. "Other teams will get 300 yards also if they don't pass."

Cobourne, the nation's third-leading rusher, had 26 carries for 175 yards, his sixth 100-yard effort of the season.

"I don't know what happened. I can't explain it until we actually watch the film," UM linebacker Jonathan Vilma said. "We made a couple of adjustments and played better ball the second half."

The Hurricanes were held to a season-low 102 yards rushing but Willis McGahee showed he was healed from a turf toe injury with 112 yards and three short scores.

Dorsey overcame a sluggish first half to finish 22-of-36. His high for yards had been 362 against Nebraska in January's Rose Bowl and against FSU.

"Gino can't give me a hard time after today," Dorsey said with a smile. "We have such a good friendship that we can joke about things like that."

Dorsey, 33-1 as a starter, is within one touchdown pass of tying the Big East mark of 77 set by Syracuse's Donovan McNabb from 1995-98.

West Virginia ran out of steam late in the third quarter and Miami scored the final 16 points.

"We're not into moral victories, so don't even ask that," West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez said. "In the fourth quarter, we had a couple of breakdowns and we couldn't make plays. They did. That was the difference."

With UM leading 24-23, Dorsey hit Andre Johnson with an 11-yard score late in the third. UM missed the extra point. On its next possession, Miami went 87 yards in 51 seconds. Dorsey passed for 82 yards on the drive, which was capped by McGahee's 1-yard plunge for a 37-23 lead one minute into the fourth quarter.

With UM up 17-10, McGahee fumbled on the first play of the second half, and West Virginia's Kevin Freeman recovered at the Hurricanes 14. On third down, Marshall reacted to a blitz by darting to his left for a 13-yard touchdown to tie it at 17.

The Mountaineers started coming unglued after a personal-foul penalty on a punt. Miami needed three plays to take the lead for good. Dorsey faked a handoff to McGahee, then found him down the right sideline for a 57-yard gain to the 2. McGahee scored two plays later for a 24-17 lead.

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