By Times Staff and Wire Reports
Published November 23, 2003
MIAMI - The Hurricanes have been looking for big plays from their tight end.
They got a couple Saturday, but not from the self-anointed "Chosen One," Kellen Winslow.
Backup Kevin Everett, a junior whose biggest play of the season came when he dropped a touchdown against Virginia Tech, scored on a pair of third-quarter passes - a 17-yarder and 5-yarder - from Brock Berlin. The first extended Miami's lead to 13-3; the second 34-3.
"This erases a lot," Everett said. "Everybody was down, the offense couldn't score in the red zone. I tried to pick everyone up."
Everett has two more TDs (three) than Winslow.
"I'm really proud of him," Berlin said. "He really stepped up and made some big catches and we always knew he could do that."
KEY INJURY: Miami center Joel Rodriguez broke his left leg and could miss the rest of the season.
Rodriguez was injured on a third-and-18 play with about seven minutes left in the fourth quarter. He rolled on the ground in pain before getting helped off and used crutches to get to the locker room for X-rays.
Coach Larry Coker said Rodriguez cracked his fibula.
Without Rodriguez, the Hurricanes will shuffle their maligned offensive line against No.21 Pittsburgh on Saturday. Chris Myers will move from right guard to left and Joe McGrath will step in at right guard. McGrath missed the first six games after breaking his right leg in fall practice.
Starting safety Maurice Sikes and reserve linebacker Jarrell Weaver also were injured. Sikes broke his right hand but said he will play against the Panthers. Weaver broke his left foot.
SENIORS (AND WINSLOW?) SAY SAYONARA: UM's seniors played their final game at the Orange Bowl and were honored in pregame ceremonies. Overall, 21 players were recognized, including 17 scholarship athletes and four nonscholarship players.
Winslow, a junior who could be NFL-bound, would not directly say he had played his last home game.
"It really wasn't a big game for me," Winslow said. "It might be my last game, it might not, but most of my friends are leaving."
The group is led by 10 fifth-year seniors who have been a part of the 'Canes resurgence to national prominence after NCAA probation hit the program in the mid '90s. Those players are Larry Anderson, Kevin Beard, Vernon Carey, Chris Harvey, McGrath, Jarrett Payton, Troy Prasek, Sikes, Jim Sikora and Weaver.
The seven who signed in 2000 are Carlos Joseph, Alfonso Marshall, Jason Geathers, Jonathan Vilma, Carl Walker, D.J. Williams and Darrell McClover. The four nonscholarship players are Matt Harper, Tim Kelly, Mike Langley and Jon Mann.
Since 1999, UM has a 53-8 record, including one national championship and three outright Big East titles. In that span, the 'Canes have gone 32-2 against conference foes. In the past four years, UM is 44-4. If the 'Canes win at Pittsburgh and in their bowl game, they will have the most victories in school history over a four-year period.