And Duke shows why it's Duke in the Hurricanes' 52-7 trouncing.
By MICHAEL SNYDER
Published October 9, 2005
Miami receiver Ryan Moore digs up a catch for a second-quarter first down against Duke safety Brian Greene.
MIAMI - There was only one thing proven Saturday at the Orange Bowl - that Miami is worlds better than Duke. Maybe galaxies.
Nothing more, nothing less.
The No. 9 Hurricanes ran roughshod over a Duke squad they were favored to beat by 35 points, scoring on three straight second-quarter possessions that each lasted 40 seconds or less, to rout the Blue Devils 52-7 before 40,315 on a sun-drenched afternoon.
Miami (4-1, 2-1 ACC) piled up 557 yards of offense while holding Duke (1-5, 0-3) to 128. The 'Canes threw for 302 yards while allowing 8 for Duke.
So how good are the 'Canes?
That's a question that likely won't be answered for some time. Miami travels to Temple next weekend before consecutive ACC home games against Georgia Tech and North Carolina. Then comes the showdown with No. 3 Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.
"I told our team it's all about building," Miami coach Larry Coker said. "We haven't put the roof on yet, but I can see the walls coming in."
Miami appears to be able to win on cruise control against teams like Duke.
Just like a week ago against South Florida, Miami had a slow start in the opening quarter. There were penalties, a fumble, an interception, underthrows to open receivers by quarterback Kyle Wright.
None of that mattered. Leading 10-0 in the second quarter, the 'Canes unleashed a deluge of points and the rout was on.
Zip. Wright throws 29 yards to Lance Leggett, who grabs the ball as he's falling into the left corner of the end zone.
Zap. Wright throws to tight end Greg Olsen, who fakes John Talley out at the 7 after a one-handed grab and scores from 18 yards. "I was happy I held on to the ball," Olsen said.
Zig-zag. After a 73-yard punt return for a touchdown by Devin Hester was nullified by a penalty, Wright connected with Sinorice Moss to push Miami's lead to 31-0. Three touchdowns in 4 minutes, 37 seconds.
Coker had challenged the offense, ranked 79th in NCAA Division I coming into this weekend, to get better week, particularly in the red zone.
"I think we got real better this week," Leggett said. "That's the most points we scored all year, so that'll motivate us to go out and work even harder this week." Sure, Miami got sloppy to open the second half. The 'Canes were caught flat-footed on a third-and-11 draw play that saw Ronnie Drummer go up the middle 81 yards for a score. Then Ryan Moore fumbled after a big catch, giving Duke good field position.
But reality set in. Miami is Miami, and Duke ... well, Duke has a great basketball program.
Wright completed 18 of 31 passes for 255 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions before exiting in the third quarter. Backup Kirby Freeman saw the most extensive action of his career and threw his first touchdowns, to Ryan Moore and Chris Zellner.
"The key to our success wasn't who we were playing," Olsen said. "Our offense finally started to click. The running game was great, the passing game was great and we're starting to know where we can be."
An ACC championship and BCS game perhaps?
Although as safety Brandon Meriweather cautioned, Virginia Tech held the Blue Devils to 35 yards, so there's room for improvement.
"It's something to build on," Leggett said. "You can't just say it's Duke, you still have to go out and play football."