No. 1 Miami 45, West Virginia 3
Friday, October 26th 2001, 12:00 am
News On 6
MIAMI (AP) _ Ken Dorsey is one touchdown pass away from breaking Miami's school record. He could be five wins away from an even bigger goal _ playing for a national championship.
Dorsey threw two touchdown passes, tying the school record of 48 held by Steve Walsh and Vinny Testaverde, and top-ranked Miami overcame a slow start and a sloppy field to beat West Virginia 45-3 Thursday night.
It was the Hurricanes' 16th consecutive victory, keeping them at the forefront of the national title picture.
``Winning is all that really matters, but it's a great honor for me because that record is held by such great players, people who have proven themselves time and time again in the past,'' Dorsey said.
The Hurricanes, fourth in the Bowl Championship Series standings behind Oklahoma, Nebraska and UCLA, wanted to win impressively and possibly gain ground on the leaders.
Miami was impressive. Despite a lethargic first quarter, the 'Canes (6-0, 3-0 Big East) dominated West Virginia (2-5, 0-3). They rolled up 436 yards on offense, had five sacks and forced six turnovers.
``We know how we need to play to win,'' Miami coach Larry Coker said. ``In the second half, we really opened it up and played well and played great defense. Hopefully, that impresses the BCS or the people that make those decisions.''
The Hurricanes used three first-half interceptions to change the momentum. Safety Ed Reed intercepted a pass that led to Miami's first touchdown and a 10-3 lead.
West Virginia looked like it might tie the game at 10, but James Lewis intercepted another pass and returned it 74 yards for a score. The Mountaineers were driving again with less than a minute to play in the first half when Reed picked off another one to thwart any scoring chance.
``The world was watching and we wanted to make a good impression as a great team and a contender for the national championship,'' said Reed, who also had a fumble recovery.
The Hurricanes ran away from there, scoring 28 second-half points behind backup running back Frank Gore.
Gore, a freshman from Miami, had six carries for 124 yards and two touchdowns. He had a 45-yard TD run in the third quarter and added a 49-yarder in the fourth.
``We're not a real good football team,'' West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez said. ``We need to get better.''
Avon Cobourne was the lone bright spot for the Mountaineers, running for 132 yards.
Miami's Clinton Portis had 76 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries before giving way to Gore. With the game in hand, Portis sat out most of the fourth quarter _ as did most starters, including Dorsey.
Dorsey didn't look particular sharp in the steady rain. He was 16-of-27 for 192 yards and threw an interception. He also fumbled once.
``I don't think Ken was in a good rhythm in the first half,'' Coker said. ``He made some plays, but when we look at the first half, it won't be one of his better first halves. He was a little off balance and he was rushing some throws. It wasn't a typical Ken Dorsey first half.''
It was still good enough to tie the record, though.
Now he hopes to join Walsh and Testaverde in another category _ championships. Walsh, who was on hand Thursday night, led the Hurricanes to the 1987 title. Testaverde earned a ring as part of the 1983 championship team.
``To be mentioned in the same sentence as those guys is a great honor,'' said Dorsey, who tied the touchdown mark in 22 games.