PASADENA, Calif. They danced their way to the stands, waving white towels at the Miami fans who filled one corner of the Rose Bowl.
Joaquin Gonzalez jumped into a sea of Hurricanes green and orange, and Martin Bibla handed his camera to a security guard, saying, “Take my picture.”
Maurice Sikes yelled, “Take that, Oregon!”
Miami madness is back. The Hurricanes are national champions again.
“It feels better than I thought it would,” running back Clinton Portis said.
The happy Hurricanes left nothing to chance, winning every game and capping a perfect season by embarrassing Nebraska 37-14 in the Bowl Championship Series title game Thursday night.
“If you have any more questions, we”re 12-0,” Miami”s All-American safety Ed Reed said. “There”s a lot of people saying they should be here. If they were, they would have gotten the same treatment.”
With Ken Dorsey throwing three touchdown passes two to wide receiver Andre Johnson Miami rolled to a 34-0 lead in the opening 30 minutes, and the Huskers were history.
Oregon, a 38-16 winner over Colorado in the Fiesta Bowl was hoping for a Nebraska win to claim a share of the title, but the Ducks ended up second in the final polls.
“The only thing I”d be disappointed in is that we didn”t get a shot,” Oregon quarterback Joey Harrington said after watching the game in Phoenix. “You can speculate all you want, but I know we have a very good football team.”
Oregon 38, Colorado 16: Harrington gave the Oregon football program its greatest season, but it wasn”t enough for a share of the National Championship because No. 1 Miami beat No. 4 Nebraska in the Rose Bowl.
No. 2 Oregon”s 38-16 rout of No. 3 Colorado in the Fiesta Bowl on Tuesday gave the Ducks their first 11-win season.
Harrington, 25-3 as a Ducks starter, threw for four touchdowns and 350 yards, and Oregon shut down Colorado”s running game in a contest that was far more one-sided than anyone expected.
“I expected us to win, but the way we did it, I”m kind of surprised,” he said. “Colorado was a very tough team. They were the hottest team in the country, and we played one of our best games against them.”
Samie Parker caught nine passes for 162 yards, including a perfect 79-yarder for a touchdown that put Oregon ahead for good in the second quarter, when the Ducks out-gained the Buffaloes 198 yards to 53.
Oregon”s Steve Smith set a Fiesta Bowl record with three interceptions, and the Ducks” defense ranked 81st in NCAA Division I forced the Buffs to throw.
It was the worst bowl loss ever for the Buffaloes, who rolled into Tempe after a 62-36 rout of Nebraska and a 39-37 victory over Texas in the Big 12 title game.
Florida 56, Maryland 23: Brock Berlin. Rex Grossman. Heck, Steve Spurrier probably could have suited up and thrown for a touchdown or two Wednesday night.
Banished to the bench for the first 24 minutes of the Orange Bowl, Grossman led Florida to touchdowns on his first six drives and the No. 5 Gators set record after record in a 56-23 crushing of No. 6 Maryland.
Grossman threw for 248 yards and four touchdowns. Another so-called backup, third receiver Taylor Jacobs, caught 10 passes for 170 yards, both Orange Bowl records, to help turn Spurrier”s quarterback shuffle into a stunning offensive highlight show.
“It looks pretty easy when everyone is playing well,” said quarterback Brock Berlin, who made his first career start. “Maryland is a good team, but they didn”t match up well, I guess.”
Florida gained 659 yards to break a 49-year-old Orange Bowl record and the Gators showed they might, indeed, have the most talent in the nation, even though they weren”t playing for the national title in the Rose Bowl.
“In a tournament system we”d be probably the No. 2 seed,” said Grossman, who was unexpectedly lifted from the starting lineup for missing curfew. “But we lost our game, so we lost our chance, so we”re not complaining about anything. We”re just glad we won this game and ended on a good note.”
Louisiana State 47, Illinois 34: Rohan Davey, Josh Reed and Domanick Davis set so many records, Louisiana State coach Nick Saban could only stand back and enjoy the show, while saving his toughest words for the crowd.
In the highest-scoring Sugar Bowl ever, Davis ran for four touchdowns, Reed caught two scoring passes from Davey and No. 12 Louisiana State beat No. 7 Illinois 47-34 Tuesday night.
“This is a stepping stone for the school to be thrust into the limelight with all those other great teams,” said Davey, the game”s MVP.
Playing in a game more about poll position than national championship plans, the Tigers (10-3) won their school-record fifth straight bowl. Ahead 27-0 in the second quarter, they held on despite four touchdown passes by Kurt Kittner.
Davis starred while starting in place of injured star LaBrandon Toefield, gaining 122 yards on 28 carries and set a Sugar Bowl mark with four scores. He nearly had a fifth touchdown, but his catch in the end zone was called back because of a penalty.
Reed, an All-American, was open all night and set Sugar records by catching 14 passes for 239 yards. A junior, the Biletnikoff Award winner as the nation”s top receiver scored on grabs of 32 and five yards in what could have been his final college game.
Davey closed out his career by going 31-for-53 for a Sugar-record 444 yards and three touchdowns, guiding an offense that racked up 595 yards.
“Obviously, we”re disappointed with what happened,” Illinois coach Ron Turner said. “We dug ourselves too big a hole and couldn”t get out of it.”