CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) Miami coach Larry Coker thought his top-ranked Hurricanes played a near-perfect game against then-No. 14 Syracuse.
After reviewing the tape yesterday, he realized he was right. Miami (6-0, 9-0) racked up 566 yards of offense, didn”t have a turnover and recorded its third shutout of the season in holding Syracuse to 185 total yards.
“It was about like we saw,” Coker said yesterday. “We thought we played very, very well, and really we did.”
Ken Dorsey threw four touchdown passes, Clinton Portis and Frank Gore each ran for more than 100 yards the first time the Hurricanes have had two 100-yard rushers in a game since 1997 and tackle Bryant McKinnie shut down NCAA sack leader Dwight Freeney, who didn”t even have a tackle.
The Orangemen (5-1, 8-3) didn”t cross midfield until the third quarter, but even then, a sack pushed them back across the 50-yard line. Syracuse advanced to Miami 27 in the fourth quarter, then threw an interception.
The Hurricanes, who have the nation”s longest winning streak at 19 games, clinched at least a share of the conference title and virtually locked up a spot in a Bowl Championship Series game.
They also regained the top spot in the USA Today/ESPN coaches” poll Sunday, moving back in front of Nebraska (11-0). That should help Miami solidify its No. 2 ranking in the BCS standings released Monday.
Brigham Young 24, Utah 21: There might be some BCS for BYU after all.
Luke Staley had two touchdowns and a two point conversion in the final three and a half minutes as BYU rallied from an 11-point deficit to beat rival Utah 24-21, keeping the Cougars undefeated and on track for a possible BCS game.
BYU (7-0, 11-0) won the Mountain West title and a berth in the Liberty Bowl against Louisville. School officials were careful to say they”re happy for that, but clearly the Cougars are thinking bigger. They expect to play in a major bowl game.
“There”s a little destiny here,” quarterback Brandon Doman said. “We win these next two games, we”ll get in somewhere. That”s my feeling. If they hold us out, they”re going to have a big-time war on their hands.”
With representatives from the Fiesta and Sugar Bowls watching Saturday night, BYU stunned the rival Utes (4-2, 7-3).
While the Mountain West champ doesn”t automatically qualify for the BCS, the Cougars might become the first outsiders to crash the big-money games if they can win Dec. 1 at Mississippi State and at Hawaii one week later.
Florida 37, Florida State 13: Rex Grossman and a smothering Florida defense were every bit as good as Bobby Bowden feared.
Grossman threw for 290 yards and two touchdowns and the fourth-ranked Gators came up with two key defensive stops to ease to a 37-13 victory over No. 21 Florida State.
The Gators (9-1) weren”t perfect, but they were good enough to validate Bowden”s fears. The coach was only half kidding last week when he said the Seminoles would need a miracle to win in this, a game in which they were an unheard-of 15-point underdog.
“I don”t know how you hold them down they”ve got so many guns,” Bowden said. “They remind me of us the last couple years.”
The victory kept the Gators in the thick of the national-title picture although that loss to Auburn last month could still prove their undoing. It was also convincing enough to knock Florida State (6-4) out of The Associated Press poll for the first time since early in the 1989 season.
Washington 26, Washington State 14: Cody Pickett threw for a career-high 371 yards and freshman receiver Reggie Williams had his best game yet with 11 catches for 203 yards as No. 16 Washington beat No. 9 Washington State 26-14 in the Apple Cup on yesterday.
Only seven days earlier, the Huskies (6-2, 8-2) felt like nothing went right in a 49-24 loss to Oregon State. It was Washington State”s turn for one of those frustrating days.
The Pac-10″s turnaround team couldn”t keep it up through the game that mattered most.
The Cougars (6-2, 9-2) had first-and-goal three times and couldn”t score. They committed four turnovers and couldn”t count on the players they have all season: quarterback Jason Gesser, running back Dave Minnich, receiver Nakoa McElrath, and their secondary.
It cost them a chance at a share of the Pac-10 title and a top-tier bowl game. Instead the Cougars likely will be playing in the Sun Bowl on Dec. 31.
With Washington State”s loss, No. 7 Oregon clinches at least a tie for the conference championship and the Pac-10″s Bowl Championship Series berth.
The Huskies probably will be invited to the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 28 in San Diego. Representatives of the Fiesta, Holiday, Sun and Seattle bowls attended the game.
Maryland 23, North Carolina State 19 First-year coach Ralph Friedgen and Maryland had come so far this season, they were not about to let this opportunity slip away.
Picked to finish far back in the Atlantic Coast Conference pack this season, the Terrapins capped off one of the more improbable runs to the league title with an improbable comeback Saturday night to beat North Carolina State 23-19.
Maryland (7-1, 10-1) earned the ACC”s berth in the Bowl Championship Series and is possibly headed to the Orange. The Terrapins” last major bowl was the 1977 Cotton.
“This is a tribute to our players,” Friedgen said. “Talk about persevering and never giving up and never getting down.”
Friedgen pumped his first in the air as the clock hit zero, becoming the first rookie coach to win the ACC crown in his initial season in the league.
He also led the Terrapins to their first 10-win season since 1976 and fifth in school history.