Sports

McGahee now clear focus of UM offense

The ‘Canes won convincingly again behind a relentless rushing attack and a stellar defensive effort.

Wait, is this the same Miami team that would just throw all over its opponents last season en route to a National Championship. Isn’t Ken Dorsey supposed to be this year’s favorite to become just the third player in UM history to win the prestigious Heisman Trophy Award. Both these questions can be answered easily with one person – UM sophomore tailback Willis McGahee.

The Boston College Eagles were the latest victim of the seemingly unstoppable Miami running game in which McGahee ran wild for 135 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns to lead the ‘Canes to a dominating 38-6 victory. Although it is early in the season, McGahee has garnered serious Heisman consideration.

“If it takes us to continuously pound the ball up the throats of our opponents to win, then I am eager to lead the way,” said McGahee. “I just go out there and have fun wearing down the opposing team, but I simply just want to win. I can’t afford to think about any individual awards.”

McGahee, who is fifth in the nation in rushing yards with 552 and tied for third in the nation with seven rushing touchdowns, also caught three Ken Dorsey passes, including a dump off pass in the third quarter that he turned into a 77-yard scamper. The outstanding reception led to a Kellen Winslow touchdown.

“Willis just simply wore down the Boston College defense,” said offensive lineman Sherko Haji-Rasouli. “We (the offensive line) love to run block and enjoy doing so for such a fine back.”

McGahee compiled his third consecutive 100-yard performance following a 134-yard effort vs. Temple last week, and his career high 204-yard game vs. Florida.

“They (Boston College) were bound to break if we kept running right at them,” said McGahee.

McGahee accounted for 221 of the Hurricanes’ 393 yards of total offense, making up for a rather lackluster performance by the rest of the Miami offense.

Even though Dorsey’s numbers look good on the stat sheet, his timing seemed off, as he missed several open receivers downfield. Dorsey was 13-of-26 and threw two touchdowns, but McGahee’s 77-yard reception surely padded these numbers.

Dominating “D”

The Miami defense put forth another stellar performance, forcing three turnovers and scoring a touchdown on their way to holding Boston College to only six points.

Junior middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma led the way with a team-high 12 tackles and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.

“We just took over the tempo of the game,” said Vilma, who’s touchdown was the second of his career, the first coming against FSU last year. “They couldn’t move the ball consistently.”

Cornerback Antrel Rolle had a career night. His interception to close out the first half was the first of his career. The sophomore also recovered a fumble (the first of his career) in the fourth quarter leading to a score.

The Boston College passing game was non-existent, as Eagles’ quarterback Brian St. Pierre was held to 138 yards passing and no touchdowns.

“Our system works extremely well against the pass,” said redshirt freshman cornerback Kelly Jennings. “Although we are a young secondary, we have worked together for a long time. We can stop whatever comes our way.”

The only concern with the UM defensive effort was their ability to stop the run. Boston College rushed for 147 yards on 48 carries. Yet, this seemed to fit into the Miami game plan, as they forced many third and longs.

“You have to realize that Boston College is a powerhouse running team with a very big offensive line,” said sophomore defensive tackle Vince Wilfork. “They did rush for a big total, but that total did not amount to many points. Opponents must be able to mix in a passing game with the running attack if they want any chance against us.”

Rookie Rocky

After seeing very little playing time in Miami’s first three games, linebacker Roger “Rocky” McIntosh made the most of his first career start Saturday. The 6-3, 220-pound redshirt freshman started at strong side linebacker in place of Howard Clark, who, according to a UM spokesman, missed practice this week due to the death of his stepfather.

McIntosh finished the game with a career-high eight tackles.

“It felt really good to be out there, but I was nervous at first,” said McIntosh. “I got over my nerves quickly, and was excited the rest of the way.”

Miscellaneous

Miami extended its nation leading win streak to 26 games, its Orange Bowl win streak to 18 games and its Big East win streak to 19…Ken Dorsey improved to 30-1 as a starter, while Larry Coker upped his perfect record to 16-0…2001 National Championship members Ed Reed, Phillip Buchanon, Markese Fitzgerald, James Lewis and Bryant McKinnie offered sideline support for Miami at the game…The attendance at the Orange Bowl was 73,622, the largest home crowd in the Boston College series… Andre Johnson’s fourth quarter TD reception was the 14th of his career, moving him into a tie for 6th place on the Miami all-time touchdown passes caught list with Eddie Brown (1983-84)…Kellen Winslow’s fourth quarter touchdown was his third career score, all coming this season.

Brian Poliakoff can be reached at b.poliakoff@umiami.edu

September 24, 2002

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The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.