Less than fifteen minutes after the conclusion of the Connecticut game, one could already hear the infamous Seminoles war chant in the Hurricane locker room, which meant only one thing: It’s time to prepare for Florida State.
The Hurricanes reached that stage with ease Saturday, defeating the Connecticut Huskies 48-14 at the Orange Bowl. Miami got off to a quick start, scoring on their first drive en route to a 42-0 halftime advantage. Quarterback Ken Dorsey liked what he saw from the ‘Canes for the most part.
“I like to think we have a pretty good football team,” Dorsey said. “We played the way we wanted to play, and we kind of put it all together in this game.”
Once again, Willis McGahee electrified the crowd as well as providing the Hurricanes with several key runs in the first half. McGahee, who finished the contest with 107 yards on 11 carries, scored three first half touchdowns for the Hurricanes. McGahee’s play was one of the reasons why UCONN head coach Randy Edsall could do nothing but admire the Hurricanes talent after the game.
“What are you going to say? That’s the No. 1 team in the country, far and away,” Edsall said. “I think they’ll run the table again and be the national champion.”
After a blocked punt by Sean Taylor ended the Huskies first possession, Miami took over at the UCONN 17-yard line. Three plays later, McGahee’s 15-yard scamper down the left sideline marked the first opening drive score for the Hurricanes this season. McGahee’s other two touchdowns, on runs of 15 and 11 yards respectively, gave the ‘Canes a 21- point cushion early in the second half.
The Hurricane defense got into the act as well in the first half, holding UCONN off the scoreboard. The highlight of the Hurricanes defensive play came when Andrew Williams recovered a fumble off a Vince Wilfork sack. Williams took it 56 yards for a Miami touchdown, the first of the career for the senior defensive end.
“They came out passing and were switching things a lot,” said defensive end Jamal Green. “We were able to react well to that.”
Ken Dorsey had arguably his best game this season, completing 19 of 26 passes for 216 yards and three touchdowns. Two of the touchdown strikes went to Kevin Beard, who awoke from a disappointing year so far to catch five balls for 51 yards.
The Huskies offense finally showed some production in the second half, gaining a bulk of their 190 yards against the Hurricanes second-team defense. Orlovsky hooked up with tight end Tommy Collins for a 14-yard score, and UCONN got their second touchdown thanks to a blocked punt return by Ezra Carey.
“For the most part, we showed great speed today, but we had a lot more opportunities to make plays,” Green said. “We need to step it up and play a complete four quarters of football.”
The defense may have been a little too comfortable protecting a big lead, but the offense had no complaints about their play. Miami gained 498 yards of total offense, including 214 yards on the ground. Jason Geathers, coming off two unproductive games, spelled McGahee nicely throughout much of the second quarter, picking up 82 yards on nine carries.
With the victory, the Hurricanes improve their record to 5-0 and remain the consensus No.1 in yet another week of crazy college football. However, the focus in the locker room was not on the unblemished record, but rather the test awaiting Miami come Saturday.
“We know what FSU is all about and what they will bring to the table,” said offensive lineman Sherko Haji-Rasouli. “It’s a big rivalry and we are expecting a tough game.”
The Seminoles are 5-1 on the season, but have struggled in several of their contests. In addition to an overtime loss at unranked Louisville, Florida State has looked sluggish in close victories against Iowa State and Clemson.
Head Coach Larry Coker has no doubt, though, that Miami will see a major test Saturday afternoon from their in-state rivals.
“Obviously the level of play next Saturday will be much higher,” Coker said. “There’s no doubt about it – Florida State, Connecticut, it’s a different ballgame.”
You can reach Jeremy Marks-Peltz at firstname.lastname@example.org.