BACK TO THE TOP
One week after falling to No.2 in the Associated Press poll, which ended their string of 16 straight weeks at No.1, the Miami Hurricanes regained the top spot thanks to Oklahoma’s 30-26 loss at Texas A&M, combined with the ‘Canes 26-3 victory over Tennessee.
Not only are the Hurricanes ranked No.1 in both polls, but also the lone holder of first-place votes. Miami gained all 74 first-place votes in the AP Poll, putting them nearly 80 points ahead of Ohio State. The ‘Canes also hold each of the 61 first-place votes in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll, where they hold a 73 point lead over the second-ranked Buckeyes.
The Sooners, along with Bowling Green, fell from the ranks of the unbeaten Saturday, leaving Miami and Ohio State as college football’s lone unbeatens.
”Those things don’t surprise me,” said head coach Larry Coker. “Ten days ago we were going to have numerous undefeated teams and nowhere to go. Now how many do we have?”
Most importantly, the Oklahoma loss guarantees that if Miami wins their final three games, the Hurricanes will get an opportunity to defend their national championship in Tempe, Arizona on Jan. 3. The players, however, still don’t give any attention to the BCS.
“We don’t care about all that BCS stuff, all we care about is repeating as national champions,” said tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. “We are 31-0 since I’ve been here. We control our own destiny.”
MCGAHEE TIES SCHOOL RECORD
Junior tailback Willis McGahee’s one-yard TD plunge with 13:41 to go in the second quarter gave Miami a 13-3 lead. It also marked McGahee’s 17th touchdown of the season, tying Edgerrin James for the single-season record in that category.
McGahee also increased his 129.2 yards a game, picking up 154 on 30 carries. The tailback now has 1186 yards on the year. His seventh 100 yard game of the season puts him one shy of Otis Anderson and Clinton Portis, who hold the school-record with eight. It remains to be seen how much these numbers will aid McGahee’s chances for a Heisman, but there is no doubt that opponents are feeling the mark he leaves.
“McGahee has great speed,” said Tennessee defensive end Omari Hand. “He’s patient and waits for the hole to open. He’s one of the best we’ve faced.”
WILFORK DOESN’T MAKE TRIP
The Miami defensive line shut down the Tennessee attack without one of their fixtures Saturday. Sophomore defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, who at 6-2 and 350 pounds is the biggest of the Hurricanes defensive linemen, missed the game to stay home with his ailing mother Barbara, who suffered a stroke late last week. Coker said there were signs of improvement over the weekend.
”I won’t go into details, but she is doing better now,” Coker said.
As of Sunday, Barbara Wilfork was in the critical care unit at Bethesda Memorial Hospital in Boyton Beach. Her stroke comes less than a year after Vince’s father died from kidney disease. A plane had been arranged to fly Wilfork to Knoxville, but he chose to stay by his mother’s side, especially after reassurances from Coker.
“I said Vince, just relax,” Coker said. “This is football. Go see your mother.”
Coker made one change in the lineup Saturday, as Howard Clark returned to his starting strong-side linebacker spot, replacing freshman Rocky McIntosh, who was suffering from a sprained ankle. McIntosh did see time with the second unit….McGahee bruised his left shoulder on a first-quarter scoring drive but returned to the game shortly thereafter….Placekicker Todd Sievers four field goals tied a Miami record in one game. This was the third time Sievers accomplished the feat and the ninth time a Miami kicker booted four successful field goals
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