Penn State Done - Rutgers Next
Our best-case scenario became a reality when Miami did more than just stand their ground. UM pushed and Penn State never pushed back as the Canes went into Happy Valley and kicked the ever-loving hell out of Paterno's boys.
Miami embarrassed them. Made them look as if they didn't belong on the same field. Had fans wondering if this was Penn State or Penn -- if JoePa should spend the next week back at drawing board or resigning and playing shuffleboard.
Ken Dorsey's game was trump tight. Spreading it out to eight different receivers for 344 yards and three touchdowns is not bad for a championship game let alone a season opener. Had Kevin Beard held onto the pass that hit him in stride, #11 would've been over the 400 mark and would still be interception free. Regardless, Dorsey was electric. You could see it in his eyes pregame. There would be no repeat of last season's Washington performance. From a boy to a man in the span of 11 games, Ken Dorsey will win the Heisman Trophy in 2001. Bet the house on it.
If you do decide to lay down some money, pick the Canes to head to Pasadena while you are at it. No Miami opponent will penetrate this offensive line, stop this arsenal of running backs or contain these receivers. Conversely, Miami's defensive line will cut through opposing o-lines like a hot knife through butter. McDougle, Joseph, Walters and Williams ate Penn State alive. Just wait until the Greens are healthy and back in the starting lineup. If I'm an offensive coordinator facing Miami, I am scared to death and began drawing up my team's game plan at halftime of the Penn State massacre.
There is only one opponent on the Canes' schedule to be wary of. The only pitfall of the 2001 season. It's not Washington. The revenge factor is there, Marques Tuiasosopo isn't and the puppies are coming to our house. Florida State? I think not. Chris Rix is already shaking in his boots, their receivers are M.I.A. and what running game they had left with Travis Minor. The Noles' defense couldn't stop Miami in 2000 and it will be more of the same this year. The Vick-less Tech Hokies are now Suggs-less as well. Kiss that December 1st upset goodbye, Beamer.
No, the only roadblock for the Canes this season resides in Coral Gables. The Miami Hurricanes are their own worst enemy.
Sloppy play is all that will kill Miami. You can get away with 14 penalties for 120 yards when you have earned that 30-0 halftime lead. Kevin Beard can afford to bobble a perfect 40 plus yard strike from Dorsey right into a PSU defender's arms with a four-touchdown lead. Willis McGahee can fumble away another potential score at the goal line when the Nittany Lions' offense hadn't found their way into the end zone until the game's final 10 minutes.
Just don't do in with a six-point lead in Tallahassee going into the final two minutes. Don't give a Virginia Tech that little boost of pre-halftime momentum before heading into the locker room. Better teams will capitalize on the Canes' mistakes. Penn State just didn't have the talent or heart.
Fortunately for the Miami, all the bugs can be worked out this weekend when lowly Rutgers comes to the Orange Bowl.
The Scarlet Knights are 0-8 against the Canes with the past four meetings all blowouts. Former UM defensive coordinator and current Rutgers skipper Greg Schiano held RU's offense to 6 points in last year's contest while Coker's offense hung 64 point on the scoreboard.
Expect more of the same this Saturday.
Rutgers' quarterback Ryan Cubit made his first career start last weekend in a 31-15 win over the University of Buffalo Bulls – a squad posting a 2-20 record the past two seasons. This weekend he'll face a Miami defense that could probably outplay the Buffalo Bills. After a slow start, Cubit went 11-for-23 for 157 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Think the Canes' secondary isn't licking their chops at those stats? Rumph and Reed can start building a highlight reel for their run at the Thorpe Award with this shaky 18-year old coming to town.
On the ground the Knight's Dennis Thomas rushed for a career high 177 yards and a touchdown last weekend. He'll be lucky to get 17 yards against the Canes.
As for Rutgers' defense – there were a few shining moments including an interception for a touchdown. But this was Buffalo, remember? Don't expect Dorsey to lay up too many floaters and if a Scarlet Knight's defensive back should pick one off, the chances of returning it for a touchdown are as slim to none and none just snuck out the back door.
Throw out that whole "Greg Schiano's return to Miami" motivation factor as well. It doesn't exist. Two years spent in the Canes' system completed with a pre-Sugar Bowl departure for a gig in his New Jersey hometown hardly make him part of UM's elite family. An ounce of patience and he might've gotten the head coaching job over Larry Coker. Now he'll never know and on Saturday the Canes will make him pay for that decision.
If anything, the University of Miami has a bone to pick with ol' Greg. Billboards popping up in South Florida trying to sway potential recruits to the northeast? Rumors of the Scarlet Knights preparing to run out of a smoke-filled tunnel and gigantic inflated helmet before home games? Who does this guy think he is? A couple season in Coral Gables and he is taking all our tricks and traditions to Jersey? I don't think so. Dennis Erickson tried to build Miami West in Corvallis and after two National Championships under his belt, he has that right. Now Miami Northeast? Never. Just who the hell does Greg Schiano think he is?
I'll tell you who. A man that left Miami a month too early last December and one who won't be able to get out of town fast enough come Saturday evening. Expect a clinic for Miami's offense, a field day for the defense and a complete nightmare for everyone in red helmets on the other side of the field.
Miami 53 Rutgers 9