Miami Just Gets Results

TALLAHASSEE - Smooth they are not. These Hurricanes don't always come to the dance looking or acting their best. At times they've slept (Troy State), dragged (Pittsburgh) and worked half a day (Penn State). So far, the Hurricanes have proven to the rest of the country they're not always the best-dressed at the ball; the gent with silkiest of words; the one that carries the freshest scent.

Most recently, Larry Coker's orange and green gang tripped, stumbled and drulled on the Doak Campbell Stadium grass in the quiet sector that Bobby Bowden bulit.

More than once Saturday, the Hurricanes defenders reached out to grab someone in a garnet jersey and came away empty-handed. For a chunk of the afternoon Miami resembled a two-year-old kid eating an ice cream bar-sloppy and careless.

Miami showed 81,836 college crazies and a national television audience in Tallahassee that being successful doesn't always call for the need to be immaculate.

The edges on this top-ranked college football team may not all be sharpened, but until now it hasn't mattered. At the end of the day, they continue to slice up their opponent just enough.

The Hurricanes keep doing what matters most on a football field-winning.

Five up, five down.

Poor tackling, mental lapses and a shortage of intensity have yet to catch up to the Hurricanes. Through five games, Miami has failed to be perfect in every facet.

Who knows? They may not need to be perfect.

The Hurricanes just win, even though they might sometimes act like babies (check out all those personal fouls).

FSU had 30 first-downs compared to 18 for Miami, outgained their state-rivals on the ground 214 to 142, won the aerial attack 262 to 249 and held the ball 10 minutes longer than the Canes.

Still, wasn't good enough to beat Miami.

Miami interrupted their 49-27 conquering of the baby-Seminoles-it was convincing- on plenty of occasions with inexcusable penalties (15 of them to be exact).

In the first half against Florida State, the Hurricanes defensive unit looked as though they were tackling with jelly-filled fingers. Give Joaquin Gonzalez and friends straight A's for keeping Kenny Dorsey clean.

More imperfection: Where was the Hurricanes running game in the early going vs. the Noles(Florida State risked it by )?

The game's final stat sheet showed that UM tailback Clinton Portis had a very productive outing with 122 yards rushing on 17 carries. That was the good news. Where was Clinton in the first 30 minutes when the Seminoles D put the raps on him to the the tune of four yards on seven carries.

"They really were determined to stop our running game and we were determined to the run the ball on them," said Portis."Once we started running weak-side in the second half it opened things up for us."

Even on a day when the Hurricanes were far from their best, they walked into a place were 54 teams before them had failed and walked out with a three-touchdown victory.

Several things fogged up by the prognosticators were made very clear for all of us see.

1.) UM took advantage of FSU's own foolish and youthful miscues-a sign of a great team (Miami); a sign of raw and immature squad (Florida State).

2.) Even after scoring 175 points through their first four games, the Canes were dogged with whispers of not having enough playmakers, especially at the WR postion. Think Andre Johnson and Kevin Beard put that one to rest.

3.) Great players and coaches usually overcome their own mistakes. The Hurricanes proved that as well. They have plenty of guys that will playing the game on Sundays in the near future.

Those same guys are so superior to the opposition, they can afford to make a bone-head play here and there. They are that good.

Questions also lingered on just how 'good' these Hurricanes were before stepping onto Doak Campbell Stadium. After all Pitt, Penn State, Rutgers and Troy State were just 3-14 before last week and unmasked as frauds.

Yeah, Miami was sloppy. But let's not fool ourselves.

The Hurricanes went into a venue that is off limits to anybody but Seminoles and came away standing tall.

Miami's defense promised FSU quarterback Chris Rix three hours of harassment, several days before the game. Then, they went out and delivered on that promise.

Through his bruises and collection of ice bags this week, Rix might have learned this: You can run, but you can't hide from the Hurricanes defense.

"Them boys are so fast," said Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden. "Most of kids out there on that field went to high school together. Imagine that. If they can't stop them, I can't of anybody that will."

Rix might have also learned that you can't always throw the ball where you want to throw it, for his next crack at the Hurricanes. Phillip Buchanon and Ed Reed taught Rix a mighty lesson.

Rix also learned that you want to be a little more careful with the way you handle the football, especially against Miami. Jonathan Vilma and Andrew Williams made sure of that.

"It might not have been the way we drew it up, at times, but this team proved we have some playmakers that step up with the chips on the table" said Coker.

For that, the Hurricanes deserve to have that number right along side their school name-No. 1.

Even after beating the Noles, some people will rain on the Hurricanes parade. Weak Big-East schedule, they will say. Young and immature FSU team, the Canes non-believers will argue. Still have something to prove down the road against Washington and Virginia Tech.

Forget it.

The Hurricanes are for real, while the Huskies and Hokies have shown more than enough cracks to qualify them as impostors.

Washington was undressed last week by UCLA and before that was just squeaking by. Its hard to find many complaints with the Virginia Tech defense, but where are the Hokies going to find enough points to keep up with UM.

Barring a slip up in their remaining games, the Hurricanes are a safe bet for the Rose Bowl in Pasedena because Oklahoma-Nebraska and Oregon-UCLA still remain on the schedule.

And the Hurricanes deserve it.

They find a way. Even when there not at their best.

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