Canes Not Looking Past WVU

It might only be natural if the No. 1 ranked University of Miami football team steps on the Orange Bowl grass, expecting to walk through the lowly West Virgnia Moutaineers (2-4, 0-2).

Even with first-year coach Rich Rodriguez directing the ship the Moutaineers have had trouble staying afloat. Already this season West Virginia has dropped games at Boston College, Maryland and Notre Dame.

Rodriguez realizes playing the Hurricanes on the road is no easy assignment and can't see why Miami wouldn't show up exuding confidence. "They have the best team in the country, by far," said Rodriguez. "I'd come in with my chin a little high too."

The Moutaineers main concern could be not to get embarrassed on national television (ESPN 2, 7 p.m.) West Virginia, losers of three straight contest, is coming off a 34-24 loss to the Fighting Irish Oct. 13. The Mountaineers has been outscored by 58 points in two Big East games.

Miami hasn't played since a 49-27 win over state-rival Florida State and might be thinking way past the Mountaineers. UM, ranked No. 4 in the first BCS standings, don't get a formable opponent until mid-November when they travel to Boston College.

But the Hurricanes future goals and fear of losing are just several reasons why they don't plan on overlooking anybody. They all now what can happen if they drag onto to the field Thursday night. aka…Auburn over Florida; Stanford over Oregon; North Carolina over Florida State. Although, the Hurricanes are prohibited favorites the possibility always exist that.. "We could get beaten if we let our guard down," said Miami quarterback Ken Dorsey. "There is always a chance we could loss if we play poorly. One of the few concerns, besides themselves, the Hurricanes will have in facing the Mountaineers will be going up against junior running back Avon Cobourne. Cobourne was about the only bright spot in the Mountaineers loss at Notre Dame, rushing for 169 yards. Cobourne is coming off consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons and led the Big East in rushing as a freshman.

"Avon is obviously a talented player and knows how to get his yards," said UM head coach Larry Coker.

Those yards could be hard to get against Miami.

The Hurricanes have had their way with the Mountaineers. UM owns a 13-3 all-time mark against WVU, which includes winning eight of the last 10 meetings between both teams. Miami has outscored the Mountaineers 205-131 since 1993.

Last season at Mountaineer Field, then No. 12 Miami hammered West Virginia 47-10. The Hurricanes defense accounted for three touchdowns, including a 77-yard fumble return by defensive back Phillip Buchanon. Dorsey completed 22-of-33 passes for a then-career-high of 291 passing yards. In the game, Dorsey ran his streak of 102 consecutive passes thrown without being intercepted.

Stopping Dorsey or fending off the UM defense will certainly be on the top of priorities facing the Mountaineers. But the Mountaineers have their own concerns to worry about before next Thursday-especially stopping the run.

Notre Dame's 345 yards rushing yards last week are the most permitted by a West Virginia defense since Navy rolled up 388 yards on the ground Oct. 2, 1999. Last season, the most given up by the WVU defensive unit was 275 yards against Pitt.

The Mountaineers defense have given up an average o 245.8 yards per game on the ground through six games. West Virginia is on a pace to give up over 200 yards per game on the ground for the first time in 20 seasons. In 1978, the Mountaineers gave up over 250 yards a game rushing.

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