Coker Remembers Syracuse Ambush In 1998

For the last several seasons, the University of Miami has enjoyed the luxury of playing meaningless second and third quarters against Syracuse thanks to lopsided victories of 45-13 and 26-0.

But it's the 1998 game in the Carrier Dome that University of Miami head coach Larry Coker can't seem to shake from his memory. Coker, the Hurricanes offensive coordinator at the time, watched from the coaches box as the Orangemen pounded Miami 66-13.

"They just hammered us and I was thinking it would never end," said Coker. "We had no answers that day. Hopefully things will turn out a little differently Saturday afternoon."

On that day three years ago, a Donovan McNabb led offense torched the Hurricanes for 45 first-half points and 398 yards of offense in route to the victory. The Orangemen scored on a wide variety of plays including a blocked punt, a 100-yard kickoff return, a fumble return and two interceptions. Miami could only muster 210 yards against the Syracuse defense.

The Hurricanes, on the second year of minor probation, finished the season 9-3.

Coker was reminded of the contest by a caller on his weekly radio show. Although he remembers how poorly the Hurricanes.

"Different teams, different year," said Coker.


After a closed practice, Coker said that several players could be back in the lineup against Syracuse. Running back Willis McGahee (knee), defensive end Andre Williams (knee) and receiver Daryl Jones (ankle) all participated in the practice and should play.

Coker said he didn't like the way Jones ran, but that he should be ready for the game.

"We're in good shape physically," said Coker.


ESPN GameDay, hosted by Chris Fowler, Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit will broadcast live from the Orange Bowl, starting at 10:30 a.m. UM senior safety Ed Reed will be featured as part of the program.


Several of the Hurricanes players will help distribute Thanksgiving dinners to five Miami-area shelters, Monday afternoon , Nov. 19. The Hurricanes baseball team, along with the women's rowing, tennis and track squads, will also take part. It marks the seventh year the school has reached out during the holiday.


The San Francisco Bowl will not be played this year, although the Florida Tangerine Bowl will take its place in the Big East lineup. There will be five Big East teams that qualify for the bowl season, including the conference champion automatically entered into the BCS.

The rest of the teams will be distributed as follows: Gator Bowl (2nd Big East selection); Bowl (3rd Big East selection); Music City Bowl (4th Big East selection).

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