Canes Swamp Gators

Miami has no trouble playing outside South Florida. Why would its first trip to "The Swamp" in 16 years be any different? Ken Dorsey threw four touchdown passes and Willis McGahee ran for 204 yards as the top-ranked Hurricanes extended the nation's longest winning streak to 24 games with a 41-16 victory over sixth-ranked Florida.

A visit to Florida Field, one of the most hostile venues for a visitor in all of college football, was expected to be another tough test for the defending national champions. But the Hurricanes (2-0) ran all over the Gators, collecting 320 rushing yards and improving their road winning streak to 12 games, including bowls.

"It was a very big win for the team and for the football program," Hurricanes coach Larry Coker said. "I am very proud of them since it was such a tough environment to play. To put it all in perspective, we are 2-0."

Dorsey was the winner in his personal battle with fellow 2001 Heisman Trophy finalist Rex Grossman, completing 16-of-32 passes for 202 yards.

Dorsey completed TD passes of seven yards to Andre Johnson and 10 yards to Ethenic Sands in the second quarter to help the Hurricanes build a 20-10 halftime lead. He added scoring tosses of 18 and 19 yards to Jason Geathers in the second half.

Dorsey threw three interceptions but still was better than Grossman, who was just 19-of-45 for 191 yards with two interceptions, including one that turned the game.

"I think our defense didn't let them run away with it," Dorsey said. "They took an early lead and we were composed and able to play through it."

The Gators managed to stay in the game until late in the third quarter when Grossman threw an ill-advised pass over the middle that was returned 99 yards for a score by Maurice Sikes, increasing Miami's lead to 34-16. Sikes added another interception in the fourth quarter.

Miami has won its first 14 games under Coker and has not lost since a 34-29 setback to Washington on September 9, 2000.

While the Hurricanes met another challenge, the Gators (1-1) lost for the first time under coach Ron Zook, who replaced the departed Steve Spurrier.

"In this position it's going to be sooner or later, mine just happened sooner," Zook said. "Maybe it was a blessing in disguise. Our football team is only going to get better. The great thing about this is that it's early in the year and we have a lot of football to play."

A victory for Zook would have gone a long way toward earning the acceptance of Gator fans that have become accustomed to victory. Florida hosts Ohio next week and Zook's next chance at redemption will come September 21 when the Gators visit No. 4 Tennessee.

The Hurricanes have won 30 of their last 31 games against teams under the helm of a first-year coach. Miami has won the last four meetings with Florida, a streak that began with its last visit to Gainesville in 1986.

Florida suffered its worst home loss since a 31-3 setback to Kentucky in 1979.

Miami entered the game with questions in the running game and in the secondary, but any doubts were erased by the end of the night. The Hurricanes were thought to be thin at running back with the departure of Clinton Portis and an injury to Frank Gore. McGahee carried 24 times and was more than an adequate replacement while Geathers carried 13 times for 72 yards.

"I feel really good about myself tonight. I had a lot of confidence coming into the game," McGahee said.

"He won the game for us tonight," Hurricanes offensive lineman Sherko Haji-Rasouli said of McGahee.

The Hurricanes' top five defensive backs from last season are gone and the new group was more than ready for Grossman, confusing the normally prolific passer and holding Florida without a touchdown pass for the first time since November 6, 1999 against Vanderbilt.

Grossman was held without a TD pass for the first time since November 18, 2000 against Florida State.

"Rex is a winner and a player. This may be a blessing in disguise for him," Zook said. "Rex will come back here ready to go. He win a winner and a competitor."

Todd Sievers kicked field goals of 53 and 38 yards to give the Hurricanes a 6-0 lead before the Gatord answered on an 18-yard TD run by Earnest Graham and a 35-yard field goal by Matt Leach.

Dorsey normally makes few mistakes, but he made a glaring one in the third when Byron Hardmon returned an interception 26 yards for a score to cut the lead to 27-16.

Sikes' interception return gave the Hurricanes an 18-point cushion before Dorsey capped the scoring with his second TD pass to Geathers.

Florida safety Todd Johnson had two interceptions.

                                  MIAMI  FLORIDA
FIRST DOWNS...................       25       27
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............   46-306   36-163
PASSING YDS (NET).............      202      191
Passes Att-Comp-Int...........  33-16-3  45-19-2
TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS.....   79-508   81-354
Fumble Returns-Yards..........      0-0      0-0
Punt Returns-Yards............     5-48     3-32
Kickoff Returns-Yards.........     3-56     3-35
Interception Returns-Yards....     2-97     3-26
Punts (Number-Avg)............   7-36.1   9-39.6
Fumbles-Lost..................      1-0      1-0
Penalties-Yards...............   14-134     6-48
Possession Time...............    31:33    28:27
Third-Down Conversions........  6 of 15  4 of 16
Fourth-Down Conversions.......   0 of 0   0 of 1
Red-Zone Scores-Chances.......      5-7      2-4
Sacks By: Number-Yards........      1-4      1-5

RUSHING: MIAMI Hurricanes-McGAHEE, Willis 24-204; GEATHERS, Jason 13-72; PAYTON, Jarrett 4-16; HILL, Quadtrine 3-7; DORSEY, Ken 2-7. FLORIDA Gators-Earnest Graham 20-89; Ran Carthon 10-47; Rex Grossman 3-19; Taylor Jacobs 1-16; TEAM 1-minus 2; Guss Scott 1-minus 6.

PASSING: MIAMI Hurricanes-DORSEY, Ken 16-32-3-202; PARRISH, Roscoe 0-1-0-0. FLORIDA Gators-Rex Grossman 19-45-2-191.

RECEIVING: MIAMI Hurricanes-JOHNSON, Andre 4-56; WINSLOW, Kellen 4-42; GEATHERS, Jason 2-37; SANDS, Ethenic 2-33; HILL, Quadtrine 2-6; PARRISH, Roscoe 1-18; McGAHEE, Willis 1-10. FLORIDA Gators-Taylor Jacobs 5-56; Carlos Perez 4-23; Aaron Walker 3-65; Ben Troupe 2-31; Earnest Graham 2-12; Ran Carthon 2-minus 4; Kelvin Kight 1-8.

INTERCEPTIONS: MIAMI Hurricanes-SIKES, Maurice 2-97. FLORIDA Gators-Todd Johnson 2-0; Byron Hardmon 1-26.

FUMBLES: MIAMI Hurricanes-DORSEY, Ken 1-0. FLORIDA Gators-Vernell Brown 1-0.

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