Reliving a scare

It took Brian St. Pierre less than a minute to put Boston College in position to knock off the No. 1 college football team in America. There was St. Pierre, with his team trailing 12-7, fighting the clock and without its running back, passing and running through the Hurricanes star-studded secondary with ease and getting closer to accomplishing the unexpected.

The ball rested on the Miami nine-yard line and St. Pierre had 35 seconds to work with. But his next pass would not only keep the Hurricanes march to the national title intact, it would also make for a lot of sleepless nights in Chesnut Hill, Mass.

St. Pierre took several steps back in the pocket and fired a pass intended for Ryan Reed, who was two yards from the end zone. Unfortunately for the Eagles, the ball found UM defensive back Mike Rumph's left knee, then the arms of Canes tackle Matt Walters and finally Miami safety Ed Reed wrestled it away from Walters for an 80-yard touchdown to send Miami victorious 18-7.

The interception literally was a season-saver for the Hurricanes, who proceeded to win four more games, including the Rose Bowl over Nebraska. Boston College finished 8-4 in 2001 after defeating Georgia in the Music City Bowl.

"This one is going to stick with me a long time," St. Pierre would say several minutes later in a stunned Boston College locker room. "We were doing some things and had them really off balance. For the life of me I really thought we were getting in. To have this happen..."

St. Pierre, a 6-4, 217-pound senior, gets a chance at redemption this Saturday at 7:45 p.m. at the Orange Bowl as the top-ranked Hurricanes (3-0) host the Eagles (2-0). Miami, which has the longest winning streak in the nation at 24, owns 12 consecutive victories over Boston College.

"To get so close and come away with nothing is something that still sticks me and will for a very long time," St. Pierre added over the summer.

Last year's escape withstanding, the Hurricanes have dominated the all-time series against the Eagles 20-3 and have outscored BC 136-58 in the last four contests between both teams. The last Boston College victory against Miami came in 1984 at the Orange Bowl when quarterback Doug Flutie completed a "Hail Mary" TD pass with no time left to shock the Hurricanes.

One interested observer at Alumni Stadium last Nov. 10 knows the Hurricanes were extremely fortunate to escape with a win in that one.

"I remember a lot of things, but fortunately for us our kicking game was outstanding. Without Todd Sievers on our side I don't see us winning that ballgame," said UM Larry Coker, who credited the Hurricanes then-junior place-kicker with the victory. "I can tell you this there were plenty of worried people on that sideline before the interception."

Sievers nailed four field goals in last year's contest, including three that provided all of Miami's first-half points, on a day that their high-powered offence was silenced. Sievers was good from 38, 24, 43 and 47 yards out, while Boston College's defense held quarterback Ken Dorsey in check all afternoon. Dorsey was 20-of-41 for 222 yards and a career-high four interceptions.

The Hurricanes outgained the Eagles 387-293, with 160 of those coming from tailback Clinton Portis. Miami failed to score an offensive touchdown for the first time since being blanked 47-0 at Florida State in 1997.

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