Hurricanes blow away Huskies

Clinton Portis ran for 105 yards on just 12 carries and scored three touchdowns as the Miami Hurricanes blew away the Washington Huskies 65 - 7 this evening at the Orange Bowl. Miami buried Washington when they scored 30 points in the second quarter to embarrass the #12 team in the country on national television.

Cody Pickett had a nightmare of a game, completing 14 of 29 attempts for 157 yards and five interceptions. He was also sacked four times and fumbled once.

"It's a shame," said Neuheisel of the horrific ending to the regular season.

"To have a season tarnished this way because of the lack of productivity on both sides of the ball. I'm still very proud of our football team …. But I'm just discouraged by our performance tonight."

Pickett's first gaffe came on the second play from scrimmage. After an illegal procedure penalty on Washington, the Huskies faced second and 11. Pickett dropped back and threw into double coverage, trying to force the ball to Paul Arnold between the linebacker and safety. Miami's Jonathan Vilma intercepted the ball and returned it to the Husky 13-yard line. Two plays later Clinton Portis rumbled seven yards for a touchdown to put the ‘Canes up very early, and for good.

Washington looked to answer right back on their next drive. After Pickett nearly threw another interception, Willie Hurst made an incredible one-handed grab for a 10-yard gain to move the chains on third down. Alexis followed a 12-yard reception with a 31-yard bolt up the middle of the Miami defense. A facemask penalty put the ball on the Hurricane two-yard line and the Huskies looked poised to tie the game.

Washington couldn't finish the job, however. Three Alexis runs netted no gain. Coach Rick Neuheisel decided to roll the dice and go for it, but the play never got off the ground. Center Kyle Benn stepped on Pickett's foot before he could get out from under center, creating a five-yard loss and a turn over on downs.

They would never recover from that series.

Miami won the battle of field position after the final two Husky drives of the first quarter went backwards. A holding penalty on Nick Newton and a Jerome McDougle sack of Pickett, Washington punted the ball back to Miami. The Hurricanes drove into Husky territory but then Ken Dorsey threw a horrible ball that Washington safety Owen Biddle intercepted easily. Washington didn't move the ball and once again punted.

This time Miami made the Huskies pay, as they went 41 yards in just three plays. Clinton Portis took a handoff deep in the backfield, cut off tackle to his left and followed blocks on Jamaun Willis and Marcus Roberson to run free into the secondary. He easily outran Biddle for a 30-yard touchdown on the first play of the second quarter.

Pickett's second interception of the game would provide Miami with another short field and the #1 team in the country would make the Huskies pay once again. Linebacker Chris Campbell intercepted Pickett to give the Hurricanes the ball on the Husky 38. After Andre Johnson picked up 13 yards on a reverse, Dorsey connected with Daryl Jones for 19 yards to get into the Husky red zone. On third and goal from the five, Dorsey found Portis between the Husky linebackers for a touchdown, his third of the half, and a 21-0 lead with still 10:23 remaining in the second quarter.

To make matters worse, a personal foul on the Huskies during the extra point allowed the Hurricanes to kick off from midfield. That mistake was exacerbated when Charles Frederick tried to return the pooch kick from one yard deep in the endzone. He would return it exactly five yards.

After the Huskies went three and out, John Hart's deep snap was a little low and punter Derek McLaughlin was unable to cleanly field it. He was able to gain possession before Kellen Winslow, Jr. tackled him for a safety.

When it rains, it pours in Miami. McLaughlin's free kick from the safety was returned 60 yards by Hurricane defensive back Phillip Buchanon, all the way to the Husky 15-yard line. It took Dorsey one play to find Najeh Davenport on a wheel route behind Anthony Kelley for a touchdown.

The Orange Bowl walls then caved in on Cody Pickett. As Washington tried to set up a screen pass, William Joseph tipped the ball and Jerome McDougle intercepted the pass intended for Hurst. He broke free from Hurst's tackle and rumbled 15 yards for a touchdown and the Hurricanes were up 37 points in the blink of an eye.

Pickett finished the woeful first half completing just 10 of 20 for 105 yards with three interceptions.

Washington's only other opportunity at scoring in the first half was thwarted when John Anderson's 52-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right.

Washington held the ball for over 23 minutes and ran over twice as many plays as the Hurricanes in the first half. For the game the Huskies held the ball for over 35 minutes. The result is not usually a 58-point defeat when that happens.

Miami went on their first sustained drive of the game to begin the second half. Largely behind the running of Portis, the Hurricanes moved the ball down the field. They sent a message to the team from Seattle when on fourth and goal on the one-yard line, they went for it. Davenport bulled over the goal line to cap the 9-play 80-yard drive and push the ‘Canes up 44-0.

Roc Alexander returned a kickoff 67 yards to set up Washington's only dent in the scoreboard. After Pickett connected with Arnold for 25 yards, the Huskies had first and goal on the five. Rich Alexis carried it over on second down to prevent the shutout.

Miami continued to pile on the points. After recovering a Pickett fumble on the Husky 21-yard line, Dorsey threw two straight completions, one for 18-yards to Davenport on a wheel route and then a three-yard touchdown to Andre Johnson.

Pickett threw his fourth interception of the game. James Lewis was lurking in the secondary and just waiting for the Husky quarterback to throw into his zone. Pickett obliged and Lewis made the easy theft, returning it to the Husky 22. It took Miami five plays to get back into the end zone, the final two yards coming on fourth down by freshman Frank Gore to make it 58-7 with still nearly 14 minutes left in the game.

Ken Dorsey was pulled out of the game after three quarters. He finished the game completing 14 of 21 passes for 189 yards and three touchdowns.

Backup quarterback Derrick Crudup finished the scoring by finding Jason Geathers for a 13-yard touchdown pass with 5:00 remaining in the game.

Taylor Barton came off the bench for Washington and looked as though he would get the Huskies in the endzone but his final attempt was intercepted by Antrel Rolle with 0:04 left in the game.

Washington will attempt to regroup from this terrible loss. After taking next week off they'll reconvene and start preparing for the Holiday Bowl where they will likely face either Colorado or Nebraska. Miami next faces Virginia Tech in a game where if they win, they'll likely go to the Rose Bowl and probably face Florida for the national championship.
Husky Notes:

Na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, heeeey, goodbye! With still 2:10 left in the first half and the home team comfortably in front 37-0, the Miami crowd began singing goodbye to the Husky team.

Safety Dance: For the third time this season Washington had a safety scored on them during a punt. Michigan, ASU, and Miami all scored against the Huskies not-so-special teams unit.

Take that!: When Rich Alexis scored from five yards out with 9:55 remaining in the third quarter, it marked the first time Miami had been scored upon at home in a quarter other than the first. Sometimes moral victories are all you can find.

Crowded house: The Orange Bowl was packed this evening. With attendance of 78,114, it was the largest crowd to see the Huskies play this season. What a show, huh?

Humbling experience: Today's loss was the worst Husky loss since 1973 when Oregon thumped the Huskies 55-0. It ties as the second worst defeat in school history.

PLAYER QUOTES, RICK NEUHEISEL POST-GAME QUOTES, and GAME STATISTICS will be posted later on this site. Top Stories