1. Archive

Miami climbs this mountain

Revenge was uppermost on their minds, just ahead of those rejuvenated thoughts of a national championship.

Saturday, the Miami Hurricanes kept heading in that direction.

The No. 7 Hurricanes, remembering how last season disintegrated with a loss on this same field, redeemed themselves by walloping West Virginia 38-6.

Last year the Hurricanes were insulted and their bus rocked as a swarm of Mountaineers fans celebrated a 17-14 victory, Miami's only Big East defeat. This year most West Virginia fans were gone by the start of the fourth quarter.

"Revenge, that's the main thing we had on our minds this year," Miami linebacker Ray Lewis said. "The only difference is that we have team unity this year.

"Everybody is together now. We came in and we wanted sweet revenge," Lewis said.

Miami coach Dennis Erickson said it was easy to motivate his team.

"They sat on that bus (last year) when it got rocked and spit on," Erickson said. "I didn't have to play it up."

Frank Costa threw for 266 yards and two touchdowns to lead Miami (5-1, 2-0) to its 68th straight victory over an unranked opponent.

Costa helped the Hurricanes to a 25-0 halftime lead by throwing a 52-yard touchdown pass to Chris T. Jones and a 54-yarder to Yatil Green.

Miami's other first-half touchdowns came on a 1-yard run by Danyell Ferguson and a 9-yarder by Larry Jones, who started in place of injured James Stewart.

Miami's defense allowed little to the Mountaineers, holding West Virginia (3-5, 1-3) to just 23 yards rushing in 23 attempts. Robert Walker, who rushed for 100 yards against the Hurricanes last season, had just 10 yards in 12 carries.

Miami also throttled Chad Johnston, who threw for 396 yards against Pitt last week. Johnston was 15-of-29 for 145 yards with three interceptions and was sacked three times.

The Hurricanes did have a problem with special-teams play. Miami failed on three conversion kicks and punter Mike Crissy's weak kick on the run in the end zone was returned 2 yards by Rodney Allen for West Virginia's only touchdown.

"Defensively we just dominated the game," Erickson said. "We are playing as well defensively as we have since I've been here. We played well on offense for the first 25 minutes, but we didn't execute as well on offense as I would have liked to in the second half. The PATs were terrible."

"Defensively, they run as well as anyone in the country," West Virginia coach Don Nehlen said.

Miami's offense did little in the second half, but the Hurricanes made it 32-0 when WVU's Vann Washington fumbled a punt and Eugene Ridgley recovered in the end zone.

The Hurricanes' final score came on a 32-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Collins to Chris T. Jones.