Willis McGahee is just a sophomore, but the tailback has taken a prominent place in the Miami record book after another sterling performance in a 28-21 victory over Pittsburgh on Thursday night at the Orange Bowl.
McGahee rushed for 159 yards on 19 carries, including a 69-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter that tied the score and ignited a stagnant offense. He scored on a 7-yard run in the fourth quarter.
The rushing touchdowns gave him 19 for the season, breaking the mark of 18 set by Edgerrin James in 1988.
McGahee has rushed for 1,347 yards this season, second in UM history. He is the seventh UM back to rush for 1,000 yards. It was his eighth 100-yard performance of the season.
"I have confidence in my O-line," McGahee said. "When they get the job done, I get the job done. If they don't operate, I don't operate. They were good. I was getting 3 or 4 yards a shot before breaking the big one."
YOU LOOK FAMILIAR: The game was a reunion of sorts for 10 former high school teammates at various Florida schools.
Miami's Travarous Bain, Vernon Carey, Jarrell Weaver and David Williams and Pitt's Torrie Cox played for state power Miami Northwestern. UM's Santonio Thomas, out for the season with a chest muscle injury, played with Panthers Claude Harriott and Tremaine Knight at Glades Central High in Belle Glade.
Miami's Quadtrine Hill and Pitt's Roosevelt Bynes were teammates at Piper High in Sunrise.
Pitt has nine players from Florida; Miami has one from Pennsylvania. Pitt redshirt freshman defensive back Darren McCray is from St. Petersburg.
FIRST SCORE: Miami sophomore safety Sean Taylor got the first touchdown of his collegiate career in spectacular style. After Pitt was forced to punt on the game's first drive, Roscoe Parrish handed the ball to Taylor on the return.
Aided by blocks from Kevin Beard and Antrel Rolle, Taylor went left and was never touched, going 78 yards to the end zone.
"It was a reverse like we practiced," Taylor said. "I got it set up real well and the blocks were there when I turned the corner and headed for the end zone."
INJURED 'CANES: Beard injured his right knee when he collided with Pitt's Shawntae Spencer with 6:53 left in the first half. The receiver was diagnosed with a tear to his anterior cruciate ligament, which could put him out for the season. Defensive end Cornelius Green sprained a knee a few minutes later. Coach Larry Coker said after the game that he believed it to be an ACL injury as well. Punter Freddie Capshaw had his fourth blocked kick of the season in the second quarter.
_ BOB HARIG, MICHAEL SNYDER