Archive for Friday, October 3, 2003

Second-ranked Miami survives scare

Field goal with 11 seconds left gives Hurricanes 22-20 win over West Virginia

October 3, 2003

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— Miami freshman Jon Peattie was singing along with the music playing in the Orange Bowl, trying to stay calm. He had to wait through three timeouts called by West Virginia as he set up again and again and again for the game-winning field goal.

Peattie then calmly kicked a 23-yard field goal with 11 seconds remaining as the second-ranked Hurricanes staved off a shocker with a 22-20 victory over West Virginia Thursday night.

"I never expected it," Peattie said. "But something I learned when I came to college was that every kick counts, no matter how short it is."

Peattie finished with a school-record five field goals, his biggest coming after Miami drove 66 yards with two minutes remaining. Peattie's other field goals were 22, 32, 43 and 30 yards.

Brock Berlin needed a fourth-down completion to Kellen Winslow to keep the drive alive. On fourth-and-13 from the Miami 25, Berlin hit Winslow over the middle. The tight end made a leaping catch for an 18-yard gain.

Berlin finished 37-of-54 for 352 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Winslow caught 10 passes for 104 yards.

"Winslow's probably the best in the country," West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez said. "He made a great play and made it happen. That's why he's going to be playing on Sundays."

After Winslow's catch, Berlin completed three straight passes to move the Hurricanes into field goal range. Then a pass interference call against West Virginia's Brian King turned Peattie's final field goal into a chip shot.

West Virginia spent all three of its timeouts trying to rattle the first-year player. But it didn't work. He drilled the kick between the uprights.

"I'm glad we have a great kicker," Berlin said.

Miami quarterback Brock Berlin, left, throws past West Virginia's
Grant Wiley. The Hurricanes rallied for a 22-20 victory Thursday
night in Miami.

Miami quarterback Brock Berlin, left, throws past West Virginia's Grant Wiley. The Hurricanes rallied for a 22-20 victory Thursday night in Miami.

The Mountaineers had one final chance with five seconds to play, but Sean Taylor intercepted Rasheed Marshall's deep pass. Taylor started to run, then dropped to a knee, jumped up and heaved the ball into the air.

Miami (5-0, 2-0 Big East) won its 37th straight regular-season game and remained unbeaten heading into a showdown at No. 6 Florida State Oct. 11.

Barely.

"You look back at all the national champions, and very seldom will they never have to dodge a bullet," offensive tackle Eric Winston said. "We played badly, but we won. It's a lot better than playing well and losing."

The Mountaineers (1-4, 0-1) were poised to pull off the biggest surprise in a season of surprises when Quincy Wilson ran around and over Miami's defense for a 33-yard touchdown with two minutes remaining.

Wilson took a screen pass from Marshall on third-and-13, juked Vince Wilfork behind the line of scrimmage, broke a tackle and then bowled over and jumped over safety Brandon Meriweather at the 10 and scored to give the Mountaineers a 20-19 lead.

It was the first third-down conversion of the game for West Virginia.

Wilson finished with 142 total yards, 99 rushing and 43 receiving. His last reception dampened a strong defensive performance for Miami.

The Hurricanes extended the nation's longest home winning streak to 25 games and their Big East winning streak to 26.

Miami running back Frank Gore sprained his left knee early in the game, and Berlin struggled at times without the team's main offensive weapon.

The Hurricanes had hoped to get their offense on track against the Mountaineers, but continued to misfire behind Berlin. He telegraphed some passes and forced others into coverage.

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