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Miami 26, Tennessee 3

Nov. 9, 2002 at 9:58 PM   |   Comments

KNOXVILLE, Tenn., Nov. 9 (UPI) -- The top-ranked Miami Hurricanes won their school-record 31st straight game Saturday, jumping to a 16-point lead at halftime and coasting to a 26-3 victory over Tennessee in their first visit to Neyland Stadium.

Willis McGahee ran for 154 yards and a touchdown and Ken Dorsey threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Kellen Winslow for the Hurricanes (9-0), who won their 16th straight game on the road.

"This was our best game of the year by far. It was a great team win," Miami Coach Larry Coker said. "It was a tough atmosphere where they don't lose too many games."

Miami's invincibility had been called into question in recent weeks, particularly after it trailed in the fourth quarter before rallying past lowly Rutgers. The Hurricanes also escaped with a win over Florida State in mid-October when the Seminoles missed a field goal in the final seconds.

As a result, Miami dropped to third in the BCS ratings even though the Hurricanes remained No. 1 in the coaches poll. Miami thus came into this game with something to prove and now, with BCS leader Oklahoma losing Saturday, should be first or second when the new BCS rankings are announced Monday.

The only major blemish was a 74-yard run by Tennessee's Cedric Houston in the second play from scrimmage. But the Hurricanes held the Volunteers to a 21-yard field goal by Alex Walls and dominated from there.

"I thought that the field goal on Tennessee's first first drive made a statement about our defense," Coker said.

Tennessee (5-4) could have salvaged what has been a disappointing season with a win. Instead, the Volunteers suffered their third home loss in a season for the first time since 1988.

"At this point they are as gifted as any team we have played," Tennessee Coach Phillip Fulmer said. "We've played a lot of good teams in the past and have been one of those teams and that's where we want to get back to."

Todd Sievers added four field goals for the Hurricanes, who improved to 21-0 under Coker. Miami closes its regular season with games against Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Virginia Tech.

The Volunteers played the second half without quarterback Casey Clausen, who re-injured his foot in the first half and completed just five of 14 passes for 63 yards.

Houston had 111 yards on 14 carries running behind an offensive line that did not have tackle Michael Munoz due to a foot injury.

Dorsey completed 18 of 35 passes for 245 yards and, like McGahee, remained in the Heisman Trophy race.

"We wanted to come out and play well from the start but really the motivating factor was winning," Dorsey said. "We want to keep winning so that we will have a good shot in the end."

McGahee has rushed for 1,188 yards this season and went over 100 yards for the seventh time this season.

The crowd of 107,745 was quickly silenced after the field goal by Walls.

Sievers kicked field goals of 37 and 39 yards before McGahee scored on a one-yard run early in the quarter. Sievers connected from 44 and 25 yards later in the period to give Miami a 19-3 halftime lead.

The only score of the second half was the touchdown pass to Winslow, who had five catches for 67 yards.

Andre Johnson had a big game with five catches for 103 yards. His 44-yard catch from Dorsey set up the touchdown by McGahee.

The Hurricanes wore down the Volunteers in the first half. Sievers' fourth field goal capped a 15-play, 82-yard drive that took 6:18 off the clock.

© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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