COLUMBIA, Mo. -- The Miami Hurricanes, who didn't need any help at all against Missouri a year ago, took advantage of several Tigers gifts this time around.
Miami's Maurice Crum returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown and three of the team's other five interceptions against Kent Kiefer were converted into points Saturday as the second-ranked Hurricanes ran to a 38-7 victory over the Tigers.
The Hurricanes, 55-0 winners against Missouri in 1988, improved to 3-0 on the year, having outscored their opponents 120-13. Miami, which lives by its defense as quarterback Craig Erickson settles into his position, has claimed 13 turnovers this season.
'Our defensive dominance of them, when you get six turnovers, that's the difference in the game,' Miami Coach Dennis Erickson said. 'That's what, 13? You're talking about turnovers that are unbelieveable. I'd like to play offense myself and get a lot of those opportunities.'
Crum stepped in front of a Keifer pass on the right side of the field and fought off a couple of tacklers. By the time he crossed scrimmage, however, there was no one else to beat to the end zone and Miami was ahead 7-0 with 3:24 left in the first period.
After that, Bobby Harden and Kenny Berry each picked off passes that set up scoring drives by the offense that, cominbed with a more conventional drive, put the Hurricanes ahead 24-7 by halftime.
Miami put the game away with a pair of scores in a span of 54 seconds of the fourth period, the last of which began with Michael Barrow's interception. Hurlie Brown and Roland Smith also intercepted passes Saturday.
While the backs were grabbing the balls, the line was causing other problems. Miami shoved the Tigers backward for a net minus-44 yards rushing. Missouri hurt itself with 10 penalties for 87 yards, including six holding calls after two of those violations in the first two games.
'It seemed like every time we had a great play, we had a penalty,' Missouri Coach Bob Stull said. 'Sometimes we just didn't execute.
'I thought we competed extremely hard. Penalities really hurt us. There was nothing wrong with the effort. We can't make the mistakes we made against a good team like Miami. Hey, today we played a helluva team.'
After the Crum touchdown, Missouri got a small measure of revenge by becoming the first team this season to score a touchdown on Miami when Kiefer hit a wide-open Linzy Collins with a 67-yard pass to tie the score 7-7 with 1:16 left in the first quarter.
Collins got behind Berry, who slipped, and had no trouble getting into the end zone. It seemed many of the Miami players wrre having trouble with footing on the artifical turf.
The Hurricanes came back with a 76-yard drive that Shannon Crowell capped with a 1-yard run for the lead.
The Tigers had a drive to the Miami 29, but Harden recorded his interception that turned into a 42-yard Carlos Huerta field goal with 1:36 left in the half.
Berry had his interception two plays into the next possession, giving Miami the ball at its 44. It took Erickson just 59 seconds to move the 56 yards for the score. The quarterback scrambled the final six yards for the touchdown with seven seconds left before halftime.
'I think one of the biggest highlights for me might have been not all that spectacular, but when I scrambled into the end zone,' Craig Erickson said. 'I didn't force the ball and the guys were patient on the thier routes. That's a key to success be patient back there and take what people give us.'
The Hurricanes were able to close the game out with the late touchdowns as Leonard Conley ran in from 2 yards out and Rob Chudzinski caught a 30-yard pass from Erickson two plays after the Barrow interception.