NO. 15 MIAMI 49, SOUTH FLORIDA 21

Miami Hurricanes overpower South Florida 49-21

 

Buoyed by a strong passing game, the Canes improved to 4-0 for the first time since 2004 and now brace for the ACC portion of their schedule.

WEB VOTE How do you view the Canes' 4-0 record?

sdegnan@MiamiHerald.com

The Miami Hurricanes made their share of mistakes Saturday at Raymond James Stadium.

They caused a few, too.

But in the end, the South Florida Bulls had no answer for an outstanding combined passing attack by quarterbacks Stephen Morris and Ryan Williams, and the Canes stayed undefeated with a 49-21 rout.

No. 15 Miami (4-0) opens its Atlantic Coast Conference schedule at home next Saturday against Georgia Tech (3-1, 2-1 ACC), which lost Thursday to Virginia Tech.

This is the first time since 2004 that UM has started the season 4-0.

USF, which dropped to 0-4, drew an announced crowd of 47,562 – many of them Canes fans.

The Hurricanes amassed 411 yards in the first half Saturday. The closest the Canes have come to that in any half, according to UM, was 398 yards in the second half of their 49-45 victory against UCLA on Dec. 5, 1998.

Miami finished with 540 total yards – 375 of them through the air.

“Stephen did an unbelievable job for the lack of practice that he had,” said UM coach Al Golden. “He was efficient.

“Good, tough game on the road. Proud of our guys. Now it’s time to go back and get ready for the ACC.’’

Starter Morris, who played with a bruised right ankle, appeared to reinjure the ankle and was replaced by Williams with 11:46 left in the first half. He said he was fine, however, and Golden reaffirmed that by saying he was assured of such by his medical staff.

But Morris, who completed 11 of 16 passes for 222 yards and two touchdowns, was visibly angry at what he called the “dirty’’ play of USF defensive linemen.

“Yeah, man, South Florida is a dirty team,’’ Morris said. “When you’re down and tackled and everything and everybody is on top, they’re going to try to go for your ankles. We were already up… I was like, ‘You know what? Ain’t no point for me to try to mess with these guys who are going to play dirty.

“It is what it is. I wanted to, like, score 70 points on them. They disrespected us, so I had no respect for them at all. At that point, I felt like we should keep pushing it, keep killing them.”

What were they doing?

“Just little stuff in the pile, man. Just dumb stuff.”

Williams finished 8 of 14 for 153 yards and a touchdown, with one late-game interception.

Second-team tailback Dallas Crawford, who had three touchdowns last week and leads the team with six, scored twice.

Freshman receiver Stacy Coley, who had an outstanding day with four catches for 96 yards, scored on catches of 34- and 11 yards.

Coley’s 11-yard touchdown, from backup Williams, came one play after Williams’ 54-yard downfield beauty to Herb Waters.

Waters also scored on a 19-yard touchdown pass from Morris, and Allen Hurns added five catches for 81 yards.

Canes starting tailback Duke Johnson scored on a four-yard run, fumbled twice and was rattled in the first quarter. He passed a concussion test administered on the sideline, and finished with 84 yards on 14 carries.

UM also scored its first defensive touchdown since linebacker Denzel Perryman’s 41-yard interception return in its 2012 opener against Boston College. Saturday’s defensive score came when senior end Shayon Green recorded his first career sack (against USF quarterback Steven Bench) and linebacker Jimmy Gaines recovered the fumble to make it 28-7 UM with 8:56 left in the second quarter.

The Canes’ defense combined for five sacks. They now have 16 sacks through four games, three more than all of last season.

Linebacker/rush end Tyriq McCord of Tampa made his homecoming sweet with his second interception in two weeks.

“It was a great feeling making that play,” McCord said, “a dream come true. A lot of people can’t come to college and play in front of their hometown.”

USF scored on a 3-yard run by Marcus Shaw in the first quarter, an 11-yard interception return by Julius Forte and a 16-yard touchdown from Bench to Derrick Hopkins with two seconds left in the game.

Third-team UM quarterback Gray Crow came into the game seven seconds into the final quarter, but threw the pass that was picked off and returned for the touchdown.

The Hurricanes, who fumbled four times, lost two of them. It was their first fumbles of the season, and first time they fumbled four times since 2005.

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