No. 1 Miami knocks down Virginia Tech

Hurricanes run for the Roses

Posted: Sunday, December 02, 2001

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Computer games are over for No. 1 Miami -- the Hurricanes will play for a national championship in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 3. But just barely.

Miami completed a perfect regular season Saturday, holding off No. 14 Virginia Tech 26-24 behind the running of Clinton Portis and a stifling defense that intercepted four passes and recovered a fumble by quarterback Grant Noel.

Virginia Tech scored on a blocked punt with 6:03 left to pull within two points, but Noel's 2-point conversion pass attempt went through the arms of split end Ernest Wilford, and the drop turned out to be Miami's final margin of victory.

Ken Dorsey, in a final bid to win the Heisman Trophy, was just 21-of-44 for 235 yards and a touchdown, while Portis added 124 yards and a TD. Todd Sievers kicked four field goals for the Hurricanes (11-0, 7-0 Big East).

Miami's top-rated defense again came up with enough big plays to save the game. With 4:18 left and Miami clinging to the two-point lead, safety Ed Reed picked off an overthrown pass by Noel at the Hurricanes 31. The 'Canes ran the clock down to 31 seconds, and punter Freddie Capshaw pinned the Hokies down at the 4 with 20 seconds left.

Noel, a horrendous 4-of-16 for 81 yards, was sacked on the final play of the game for the Gator Bowl-bound Hokies (8-3, 4-3).

No. 5 Tennessee 34, No. 2 Florida 32

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Travis Stephens ran for a career-high 226 yards and Tennessee stopped Florida on a 2-point conversion with 1:10 left to further scramble the Rose Bowl picture.

The Vols (10-1, 7-1 SEC) advanced to next week's SEC title game against No. 22 LSU, with a chance to play Miami for the championship in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 3.

The Gators (9-2, 6-2), who were 18-point favorites, had the inside track to the championship game after losses by Nebraska and Oklahoma last week.

Rex Grossman, who will be able to make next weekend's Heisman Trophy ceremony, after all, led Florida on a late 77-yard touchdown drive that made the score 34-32 and briefly kept those title hopes alive. But Grossman couldn't find anyone open on the 2-point conversion and threw an incompletion.

Stephens had runs of 49, 35, 34 and 68 yards -- only Herschel Walker has run for more against the Gators -- the last of which set up a 2-yard touchdown by Jabari Davis for a 34-26 lead.

Grossman finished with 362 yards passing to surpass 300 yards for the 10th time in 11 games.

No. 9 Colorado 39, No. 3 Texas 37

IRVING, Texas -- Chris Brown ran for three touchdowns as Colorado turned Texas quarterback Chris Simms' four first-half turnovers into 22 points, then held off a rally to beat the Longhorns for their first Big 12 championship.

Colorado (10-2) fulfilled the vision coach Gary Barnett had for the Buffs this summer when no one else expected much from them after a 3-8 season. Their stunning turnaround will continue in a BCS game, likely the Fiesta Bowl.

Simms threw two early interceptions that let Colorado turn a 7-0 deficit into a 16-7 lead. After the Longhorns (10-2) regained some momentum, Simms blew it again with a fumble and another interception that put the Buffs up 29-10.

Then the Longhorns turned to forgotten fan favorite Major Applewhite, and the senior quarterback nearly pulled them out of their biggest hole of the season.

Applewhite threw a 79-yard touchdown pass on his second play and led two more drives that ended in field goals. When Roderick Babers intercepted a fake punt and returned it 54 yards for a touchdown, the Buffs' lead was cut to 36-30 with 9:10 left.

Colorado answered by taking 7:12 to move 51 yards for a 43-yard field goal by Jeremy Flores with 1:58 left that iced the victory.

No. 4 Oregon 17, Oregon St. 14

EUGENE, Ore. -- Keenan Howry returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown, and Maurice Morris added an 8-yard scoring run with 4:36 left as Oregon kept its slim national title hopes alive.

Oregon (10-1, 7-1 Pac-10) already had secured a spot in the Fiesta Bowl, but the victory in the 105th Civil War gave the Ducks their first outright Pac-10 title since 1994.

They're also still clinging to hope of rising from No. 5 in the BCS standings to the top two and playing in the Rose Bowl.

Oregon quarterback Joey Harrington didn't help his Heisman bid, completing 11 of 22 passes for only 104 yards. But his 28-yard strike to a diving Howry on third-and-10 was the key play of the Ducks' final scoring drive.

No. 10 BYU 41, Mississippi St. 38

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Matt Payne kicked a 25-yard field goal as time expired to left BYU over Mississippi State, keeping the Cougars' slim BCS hopes alive.

The Cougars (12-0) extended their winning streak to 14 games and for the second straight game needed last-minute heroics to remain unbeaten.

Brandon Doman threw for 390 yards and five touchdowns, but it was Luke Staley who did most of the work on the final 63-yard drive, running five times. Staley ran for 149 yards on 28 carries.

No. 12 Stanford 41, San Jose St. 14

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Randy Fasani threw for one touchdown and ran for another as Stanford ended three years of frustration against San Jose State.

Brian Allen scored twice for the Cardinal (9-2), who hadn't beaten the Spartans (3-9) since 1997.

Edell Shepard caught seven passes for 107 yards for San Jose State, including one for a touchdown, and has 83 for the season, a school record. Guy Liggins caught 77 in 1987. Clint Carlson threw two touchdown passes as the Spartans dropped their third straight.

Luke Powell also was instrumental in Stanford's victory. He caught a touchdown pass, set up another score with a 54-yard reception and returned a punt 58 yards. He finished with six catches for 157 yards.

No. 16 Georgia 35, Houston 7

ATHENS, Ga. -- David Greene threw three touchdown passes, Verron Haynes ran for 122 yards and Georgia overcame a sloppy start to beat winless Houston.

Georgia (8-3) wrapped up its fifth straight eight-win season -- a first for the Bulldogs. They'll have to wait another week to learn the destination for their fifth consecutive bowl appearance.

No. 21 Fresno St. 70, Utah St. 21

FRESNO, Calif. -- David Carr had a career day, throwing for six touchdowns and 432 yards for Fresno State.

In a game postponed from Sept. 15, Fresno State (11-2) showcased every aspect of the high-flying offense that captured the nation's attention this fall.

Bernard Berrian scored three touchdowns on four receptions for 158 yards as the Bulldogs overwhelmed the Aggies with 56 points and 438 total yards in the first half. Fresno State finished with 713 yards in total offense.

Playing in his final home game, Carr boosted his increasingly plausible chances for the Heisman Trophy, becoming just the sixth quarterback in NCAA history to pass for 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns in a season. He went 21-of-27 to join Jim McMahon, Ty Detmer, David Klingler, Andre Ware and Tim Rattay.

No. 22 LSU 27, No. 25 Auburn 14

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Rohan Davey threw for 245 yards and a touchdown and ran for 21 yards as LSU beat Auburn to advance to the Southeastern Conference title game.

LSU (8-3, 5-3) and Auburn (7-4, 5-3) shared the SEC West title, with LSU's victory sending it to Atlanta to face No. 5 Tennessee.

LaBrandon Toefield ran for 120 yards and a touchdown, and LSU receiver Josh Reed had 186 yards and a touchdown on 10 receptions.

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