During these weeks of downtime due to the coronavirus, it allows sports fans to go back and rewatch classic games and historic teams. As we all know, the 2001 Miami Hurricanes are the greatest team in college football history. So, I’ve decided to go back and relive that memorable season, looking at every game and breaking down each of those 12 victories for the Canes.
Miami’s first opponent in 2001 was the Penn State Nittany Lions, coached by Joe Paterno. The Canes entered the game and season ranked number-two in the country, though they were being led by first year head coach, Larry Coker, who had taken over for Butch Davis.
Penn State welcomed the Hurricanes into the newly enlarged Beaver Stadium, as a record 109,313 fans were in attendance, hopeful for a week one upset over Miami.
The Canes first drive resulted in a 36-yard Todd Sievers field goal, and when Penn State took over, UM linebacker Jonathan Vilma came through and popped the Nittany Lions running back, forcing a fumble, which James Lewis recovered.
Five plays later, quarterback Ken Dorsey found a wide open Ethenic Sands for a 27-yard touchdown to make it 10-0 Miami. The Hurricanes junior quarterback came out firing, throwing for three touchdowns and over 200 yards in the first half.
Miami’s defense completely shut down Penn State early, as the Canes quick and athletic front four swarmed the Nittany Lions. Playing in his first game as a Hurricane, defensive end Andrew Williams made his presence felt, as he recorded four tackles and a sack.
The biggest thing that jumps out to you when watching this 2001 Hurricanes team is their speed, which is what great Miami squads have always been known for. Two more Sievers field goals increased UM’s lead to 16-0 early in the second quarter. On their next drive, Miami kept striking, as Dorsey connected with fullback Najeh Davenport for a 28-yard touchdown pass, 23-0 Canes with over 11 minutes until halftime.
A 31-yard scamper by running back Clinton Portis later in the quarter had Miami in the redzone. The drive was capped off as Dorsey dumped it off to tight end Jeremy Shockey, who escaped a couple tackles and got in for the score. Shockey had seven receptions for 84 yards. The Hurricanes went into the locker room up 30-0 on Penn State, and the sold-out crowd for the Nittany Lions started to head to the exits.
The second half went by, and the Hurricanes easily cruised to a 33-7 victory, with an incredible show of dominance on the road in week one.
Ken Dorsey finished the night completing 20 of 27 passes, for three touchdowns and a then career high of 344 yards through the air. Clinton Portis led the way on the ground with 164 yards rushing, and Miami totaled over 600 yards of total offense.
Clinton Portis finished the night with 164 yards rushing, as Miami ran for 258 yards as a team pic.twitter.com/fPEJNwCvHj— Mamba Marsh (@hurricanesmarsh) March 30, 2020
UM’s defense was suffocating, holding Penn State to just 82 yards rushing, and also forcing three turnovers. Larry Coker’s first game as a head coach at Miami was a complete success, as his Hurricanes let the entire nation know that they were the best team in college football.
Up next: home opener against Rutgers