After an impressive 33-7 week one victory at Penn State, the Hurricanes headed to the Orange Bowl for their home opener against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Miami would enter the game now ranked number one in the polls, the first time in nearly nine years that UM was atop college football.
Miami would also be facing off against their former defensive coordinator, Greg Schiano, who was now the head coach for a Rutgers team that frankly wasn’t very good.
Mistakes by both teams were made early in the ballgame, as rain poured steadily in South Florida. Clinton Portis fumbled on the first play from scrimmage for Miami, though Rutgers coughed it up on their second play. UM linebacker Chris Campbell knocked the ball loose, and safety Ed Reed jumped on it. Next play, Ken Dorsey paired up with receiver Andre Johnson for a 42-yard touchdown, and the Canes were just getting started.
While he struggled with accuracy and threw an interception in the first half, Dorsey did enough for the Canes offense to move the football and score points. Miami’s second scoring drive was highlighted by Dorsey hitting Johnson again, who then took it 64 yards deep into Rutgers territory. Najeh Davenport finished it off by scoring near the goal-line.
Dorsey finished the day by throwing for 315 yards and two touchdowns. His second scoring pass was to tight end Jeremy Shockey from three yards out, as the duo connected for their second touchdown in as many weeks. Shockey was a nightmare for Rutgers all day, with four receptions for 79 yards and a score.
That drive resulting in the Shockey touchdown was set up by the Hurricanes swarming defense forcing yet another turnover, as Jonathan Vilma was the next Miami player to scoop up a fumble. Against Rutgers, Vilma recovered a fumble, forced a fumble, earned four tackles, and continued to become one of the leaders of the Canes defense.
Just like the September rain that day, the Hurricanes were relentless on the Scarlet Knights, out-gaining Rutgers in total offense 542-126. En route to a convincing 61-0 win, cornerback Phillip Buchanon delivered the highlight play from the evening with a 57-yard punt return for a touchdown.
Play of the game, 57 yard punt return by Phillip Buchanon for a Canes touchdown pic.twitter.com/SHGsp7jgXU— Mamba Marsh (@hurricanesmarsh) March 30, 2020
For the second consecutive week, Miami was able to pound the football on the ground. With the trio of Clinton Portis, Willis McGahee and Frank Gore, the Hurricanes racked up 227 yards of rushing with a balanced attack that the Scarlet Knights had no answer for.
The victory was supposed to be a tune-up for the Hurricanes next opponent the following Saturday, the Washington Huskies. Though, because of the events of September 11th, Miami would not play again until September 27th.
Up next: at Pittsburgh