After dominating in Tallahassee, the Miami Hurricanes took their 5-0 record and #1 ranking back to South Florida for a matchup against the West Virginia Mountaineers. Under first year head coach Rich Rodriguez, WVU came into the Orange Bowl with a 2-4 record, and and having lost their last three games.
On a warm Thursday night in Little Havana, Miami’s defense would be without one of their leaders, linebacker Jonathan Vilma. With a high-tempo offense that would capture the college football world in a matter of years, WVU came out against Miami running very effectively.
Defensive end Andrew Williams came out the first play, though the Hurricanes defense would put the clamp down on the Mountaineers for the most part of the night. Freshman defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, laid a hit on WVU quarterback Brad Lewis in the first quarter, ending his game short.
Still, Miami’s offense struggled early on. UM QB Ken Dorsey had problems throughout the evening connecting with receivers, thanks in large part to WVU’s second ranked pass defense. After a quarter in Miami, the score was tied at 3.
Then, in the second quarter, Ed Reed snatched his fifth interception of the season, and the Canes were all of a sudden in business. In the first half alone, Reed would total two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
That Reed pick led to Miami’s first touchdown of the night, as Dorsey and Jeremy Shockey connected for the score. With his fourth TD of the year, Shockey was making a name for himself as one of the top tight ends in college football.
On the ensuing WVU drive, the Hurricanes defense came up big again. This time, it was James Lewis, and the defensive back brought an interception 74-yards all the way to the house.
Though they were outgained in the first half, Miami forced four West Virginia turnovers, and took the 17-3 lead into the locker room. Coming out in the third quarter, the Canes looked to run all over the Mountaineers, and that’s exactly what they did. In the third period alone, Miami rushed for 116 yards, including touchdowns from Clinton Portis and Frank Gore, to put the game well out of reach.
Still, there was history that had to take place, and that occurred at the beginning of the fourth quarter. One touchdown pass from tying the schools all-time career record, Ken Dorsey got even with Steve Walsh and Vinny Testaverde, as he tossed his 48th TD to Andre Johnson.
While he wasn’t nearly as sharp as he's been in the past, Dorsey still threw for 192 yards and two touchdowns on the night. In the 45-3 win, freshman running back Frank Gore stole the show, rushing for 124 yards and two touchdowns on only six carries.
The Hurricanes would force six turnovers, and hold WVU to under 300 yards of total offense. Continuing to dominate teams on both sides of the ball, Miami now switched their focus to their next game against Temple.