Wednesday January 3, 2001U-M wins Sugar Bowl 37-20 over the Gators
New Orleans, LA
Earnest Graham rushed for a game-best 136 yards for the Gators
The Gators scored the first points of the game when Rex Grossman hit tightend Kirk Wells with a 23-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. But a pair of Todd Sievers field goals and a Ken Dorsey touchdown pass to tightend Jeremy Shockey gave U-M a 13-10 halftime lead.
The Gators regained the lead early in the third quarter after Dorsey was intercepted by defensive back Keiwan Ratliff. Earnest Graham rambled 36 yards for a touchdown to give the Gators a 17-13 lead. Graham finished with a game-high 136 yards. "Earnest Graham was probably the lone bright spot of the whole game," said Gator coach Steve Spurrier in his postgame interview. "Graham ran hard. I should have given it to him every play I guess, looking back."
Dorsey brought the Hurricanes back after Graham's score, going 80 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. Dorsey hit fullback D.J. Williams with a 19- yard scoring pass. The play was set up by a roughing the quarterback penalty on Gator defensive tackle Gerard Warren, which gave the Hurricanes an automatic first down.
"We had alot of careless plays out there," said Spurrier. "They're a good team. Give them credit. They're better than us. To beat a good team, we can't have the penalties we had. We can't pull the quarterback down when it had been third and 20 with the lead."
Miami held a 27-17 advantage when defensive back Phillip Buchanon picked off a Rex Grossman pass. That set up Najeh Davenport's three-yard touchdown run that put the game out of reach, 37-20.
Miami finishes the year 11-1. They can claim a share of the national title if Florida State beats Oklahoma in the BCS Championship Game Wednesday night in Miami. The SEC champion Gators end the season at 10-3.