Saturday September 7, 2002Gators Fall To Top-Ranked Hurricanes, 41-16
Earnet Graham scores on an 18-yd touchdown run
Miami signal-caller Ken Dorsey overcame three interceptions by throwing four touchdown passes, as the top-ranked Hurricanes defeated the sixth-ranked Florida Gators 41-16 before a record 85,777 fans at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
Willie McGahee led a balanced and efficient attack for the Hurricanes with a career-high 204 yards on the ground on 24 carries. Miami put up 508 yards of offense, gaining 306 on the ground and 202 through the air.
In a game that wasn't as lopsided as the score would indicate, the defending national champions took advantage of every opportunity the Gators them to solidify their No. 1 ranking. The Hurricanes were able to turn two interceptions and one botched punt into 21 points, while the Gators forced three interceptions and blocked a punt, but were only able to turn it into nine points.
The Gators took the opening kick and marched down to the Miami 21-yard line on an 11-play, 59-yard drive, but failed to take the lead when a 38-yard effort by Matt Leach sailed wide right.
After the Gator defense forced a three-and-out, the Hurricanes responded on each of their next two drives with field goals of 53 and 38 yards by Todd Sievers to take a 6-0 lead early in the second quarter.
The Gators responded shortly after, as Earnest Graham gave them their first lead of the game, dragging Hurricane defenders to the end zone en route to an 18-yard touchdown. The Graham touchdown capped an efficient four-play, 53-yard scoring drive that took less than a minute.
On the ensuing drive, the Gators blocked a Miami punt which Gus Scott returned to the Hurricane 11-yard line. The Gator offense moved backwards, however, losing six yards before settling for a 34-yard field goal by Leach.
The tide turned quickly, as Dorsey first fired a 7-yard strike to Andre Johnson, then seized control of the game just over two minutes later when he found Ethenic Sands for a 10-yard score. The second score was set up by a blown punt attempt which set the Hurricanes up inside the 10-yard line. The Gators would never lead again.
The Hurricanes went into the locker room with a 20-10 lead and added to that on the opening drive of the second quarter when Dorsey hit Jason Geathers with an 18-yard score to give Miami a 17-point lead. The touchdown was set up by a 39-yard scamper by McGahee that set up the Canes in the red zone.
Just when it looked like the Gators were reeling, Bam Hardmon put them back into the game with a tremendous interception he took back 26 yards to cut the lead to 27-16.
With the momentum of the game rapidly changing and the Gators staring at a first and goal at the Miami 5-yard line, the Hurricanes game up with the most critical play of the game. Maurice Sikes snagged a Rex Grossman pass over the middle and returned it 97 yards for a touchdown for a critical 14-point swing that gave Miami a 34-16 lead and ultimately sealed the game.
Geathers added the final score of the game on a 19-yard pass from Dorsey in the fourth quarter. For the game, Dorsey finished 16-of-32 for 202 yards to go along with his four touchdown passes.
The Miami front seven caused problems for the Gators all evening, as Grossman was under pressure on most of his attempts and finished 19-of-45 for 191 yards and two interceptions. It marked the first time since the Florida State game in 2000 that Grossman did not fire a touchdown pass.
Scoring Summary & Statistics
Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Miami 3 17 14 7 41
Florida 0 10 6 0 16
UM: 5:15 – T. Sievers 53-yard field goal - 8 plays, 44 yards, TOP- 2:53
UM: 14:05- T. Sievers 38-yard field goal - 11 plays, 62 yards, TOP 4:09
UF: 9:56- E. Graham 18-yard run (M. Leach kick) - 4 plays, 53 yards, TOP - 0:55
UF: 7:30 - M. Leach 34-yard field goal - 4 plays, -1 yards, TOP - 0:43
UM: 4:30- A. Johnson 7-yard pass from K. Dorsey (T. Sievers kick) - 9 plays, 80 yards, TOP- 3:00
UM: 2:22- E. Sands 10-yard pass from K. Dorsey (T. Sievers kick) - 2 plays, 9 yards, TOP - 0:44
UM: 13:16 - J. Geathers 19-yard pass from K. Dorsey (T. Sievers kick) - 5 plays, 79 yards, TOP - 1:44
UF: 10:28- B. Hardmon 26-yard interception return (M. Leach kick failed)
UM: 2:27 - M. Sikes 97-yard interception return (T. Sievers kick)
UM: 12:35- J. Geathers 19-yard pass from K. Dorsey (T. Sievers kick) - 4 plays, 48 yards, TOP- 1:59
First Downs 25 27
Rushes – Net Yards 46-306 36-163
Passing Comp.-Att-Yds. 16-33-202 19-45-191
Total Offense 508 354
Penalties-Yards 14-134 6-48
Turnovers (Fumbles Lost-Int.) 3 (0-3) 2 (0-2)
Possession Time 31:33 28:27
Florida: E. Graham 20-89-1; R. Carthon 10-47-0; R. Grossman 3-19-0
UM: W. McGahee 24-204-0; J. Geathers 13-72-0; J. Payton 4-16-0
Florida: R. Grossman 19-45-191-0-2
UM: K. Dorsey 16-32-202-4-3
Florida: T. Jacobs 5-56-0; C. Perez 4-23-0; A. Walker 3-65-0; B. Troupe 2-31-0; E. Graham 2-12-0
UM: A. Johnson 4-56-1; K. Winslow 4-42-0; J. Geathers 2-37-2; E. Sands 2-33-1; Q. Hill 2-6-0
Leading Tacklers (Total Tackles-Sacks)
Florida: B. Hardmon 10-1; T. Johnson 8-0; R. Cromartie 8-0
UM: D.J. Williams 9-0; S. Taylor 9-0; J. Green 7-0