- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 2, 2001


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. The Hurricane sirens are still blaring in Beaver Stadium. A record crowd of 109,313 packed into Penn State's newly expanded house last night to pay homage to comeback cornerback Adam Taliaferro, legendary coach Joe Paterno and the 1986 national championship team. Unfortunately for the Nittany Lions, the evening's magic ended once the football started.
No. 2 Miami christened now-monstrous Beaver Stadium by giving Penn State an equally mammoth beating. In a 'Cane-ing worthy of a Singapore prison, Miami battered the Nittany Lions 33-7, matching Penn State's worst home loss in Paterno's 35-plus seasons at the helm in State College.
"It was a great win. We beat a great football tradition tonight," said first-year Miami coach Larry Coker, the longtime offensive coordinator who took over for Butch Davis after last season and earned his first win as a coach against a coaching behemoth. "We probably caught them at the right time."
The Hurricanes (1-0), who still feel they were cheated out of a berth in last season's national title game, used last night's prime-time platform to send a message to the college football world. Miami dominated Penn State in every conceivable category on the night when Paterno was attempting to collect his record-tying 323rd Division I-A victory.
Junior quarterback Ken Dorsey casually carved apart the youthful Penn State secondary, completing 20 of 27 passes for a career-high 344 yards and three touchdowns to install himself as an early Heisman Trophy favorite. Dorsey dismissed any concerns over the departure of his two favorite targets from last season (Santana Moss and Reggie Wayne) by rekindling his relationship with All-American tight end Jeremy Shockey and bonding with first-year starter Ethenic Sands on a 27-yard, first-quarter touchdown strike that put the Hurricanes ahead 10-0.
Junior tailback Clinton Portis was equally impressive, rushing 17 times for 164 yards before taking his leave midway through the third quarter. Much of that damage was due to Miami's offensive line, which was every bit as overwhelming as advertised.
During one almost comical stretch during the first half, Miami ran the same rushing play behind left tackle Bryant McKinnie 10 times in the span of 16 plays. The Nittany Lions (0-1) tried three different defensive ends on McKinnie, but the 6-foot-9, 330-pound All-American pushed every Penn Stater thrown in front of him back to Wilkes-Barre as Miami scored on its first five possessions to build a 23-0 lead less than 20 minutes into the proceedings.
"We just whipped them real bad up front," McKinnie said. "It should have been worse, but we kind of lost our cool with penalties and turnovers. We're going to have to work on our focus, but I think it's clear that the talent's there for another run at the title."
Defensively, the Hurricanes looked almost bored by Penn State's anemic offense. They sent Penn State starting quarterback Matt Senneca to the sidelines with a bruised right elbow after a sack near the end of the first quarter. And while their offense was rolling up a 30-0 lead and nearly 400 first-half yards, the Hurricanes stingy bunch allowed Penn State just 67 yards of offense before intermission.
A healthy percentage of the crowd cleared out at the half with the game effectively ended. After all, the Nit-wits hadn't had anything to cheer for since Taliaferro, who was temporarily paralyzed in a game against Ohio State last season, ran out in front of his teammates before kickoff.
Penn State's only score came in the final quarter against Miami's second-stringers, when backup quarterback Zack Mills and flanker Bryant Johnson connected on a 44-yard touchdown pass to provide the final score.
"We weren't ready for that type of speed in the first half," said Paterno, who will have to wait at least one more week to match Bear Bryant in the victory column. "We knew Miami was good. We knew we were going to have problems. But I think we learned a lot about ourselves by hanging in during that second half, and I still think we can be a good football team… . I really do."

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