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Nov. 17, 2012
MIAMI (AP) - Stephen Morris threw for 413 yards and three scores, Herb Waters had an 87-yard touchdown catch for Miami's longest reception in more than five years and the Hurricanes rolled past South Florida 40-9 on Saturday.
Clive Walford (135), Waters (130) and Phillip Dorsett (104) all topped the 100-yard receiving mark for Miami, and Duke Johnson rushed for 66 yards and another score for the Hurricanes (6-5).
Miami is now bowl-eligible, though the school will consider imposing a second straight postseason ban on itself because of the ongoing NCAA investigation into compliance practices.
A year ago, Miami announced its bowl-ban decision one day after winning its sixth game of the season - also against South Florida.
Demetris Murray ran for 108 yards and Maikon Bonani kicked three field goals for the Bulls (3-7), who lost starting quarterback Bobby Eveld to a shoulder injury late in the first quarter.
The margin of defeat was South Florida's largest since a 33-point loss to Rutgers on Nov. 15, 2008.
The Hurricanes feasted on big plays all day, with Morris picking apart the Bulls' secondary for his third game of more than 400 yards this season.
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Walford, Miami's tight end, caught only three passes, but they went for 34, 36 and 65 yards. Waters, pressed into major action because Miami was missing a number of receivers because of suspension and injury, entered the day with 32 receiving yards all season and more than quintupled that total.
With B.J. Daniels gone for the season because of an ankle injury, the Bulls used most of the past two weeks to decide which quarterback to start against Miami and settled on Eveld, who played a key role in South Florida's road win over the Hurricanes in 2010.
But Eveld, who hadn't thrown a pass in 2012 before Saturday, didn't last long. He was knocked out after a hit by Denzel Perryman, forcing Matt Floyd into the game. Floyd had his moments, completing 20 of 35 passes for 175 yards, but also finished with two interceptions.
The Bulls may have had a shot to get back into the game late in the first half, but let about 20 seconds run off the clock - despite three timeouts to burn - after a first-and-goal at the Miami 7. They settled for a chip-shot field goal from Bonani as time expired, and Miami took a 16-3 lead into the break.
Ultimately, clock management didn't matter much.
Johnson ran in from 8 yards out for a score to open the floodgates in the third quarter, Morris connected with Waters for the 87-yard TD and then scrambled early in the fourth quarter before finding Walford all alone for another easy score and a 37-3 lead with 14:09 left.
So it's official - South Florida isn't going to a bowl this season.
And let the Miami speculation begin on that same front, in earnest.
Schools sometimes choose to self-impose things like bowl bans with hope that the NCAA's committee on infractions takes those moves into account before issuing sanctions. For example, if the infractions committee decided Miami deserved a two-year bowl ban for whatever wrongdoing is found, then it would be possible - though not guaranteed - that the Hurricanes could play in a bowl next year, since they willingly sat out in 2011 and may do so again in 2012.
It's believed that the decision will ultimately come from university president Donna Shalala with input from acting athletic director Blake James, who said earlier this month that the school has "to be very careful and think through all the ramifications."
And it's entirely possible that the thought process may go differently this time around. Last season, Miami was almost certainly headed to a lower-tier bowl. This season, since the Hurricanes still have a chance at the Atlantic Coast Conference title, a trip to the Orange Bowl is possible. If Miami beats Duke next weekend, the Hurricanes would be assured of no worse than a share of the ACC's Coastal Division crown.
Time will likely soon tell if even the chance for the Hurricanes to play in a marquee bowl like that - in their home stadium - sways Shalala and James.