Miami Tops Florida International, 23-9
Sept. 15, 2007
MIAMI (AP) -Kyle Wright threw an 80-yard pass to Lance Leggett for Miami's longest offensive score in nearly two years, and the Hurricanes beat Florida International 23-9 Saturday in the rematch of South Florida rivals who got into an on-field melee last season.
Darnell Jenkins had a career-high 108 yards receiving, Javarris James ran for 92 yards and Kenny Phillips and Chavez Grant had interceptions for Miami (2-1). The Hurricanes held a 428-264 edge in total yards, sending the Golden Panthers (0-3) to their 15th straight loss.
Wright finished 10-of-19 for 224 yards, and Francesco Zampogna kicked three field goals for Miami.
Wayne Younger threw a 65-yard touchdown pass to Trenard Turner midway through the final quarter and A'mod Ned rushed for 87 yards for FIU, which lost 35-0 last season to its foe from the campus 9 miles away. Michael Dominguez and Anthony Gaitor had interceptions for FIU.
Younger ran for 66 yards and threw for 105 more.
Just as both teams vowed, there was no repeat of the sideline-clearing brawl that led to 31 players getting suspended last season. To be safe, the Atlantic Coast Conference sent its top referee - Jack Childress - to keep order, and his crew set a strict tone, separating Miami and FIU players when necessary.
There were four 15-yard penalties in the first quarter alone, and early in the second period, Childress stopped play when hearing a whistle blown by fans seated behind the west end zone.
Play was even gentlemanly at times. When Miami defensive end Calais Campbell hit Younger early in the fourth quarter on a play whistled dead by a false start, he got up and raised both hands apologetically.
But several fans were ejected, some of them dragged out by police and security guards, for altercations in the Orange Bowl stands. Police on horseback were patrolling the grounds as well.
Miami took control late in the third when Wright found Leggett down the right sideline for a 23-3 lead. Leggett got separation by stiff-arming FIU's Lionell Singleton after the catch and sprinted to the end zone.
FIU got within 14 points when Younger found Turner for the Golden Panthers' lone touchdown, but the outcome was never in doubt.
Miami missed some opportunities. The Hurricanes' first two possessions started in FIU territory, and resulted in no points after a missed field goal and an interception by the Golden Panthers' Anthony Gaitor.
The third possession also began on FIU's side of the field, and Graig Cooper came through. He carried the ball on all four plays for 33 yards, the last a 3-yard run for a 7-0 lead.
Zampogna added field goals of 27 and 24 yards to send Miami into halftime with a 13-0 lead. FIU got within 10 when Chris Abed kicked a 24-yard field goal in the third, and Zampogna answered with another 27-yarder.