Miami bad boys humble Houston in 40-10 win

September 13, 1991|By George Diaz | George Diaz,Orlando Sentinel

MIAMI -- Space-age football crashed and burned at the Orange Bowl last night.

The Miami Hurricanes/Vigilantes took a stand for the thump-and-bump version of the game, dismantling Houston, 40-10, before 71,842 fans and a national audience on ESPN that had much higher expectations.

Miami's Gino Torretta emerged as the prime-time quarterback after intensive pre-game focus on Houston's David Klingler. Torretta, a junior, threw a career-high four touchdowns, completing 16 of 35 passes for 365 yards.

Perhaps a check on the fine print would have given everyone a better perspective. Houston's run-and-shoot offense has put up staggering numbers, no doubt partly fueled by the faint vital signs of many opponents.

Riding a 38-game Orange Bowl winning streak, the Hurricanes were very much alive and kicking.

"They beat us in all phases of the game," Klingler said. "They have an outstanding defensive line. All the credit goes to Miami."

Miami (2-0 and ranked second by The Associated Press) has cultivated a belligerent national reputation in past seasons and lived up to its billing after a gag order by coach Dennis Erickson forced the Hurricanes to speak no evil for a few days.

Last night, their mouths opened wide.

"We're the bad boys of college football," defensive lineman Anthony Hamlet said. "Houston's just a bunch of wannabees trying to get some recognition."

It was also a frustrating night for Klingler, harassed all night by a rotating wave of defensive linemen who thrived on the constant pressure and sacked him five times by the end of the third quarter.

The Hurricanes did it with a limited amount of blitzing.

"I was so pumped up I felt like lightning," defensive end Rusty Meaderis said. "We were just getting off the ball. We knew we had one man to beat. You put our front four in that situation, and you're going to have trouble."

Klingler, who holds or shares 34 NCAA passing records, finished with 216 yards on 32 completions. His longest was 24 yards.

Humbling figures for a team that had scored 50 or more points 15 times and won 32 games since November 1987. If not for a last-second score, it would have been Houston's first game without a touchdown since 1987.

"There was a lot of trash-talking," Miami linebacker Michael Barrow said. "They called this the Bad Boys Bowl game, and that's what it was.

The Cougars, ranked 10th, fell to 1-1.

This one was decided by the first bite of the halftime hot dog, when the Hurricanes led, 30-3, and had limited Houston to 76 yards of total offense on seven possessions.

Miami didn't have it quite so rough, playing pinball against Houston's shaky defense that could not match Miami's speed at the skill positions.

The Hurricanes passed often and efficiently, with Torretta throwing touchdown passes of 2, 33 and 71 yards.

Lamar Thomas, who had a disappointing start against Arkansas, returned home to score on the 2-yard floater in the left corner of the end zone and on the 71-yard catch-and-run when he left cornerback Jerry Parks trailing him all the way into the end zone.

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