Arizona's defense swarms Miami, 29-0

January 02, 1994|By Ken Rodriguez | Ken Rodriguez,Knight-Ridder News Service

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Under a shadow of mountains, cactus and blood-red Arizona fans, chanting, "U of A! U of A!," the University of Miami went down like a wounded gunslinger yesterday, ambushed in the desert.

A dynasty lay sprawled. A rising challenger stood tall, strutting into the sunset after a shocking Fiesta Bowl rout: Arizona 29, Miami 0.

"They just kicked the living heck out of us," said Miami coach Dennis Erickson, whose No. 10 Hurricanes (9-3) completed their worst season since an 8-5 record under Jimmy Johnson in 1984. "We never could get anything going."

A Sun Devil Stadium crowd of 72,260 watched in delirious disbelief as No. 16 Arizona -- a program that has never finished the season in the Top 10 -- hammered the Hurricanes, winners of four national championships, mercilessly.

The Wildcats, strong and stout, rode Miami quarterbacks Frank Costa and Ryan Collins like rodeo cowboys, hanging on their backs, wrestling them to the turf. Led by defensive end Tedy Bruschi, Arizona sacked Costa and Collins four times totaling 41 yards. Seemed like a lot more.

"They dominated the line of scrimmage," said Erickson, whose Hurricanes were shut out for the first time since 1979.

The Arizona offense, belittled entering the game, dominated, too. Tailback Chuck Levy? He rushed for 142 yards and one touchdown, scoring once from 68 yards out. Wide receiver Troy Dickey? Caught touchdown passes of 13 and 14 yards from quarterback Dan White, the Penn State transfer. Steve McLaughlin? The junior kicker whose 51-yard field-goal attempt missed wide right in an 8-7 loss to Miami last season, added field goals of 39, 31 and 21 yards.

"We're thrilled with the victory, but we're not surprised," said Arizona coach Dick Tomey, whose Wildcats finished 10-2 and likely will finish in the Top 10. "Every time we played this year we expected to win. This was just our day and I don't think we were going to be denied."

Saturday's loss raises difficult questions for Miami, which will tumble out of the Top 10 for the first time since 1985: Is the program in decline? Who will start at quarterback, Collins or Costa? Can the Hurricanes rebound and challenge for No. 1?

Miami must first answer this: What happened to the offense?

The Hurricanes tried changing quarterbacks, benching Collins for Costa to start the second quarter. When they couldn't pass, they ran. When they couldn't run, they passed.

"Every time we got something going, we turned the ball over," Erickson said, noting Miami's three interceptions and one fumble.

On a clear day with a slight wind out of the southeast and 58-degree temperatures, Miami simply froze, unable to block or stop the charging Wildcats defense.

The Hurricanes crossed midfield four times, never getting closer than the Arizona 40. Twice Collins threw interceptions; once receiver Jermaine Chambers fumbled; once Miami punted.

Shuttling quarterbacks might have hurt.

"I was a little surprised at first," Arizona All-American nose guard Rob Waldrop said of the second-period change. "It didn't really seem like they gave Collins a chance."

But Jones said, "The rhythm didn't affect me. I've practiced with both of them. That wasn't a problem."

Poor field position hurt. Miami started three drives inside its 10, two others inside the 20.

The Wildcats struck hard from every direction: Bruschi from the right side, Jimmie Hopkins from the left, Sean Harris and Brant Boyer up the middle.

Miami ..0 0 0 0 -- 0

Arizona 9 7 6 7 -- 29

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