Lost at home: Washington ends Miami streak, 38-20

September 25, 1994|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,Sun Staff Writer

MIAMI -- As the final seconds ticked off the clock, Miami players Ray Lewis, Dwayne Johnson and A. C. Tellison buried their faces in their hands while sitting on the bench. Then they joined hands and cried.

"This is a sick, sick feeling, and unless you've been a part of this, you don't have any idea of how it feels," said Lewis, a senior linebacker. "Through eight or nine years, through a lot of graduating classes, we have won a lot of games in this stadium. And to have this happen, and get kicked around like we did, well . . ."

No. 17 Washington ended Miami's NCAA-record 58-game home winning streak with a 38-20 victory yesterday before a crowd of 62,663 at the Orange Bowl.

The No. 6 Hurricanes had been nearly invincible at home, with the last loss coming against Florida, 35-23, on Sept. 7, 1985.

But the Hurricanes (2-1) were hardly a force yesterday after surrendering 25 third-quarter points, allowing Washington to score more points in one quarter than any other team during a game (23) since the streak began.

"I was bragging all week about how immortal we were here," said Johnson, a senior defensive tackle.

Washington (2-1) beat Miami the same way the Hurricanes have defeated most teams here -- with the big play. Trailing 14-3 at the half, Washington opened the third quarter with a 75-yard touchdown reception on a screen play from quarterback Damon Huard to fullback Richard Thomas to pull within 14-11 with 55 seconds elapsed.

Four plays later, Miami quarterback Frank Costa threw an out pass to flanker Jammi German, who fell before the ball arrived. Huskies cornerback Russell Hairston made the easy interception and went untouched for a 34-yard touchdown.

German fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and six plays later Washington guard Bob Sapp recovered Huard's fumble in the end zone for another touchdown.

Within nearly five minutes, Washington had gone from an 11-point deficit to an 11-point lead with 10:15 left in the third quarter.

The Orange Bowl mystique was fading.

"Momentum never stays on one side of the ball," said Jim Lambright, Washington's coach. "It was a huge win for us considering what Miami has done here. Once we stayed close, and scored on those bigs plays in the third quarter, I liked our chances."

That's when Washington started to play Huskies football, unveiling that punishing running game led by Heisman Trophy candidate Napoleon Kaufman.

Kaufman had only 15 yards on 11 carries at the half, but finished with 80 yards on 28 attempts.

Kaufman paced Washington to two more field goals and another touchdown after Sapp's touchdown recovery.

"We challenged our offensive line to go right at Miami's defense in the second half," said Kaufman.

Miami coach Dennis Erickson said: "Sure, we had a lot of people dropping out there, but it wasn't because we weren't in shape. Our defense was out there a lot in the second half, and they got tired from getting kicked around. It just wasn't our day."

Sometimes, it seemed as if the Miami mystique worked in reverse.

The Huskies had several bad snaps on field goals, but John Wales converted on all three attempts. Instant replays showed that Miami cornerback Dennis Scott actually took a pass away from Washington's Eric Bjornson late in the third period, but the officials ruled otherwise, resulting in a Washington field goal. Sapp had the recovery for a touchdown. A Miami interception with two seconds left in the half should have resulted in a 33-yard field-goal attempt, but officials ruled time had expired.

"Calls didn't go our way, but they made no difference the way we got pushed around in the second half," said Erickson of Miami, which had won 112 consecutive games when it led by seven or more points.

Miami seemed to have the emotional edge in the final minute of the first half when Costa threw a 51-yard touchdown pass to receiver Yatli Green down the right sideline on a fly pattern with 13 seconds remaining.

Costa made the play, not with a great throw, but by looking to his left to freeze Hairston and free safety Lawyer Milloy. When they both looked right, Green streaked by both for the touchdown.

Costa threw over the middle to German for the two-point conversion as Miami went into halftime with a 14-3 lead.

The tide turned quickly after halftime, though.

"We just have to regroup," said Lewis. "Florida State did last year after they lost, and they went on to win the national championship."

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