Miami overpowers remade Ohio State

Hurricanes' big plays make big statement, 23-12

August 30, 1999|By NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Someday, Austin Moherman and Steve Bellisari might become a better quarterback tandem than Joe Germaine and Stanley Jackson. Ken-Yon Rambo might prove more a dangerous receiver than David Boston. Ohio State has a track record for replacing great players with even better ones.

But this time, it's going to take some time. It didn't happen in yesterday's Kickoff Classic at Giants Stadium.

The game belonged to Miami, a young team looking to rejoin football's elite. The Hurricanes took a step in that direction by beating Ohio State, 23-12, before 73,037. The victory moved the Hurricanes up from 12th to No. 8 in the Associated Press poll. Ohio State, ranked ninth, fell to No. 13.

"We're not back," said Miami coach Butch Davis, whose team is finally recovering from NCAA sanctions. "We're still having to play some freshmen. That's evidence that we're not totally back. But this is a nice step forward."

Miami won by making fewer mistakes and more big plays. An under-thrown bomb from new quarterback Kenny Kelly to receiver Santana Moss went for a 67-yard touchdown near the end of the second quarter. That made it 23-9, and Miami held on through a tedious, error-filled second half.

For the Hurricanes, this continues a renaissance. For the Buckeyes, who have been in the national title picture the last few seasons with Jackson or Germaine at quarterback, it's time to refocus.

"We need a lot of work," said coach John Cooper.

Not even his star tailback did much. Michael Wiley had a 69-yard run in the first quarter but finished with 81 yards.

Moherman had to deal with pressure, and he couldn't. He was sacked three times, once taking a loss that knocked Ohio State out of field-goal range in the second half.

Not that a field goal would've been a sure thing; Ohio State's Dan Stultz missed two of three attempts and one point-after try.

Bellisari, who rotated with Moherman, did no better. He had two drives that started in Miami territory in the second quarter, and Ohio State didn't score on either. Combined, the two quarterbacks were 11-for-23 for 104 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

Miami's Kelly was also starting his first game, and he, too, made mistakes. He fumbled twice and threw two interceptions. But unlike the Buckeyes, who got nothing from their big-play man, Rambo, Miami's receivers made two long catch-and-runs of Kelly passes.

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