No. 15 Miami Cruises Past UCF

AP Photo/Scott Audette

ORLANDO - Ben Roethlisberger started the game 14-for-14 passing for 215 yards and three touchdowns to guide #15 Miami to a 56-21 victory over UCF at the Florida Citrus Bowl. With the win, the RedHawks extended their winning streak to 11 games (11-1) and ended the year a perfect 8-0 in the MAC while UCF fell to 3-9 and 2-6 in the MAC.

Miami put the game away after just 15 minutes of play. The RedHawks outgained UCF 168- (-4) in the first quarter and outscored the Knights 21-0.

The RedHawks scored on their first two possessions as Roethlisberger tossed two 11-yard touchdown passes to R.J. Corbin and Ryne Robinson, respectively. The scoring continued for the RedHawks when John Busing intercepted Steven Moffett and returned the interception 28 yards for a touchdown. The score increased the RedHawk lead to 21-0 with 6:06 left in the first quarter.

The game was all but over after two quarters as the RedHawks led 35-0 at the break. Roethlisberger had an amazing first half, totaling 300 yards through the air. He was 23-for-28 including four touchdowns in the opening half of play.

Miami scored two additional touchdowns to pad the lead to 49-0 before UCF finally got on the scoreboard. Moffett fired his first career touchdown pass with a 30-yard touchdown pass to Darcy Johnson on a fourth down play in the third quarter to cut the lead to 49-7. The 30-yard touchdown reception was the longest touchdown catch of Johnson's career.

UCF played two quarterbacks as Moffett threw for two touchdowns while Jon Rivera finished with a career-high 292 yards including his first career touchdown pass to Da'Bar Fluellen.

 


UCF Game Notes
#15 Miami at UCF
November 28, 2003
Florida Citrus Bowl

Miami, ranked #15 in the Associated Press Top 25 and #16 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, was just the third ranked team ever to play UCF at the Florida Citrus Bowl. The Golden Knights are 0-3 all-time at home vs. ranked opponents.

The 56-21 loss was the second-worst loss at home in UCF school history. The worst loss ever was a 48-12 loss to Southwest Texas State in 1985.

Junior linebacker Antoine Poe left the game with a neck injury and is in stable condition at Orlando Regional Hospital.

UCF ended the year 3-9 overall and 2-6 in the MAC. The three victories were the lowest single-season total for UCF since the 1984 season, when UCF was 2-9 (NCAA Division II).

Matt Prater's 68-yard punt in the second quarter tied for the fifth longest punt in UCF history. Prater owns three of the five longest punts in school history this season. Earlier in the year, he booted a 74- and 71-yard punt.

Prater ended the year with an average of 47.9 yards per punt, a new school and MAC record. The mark also puts Prater 13th in NCAA single-season history. The old UCF record was held by Charlie Pierce, who set the mark with a 44.1 yard average in 1996.

Peter Sands recorded his second interception of the season in the second quarter. Sands is tied for the team lead with two interceptions.

UCF was outscored 21-0 in the first quarter. The Golden Knights ended the year being outscored 119-19 in the first quarter.

Nine UCF seniors made their final appearance at home for the Golden Knights. James Cody (safety), Pat Holland (safety), David Ashkinaz (left guard), Kyle Watkins (right tackle), Larry Brown (defensive tackle), Brent Bolar (defensive end), Doug Webb (long snapper), Da'Bar Fluellen (wide receiver) and Roy Williams (defensive tackle).

Jon Rivera's 61-yard completion to Luther Huggins in the third quarter was the longest of Rivera's career. It was also Huggins' longest catch of his career.

Junior quarterback Jon Rivera set career highs in passing yards, attempts, and completions. Rivera ended the game 16 for 36 for 292 yards passing and a touchdown. Rivera's 13-yard touchdown pass to Da'Bar Fluellen with 27 seconds remaining in the game was the first of his career.

Da'Bar Fluellen's 13-yard touchdown reception late in the game was the first of his career.

True freshman quarterback Steven Moffett tossed his first career touchdown pass in the third quarter. The 30-yard scoring strike was caught by tight end Darcy Johnson, the longest touchdown reception of Johnson's career.

Senior tight end Michael Gaines will not return to school for his final year of eligibility in 2004. Gaines will enter the NFL Draft and play in the Blue-Gray All-Star game Christmas Day. Gaines was redshirted this season.

Quotes
#15 Miami at UCF
November 28, 2003
Florida Citrus Bowl

UCF Head Coach Alan Gooch


On the events of the past month:
"Football has the opportunity to teach you many life lessons. It's an important game to these young men and they are going to learn a lot from it. They've learned over the past few weeks that they are going to have to overcome adversity in their life. How they overcome it is going to determine their success. That's one thing they can take from this."

On Antoine Poe's injury:
"We remembered Antoine Poe today and we fought hard for him. He's going to be in the hospital a while with his injury and we're going to meet and pray for him and his recovery. This reminds us what these young men put on the line today."

On the game:
"It was a tough task today. Miami is 15th-ranked in the country and maybe they should be ranked higher. They have a good football team and a quarterback that will be playing in the NFL someday and a very experienced defense. My hats off to them."

Miami Head Coach Terry Hoeppner

On Antoine Poe's injury:
"We always take a minute after every game and reflect and we took an extra minute today to remember [Antoine] Poe. Hopefully he'll recover and get back to normal soon."

On the game:
"I'm really, really happy with the way our team played today. We created some distractions and planned this trip in anticipation of the game and the fact that the athletes would be away for Thanksgiving. I was really happy with the way that our team focused amid all the distractions and came out and played the way that we've played most of the year."

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