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  Saturday, Sep. 25 6:00pm ET
Pirates take wind out of Hurricanes

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- With all that East Carolina has been through in the last six days, a 20-point deficit didn't look all that daunting.

David Garrard's 27-yard touchdown pass to Keith Stokes with 4:51 left capped a fourth-quarter rally and led the hurricane-battered Pirates to a 27-23 upset of Miami (No. 13 ESPN/USA Today, No. 9 AP) Saturday night. It's the highest-ranked team East Carolina has ever beaten.

Kenny Kelly
Miami quarterback Kenny Kelly scrambles to avoid being sacked by East Carolina's Antwane Yelverton.

The Pirates (4-0) remained unbeaten despite having not been home in more than a week because of flooding and associated problems caused by Hurricane Floyd. The game was moved to Raleigh, 85 miles west of the East Carolina campus in Greenville. There were no classes last week and the school may not reopen until Wednesday.

"There is a lot of tension from the long week," East Carolina coach Steve Logan said, "but we turned that tension into passion in the second half."

Garrard helped awaken the Pirates in the second half, completing 20 of 27 passes for 222 yards.

"I really wanted to get a win to go home with because I knew it's going to be a lot of troubles ... when we get back there," Garrard said. "This will help build us a little bit and the guys will be a little more happier going back home."

Miami (2-2) led 23-3 following Andy Crosland's 47-yard field goal with 12:13 left in the third quarter. That's when East Carolina took over.

Jamie Wilson, whose earlier fumble led to a Miami touchdown, ran 23 yards for a score with 9:43 left in the period. Wilson then capped an 84-yard march with an 18-yard touchdown run with 11:59 to play, closing the gap to 23-17.

Kevin Miller added a 39-yard field goal with 9:30 left to draw the Pirates closer. By then, the Hurricanes showed no semblance of the offense that had run up 301 yards through three quarters.

"They didn't do nothing different," Miami wide receiver Reggie Wayne said. "We just didn't come out and play. They got the momentum going on their side and that's all it took."

East Carolina capped the comeback with a 79-yard, 10-play drive that ended a tough week. When time ran out, fans ignored pleas to stay off the field and tore down both goal posts. Security officers kept overzealous fans from taking both sets of uprights and crossbars out of Carter-Finley Stadium.

"This will be a big win if we go ahead and validate it the rest of the season," Logan said. "That's why I tried to get the kids to come down almost immediately and not get carried away."

The victory overshadowed a stellar night by reserve running back Clinton Portis, who ran for 147 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries. Portis replaced James Jackson, who was held out to allow an ankle sprain to heal. Portis responded with 133 yards on 22 carries in the first half, including a 4-yard scoring run in the second quarter. Before Saturday night, Portis had nine carries for 19 yards, all against Florida A&M.

Kenny Kelly had a first-quarter scoring pass to Reggie Wayne for the Hurricanes, who lost for the second straight week by the same score. It's also the second straight loss to East Carolina in the series.

"I can't even describe. I don't even want to describe it. I don't think I can describe it," Kelly said. "If I was to describe how I feel, the NCAA might fine me."

Miami blocked Andrew Bayes' punt and cashed it in for Andy Crosland's 34-yard field goal with 6:06 left in the first quarter.

Wilson's fumble late in the first quarter led to Portis' scoring run.

The Pirates didn't cross midfield until late in the first half, when East Carolina marched from its 15 to the Miami 21 and got a 38-yard field goal from Miller with 1:37 left before halftime.


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 Keith Stokes takes it in for the score.
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 Clinton Portis takes it in for the score.
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