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