BYU STORMS MIAMI, 28-21
CRUSADE: COUGARS SILENCE CRITICS WITH TOUGH PERFORMANCE AGAINST NATIONAL CHAMPS.
A BYU football team on a crusade to show people how good it is shocked No. 1 Miami, 28-21, Saturday night in Cougar Stadium.
"A lot of things were said about how they were a better team, and how we were just a bunch of slow, less-superior athletes, and we did them in," said Cougar running back Matt Bellini."Right now I think people may realize we're a little better than they think," added quarterback Ty Detmer.
All week long BYU players heard just about everyone predict a Miami victory. In Las Vegas, Miami was a 131/2-point favorite, a pretty hefty margin considering BYU is ranked 16th and 18th on the wire-service polls.
Miami players, meanwhile, were quoted in TV and newspaper interviews as saying their quarterback was better than Detmer, that BYU's offensive line was slow, and that the Cougar defense couldn't stop them. Miami Coach Dennis Erickson finally had to issue a gag order on his players, warning them about the dangers of saying things to get an opponent fired up.
The warning apparently came too late. The Cougars - and their sometimes staid crowd - were pumped up about this one from the opening kickoff.
At the end, as Detmer dropped to one knee to run out the clock, they were still pumped up. Detmer fired the ball into the air as time ran out, and hundreds of fans from the stadium-record crowd of 66,235 ran out onto the field and mobbed the players in blue and white.
"It obviously has to be one of the biggest nights we'ver ever had, the biggest regular-season night we've had," BYU Coach LaVell Edwards said. "If we can just keep this up, we can be a very good football team."
Ironically, it was the very people most maligned by the pre-game criticisms who finished off the Hurricanes. The offensive line withstood a ferocious Miami rush to give Detmer time to throw, the defense repeatedly turned away a potent Miami offense, and Detmer turned what was billed as a Heisman Trophy Showdown into a one-man quarterback show. He was sacked twice, but on those few other times when his protection broke down and it looked like he was going to go down, he somehow managed to slip away and get off a pass.
"All I did was run around back there for a while and give them time to get open," Detmer said.
"He was really moving around the pocket tonight," Bellini said. "He's just a slimy little cat."
For the record, Detmer completed 38 of 54 passes for 406 yards, with three touchdowns and one interception.
Asked to grade his performance, he smiled sheepishly and said, "A. I'm not too generous with myself generally, but this was a big game and I'm pretty excited right now."
Detmer's Heisman rival, Miami quarterback Craig Erickson, was 28-of-52 for 299 yards and no touchdowns, a performance his coach said was "not his best, but he didn't get any help, either."
On the other hand, Coach Erickson said, "Ty Detmer is unbelievable. He made plays and threw with pressure in his face all night."
And Detmer had help, too, with three receivers hitting the 90-yard mark. Bellini had 10 catches for 111 yards, tight end Chris Smith nine catches for 90 yards, and Andy Boyce nine catches for 96 yards.
Perhaps most amazing is that BYU did this despite committing five turnovers (one interception, four fumbles), a tendency that has killed them in a few big games. Even Coach LaVell Edwards was surprised that his team was able to overcome that many giveaways.
"If anybody had told me earlier that we'd turn the ball over five times and still win, "I'd have wanted to give them a saliva test," Edwards said.
The reason they were able to overcome the turnovers was the defense, an inexperienced group that was supposedly a question mark coming into this season but which erased all doubts with this performance.
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