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    E X C L U S I V E

    A N A L Y S I S


    'Canes take out season's worth of frustration on Nebraska

    January 3, 2002 Print it

  • Sporting News Radio: Exclusive Rose Bowl coverage
  • Tom Dienhart: Huskers didn't belong

    PASADENA, Calif. -- Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you 364 days of payback.

    'Dis me once, shame on the BCS. 'Dis me twice, sit back and watch the carnage.

    This is what motivation and preparation looks like. This is what happens when the best team in the nation is told it can't play for the national title one season, then overlooked a year later.

    Miami 37, Nebraska 14.

    Dynamic and defining. Vengeance and verve.

    Considering the contrived circumstances of the last year, Miami's first national title in 10 years might be its most satisfying.

    To recap: The (B)owl (C)rap (S)hoot chooses one-loss Florida State, which lost to one-loss Miami, to play Oklahoma in last year's national championship game. A year later, the focus of game week in the Rose Bowl national championship game is the possibility of a split national title when Nebraska beats Miami.

    Meanwhile, the Hurricanes still haven't lost since September of 2000.

    Heck, while we're at it, let's recall the 2001 Orange Bowl. Just give it to the 'Canes, wrapped with a nice, neat apology from the BCS.

    Dear Miami:

    We're sorry for screwing you last season. Oklahoma isn't.

    Yours in stupidity,

    The BCS.

    We already knew Nebraska had no business in sunny Southern California this week after failing to win -- take your pick -- its division, conference championship and favor of the human polls (you know, those who actually watch the games). The Huskers strolled into town popping off about respect and the right to be here.

    They left as Miami's personal punching bag, another speed bump on the way to the 'Canes claiming what they believed was theirs all along. Who knows how the 'Canes would've fared against Oklahoma last season? The point is, they never got the chance.

    "That was taken from us,'' Miami safety Ed Reed said earlier this week. "We still haven't forgotten.''

    College sports is fueled by emotion and motivation. Fold in NFL-caliber talent, and step away from the combustion.

    The 'Canes had it all on this unusually chilly California night in front of a Red sea of Nebraska fans. From defensive coordinator Randy Shannon's unique scheme, to the typically efficient play of quarterback Ken Dorsey.

    Miami spread its defensive front, forcing Nebraska's plodding (read: fat) offensive line to chase to block. Reed and fellow safety James Lewis then moved to the line of scrimmage and took away Crouch's option keep.

    Dorsey, meanwhile, cut up Nebraska's secondary with seam passes to tight end Jeremy Shockey and deep balls to wideout Andre Johnson. It was ridiculously easy.

    The Huskers gave up 62 points the last time they stepped on the field; they gave up more than half that (34) in the first half of the Rose Bowl. Forget about Miami's second half lull; the 'Canes were bored and primed to celebrate and going through the motions.

    Besides, the damage was done much earlier. In fact, as early as Jan. 2, 2001, when Miami toyed with Florida in the Sugar Bowl while it should have been playing Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.

    A year of redemption, a night for history.

    Now that's payback.

    Matt Hayes is a staff writer for The Sporting News.

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