No. 13 Miami 34, Rutgers 10
MIAMI (AP)—Brock Berlin had a few good plays. More importantly, he had no bad ones.
Berlin bounced back from his benching with two touchdown passes in a 28-point third quarter, and No. 13 Miami used a strong defensive effort to beat Rutgers 34-10 on Saturday.
“It’s tough when you get benched. Nobody wants to get benched,” Berlin said. “But the big thing for me was to keep my head up and stay behind Derrick (Crudup) and my offense and know that when my opportunity comes again, to make the best of it.”
The Hurricanes are now one victory away from a fourth consecutive Big East title and a berth in a Bowl Championship Series game. Miami (9-2, 5-1) plays at No. 21 Pittsburgh next Saturday.
Berlin likely will start against the Panthers. He was benched before last week’s game against Syracuse after throwing 14 interceptions, fumbling three times and losing twice in the first nine games.
Crudup was equally ineffective against the Orangemen, completing five passes and turning the ball over twice.
Coach Larry Coker went back to Berlin this week, and after a shaky first half, the junior transfer from Florida showed why. Of course, it did come against Rutgers (4-7, 1-5).
Berlin was 6-of-14 for 86 yards—and didn’t have a turnover. It was just the second time this season he started and didn’t throw an interception. He also did it against Temple.
Berlin got plenty of help Saturday from Miami’s defense and special teams. The Hurricanes had six sacks, three interceptions and two blocked punts.
“It seemed like old times,” Coker said. “With some of the quick strikes we had and the non-offensive touchdowns.”
Darrell McClover blocked a punt in the third quarter, giving Berlin the ball at the Temple 18. Two plays later, Berlin hit backup tight end Kevin Everett for a 17-yard score.
The Scarlet Knights went backward with three penalties and a sack on the ensuing possession, and Roscoe Parrish returned the punt to the Temple 18. Jarrett Payton scored from there to make it 20-3.
Payton finished with 82 yards on 13 carries.
Rutgers’ next possession was just as bad and included a strange 34-yard gain on fourth-and-16 from the 1. Sean Taylor blocked a punt, but Rutgers linebacker Brian Hohmann picked it up in the back of the end zone and ran around the left end for a first down.
Taylor made up for the gaffe two plays later when he intercepted a pass from Ryan Hart and ran 44 yards untouched to the end zone.
Miami didn’t stop there.
On the next drive, Berlin connected 44 yards with Ryan Moore on an out-and-up down the right sideline, then hit a wide open Everett in the end zone for a 5-yard score and a 34-3 lead. The pass to Moore was Berlin’s longest completion since a 50-yard TD pass against East Carolina in early September.
“Unfortunately we ran into what I’ve seen too many times on the other side,” said Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, the defensive coordinator at Miami in 1999 and 2000. “That’s what University of Miami football teams do to you—run you out of the stadium in a six- or seven-minute span.”
Berlin was just 3-of-10 for 20 yards in the first half and was booed steadily while leading Miami to a 6-3 lead at the break.
He might get even more flak for this quote: “Punting is good for us, to let our defense get back on the field and make plays.”
With the Hurricanes ahead 34-3 after three quarters, Crudup played the rest of the game. Having also played one series in the first half, he finished 1-of-3 for 7 yards.
“It’s hard to get into a rhythm when you’re switching quarterbacks,” tight end Kellen Winslow said. “They’re looking over their shoulder. You’ve got to give them a chance and let them make mistakes.”