Sunday, September 03, 2000

Miami 33, Vanderbilt 30

Two TD passes in final 4 minutes cap comeback

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Miami QB Mike Bath is sacked early in the game.
(AP photos)
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        NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Mike Bath hit tailback Calvin Murray Jr. with a 2-yard touchdown pass with 20 seconds remaining Saturday night, lifting the Miami RedHawks to a 33-30 upset of Vanderbilt.

        Bath's TD pass capped a Miami rally from a 30-20 deficit with 4:03 to go in the game.

        “We really didn't play our game,” said Bath, who threw for a career-high 358 yards. “We didn't play the best we could. But the sign of a mature team is that when it got time to get it done, we did.”

        “The poise he showed on last drive, the look in his eye, the leadership he gave us, that's what you want in your fifth-year senior,” said Miami coach Terry Hoeppner.

        The victory was Miami's third straight season-opening win over a quality opponent, following last year's win over Northwestern and 1998's over North Carolina.

Mike Tillitz, who later scored a TD, returns a kick.
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        “We really didn't play very good,” Hoeppner said. “Last year we came out real workmanline. (But) when the game was on the line, we did what we had to do. When we had to stop them, we did.“

        Vandy led 30-20 before Bath hooked up with Mike Sullivan on a 4-yard strike to make it 30-26. But the extra point was blocked, meaning the RedHawks needed to go for a touchdown instead of a field goal on their final drive.

        Bath was 24-for-41 for 358 yards, four touchdowns and one interception for the RedHawks, who won their fifth straight opener. Ty Buxton and Sly Johnson both finished with 134 receiving yards.

        Greg Zolman threw two long touchdown passes and ran for a short one himself for Vanderbilt, which was hurt down the stretch by the absence of suspended All-American linebacker Jamie Winborn and top cornerback Jimmy Williams. Zolman was 18-of-25 for 307 yards.

        On a third-and-24 play late in the third, Zolman found Ray Perkins in the left flat to give the Commodores a 17-13 lead.

        Miami's chance to retake the lead was foiled when Vandy's Nate Morrow intercepted a pass from Bath in the end zone. The Commodores then marched 90 yards in just four plays to go up 23-13. Zolman's 44-yard bomb to Elder High product Dan Stricker was the touchdown.

        Bath finally hooked up with Eddie Tillitz on a 9-yard pass to cut Vandy's lead to 23-20 with 8:28 left. Zolman's 1-yard quarterback sneak with 4:03 remaining put the Commodores ahead 30-20 and set the stage for Miami's late heroics.

        Rodney Williams scored on a 2-yard run and Vanderbilt led 7-0 at the outset.

        Miami tied it on a 91-yard touchdown pass from Bath to Sly Jones, the second-longest reception in school history. Vandy defensive backs Jonathan Shaub and Harold Lercius collided on the play.

        On Wednesday, Vandy suspended Jimmy Williams and All-American linebacker Jamie Winborn for the season's first two games. Winborn and Williams accepted financial advice from Vandy alumni who also own a management company for professional athletes.

        The NCAA is reviewing the case.

        The start of the game was delayed 30 minutes due to lightning and thunderstorms in the area of Vanderbilt Stadium.

        Miami 7 3 3 20—33

        Vanderbilt 7 3 7 12—30

        First Quarter

        Van—R.Williams 2 run (Markham kick), 10:12

        Mia—Johnson 91 pass from Bath (Brumbergs kick), 5:09

        Second Quarter

        Mia—FG Brumbergs 47, 6:25

        Van—FG Markham 19, 1:33

        Third Quarter

        Mia—FG Brumbergs 25, 9:13

        Van—Perkins 30 pass from Zoleman (Markham kick), 2:15

        Fourth Quarter

        Van—Stricker 44 pass from Zoleman (kick failed), 12:07

        Mia—Tillitz 9 pass from Bath (Brumbergs kick), 8:28

        Van—Zoleman 1 run (kick failed), 4:03

        Mia—Sullivan 4 pass from Bath (kick failed), 2:53

        Mia—Murray 2 pass from Bath (Brumbergs kick), :20



        RUSHING—Miami, Murry 18-65, Goodman 5-15, Bath 5-(minus-9). Vanderbilt, R.Williams 13-34, Perkins 6-31, McGrath 8-12, Zolman 5-(minus 21).

        PASSING—Miami, Bath 24-41-1-358. Vanderbilt, Zolman 18-25-0-307.

        RECEIVING—Miami, Buxton 8-134, Johnson 6-134, Tillitz 5-60, Murray 2-8. Vanderbilt, Carson 7-116, Perkins 4-49, Stricker 2-62, Simone 2-31.


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