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
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
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.
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