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After bench-clearing brawl, Miami polishes off FIU

MIAMI (AP) -- South Florida's newest rivalry has already
overheated.

Miami beat Florida International 35-0 Saturday night in a game
marred by a wild brawl in the third quarter that had fists flying,
helmets swinging and even crutches being used as weapons.

In all, 13 players were ejected -- eight from FIU, five from
Miami, and each will likely face one-game suspensions.

Kyle Wright had three touchdown passes for the Hurricanes (4-2),
who set a season-high for points against a Division I-A opponent.
Lance Leggett had two touchdown catches for Miami.

It was the first meeting between the programs, whose campuses
are 9 miles apart and have rosters almost entirely filled with
players from Miami-Dade and Broward counties, the two largest in
South Florida. Tensions were high throughout the night, with
several occurrences of heated words being exchanged after plays
ended.

But those verbal jousts were nothing compared with what happened
with 9:00 left in the third.

James Bryant caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Wright, then
drew a 15-yard flag for unsportsmanlike conduct. After making the
catch, he appeared to point at the FIU (0-7) bench, then took a
theatrical bow toward the stands.

Moments later, Jon Peattie kicked the extra point and the melee
began; replays showed an FIU player crashing into Miami holder Matt
Perrelli. Pushing among players quickly turned into punches, both
sidelines quickly emptied and several fights broke out within
seconds.

The brawl lasted about five minutes, and it took officials
several more minutes to sort out the penalties. More than two dozen
uniformed police officers came onto the field, trying to end the
fights, and at least one incident of fan fighting broke out in the
Orange Bowl stands.

Police officers, including some wearing helmets, continued to
surround the perimeter of the field for the remainder of the game.

Florida International's ejected players were wide receiver
Chandler Williams, defensive backs Lionell Singleton, Chris Smith
and Marshall McDuffie Jr., fullback John Ellis, linebacker Mannie
Wellington, tight end Samuel Smith and defensive end Jarvis
Penerton.

The ejected Miami players were offensive linemen Derrick Morse
and Chris Barney, running back Charlie Jones, and cornerbacks
Carlos Armour and Bruce Johnson.

Police did not immediately announce if any fans were arrested. A
holding area was set up at the Orange Bowl to detain anyone ejected
and Miami Police had between 80 and 100 officers at the game,
officials said.

Shortly after the game, new FIU athletic director Pete Garcia --
who left his associate AD post at Miami this past week to join the
Golden Panthers -- issued an apology on behalf of the university.

Garcia added that he would evaluate what happened before
deciding whether to continue the rivalry.

Wright was 14-of-22 for 117 yards for Miami, which won its
season-best third straight game. Leggett (seven catches) and Sam
Shields (five) each had 77 receiving yards for the Hurricanes.

Chris Zellner also had a touchdown catch for Miami, and Derron
Thomas' 11-yard TD run late in the fourth quarter capped the
scoring.

Miami's defense held FIU to 114 yards in recording its first
shutout win since Sept. 18, 2004 -- a 48-0 win over Louisiana Tech.

Julian Reams had 21 carries for 45 yards to lead FIU. Josh
Padrick completed 12 of 25 passes for 86 yards for the Golden
Panthers.

The teams are scheduled to play again Oct. 6, 2007 at the Orange
Bowl.