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WVU charter flight delay brings some good along with bad

by Greg Talkington

SPORTS WRITER

West Virginia football coach Rich Rodriguez said his players took advantage of a bad situation while waiting for their charter jet to leave New Jersey following their 40-0 victory over Rutgers Saturday.

The Mountaineers spent six hours on the jet before returning to a hotel and leaving on Sunday.

"I think there was a lot of bonding going on, a lot of stories being told," Rodriguez said Monday during the Big East coaches teleconference. "The players and our staff really handled it well, considering there was no air conditioning and we ran out of drinks."

The team sat on the plane from 9 p.m. Saturday until 3 a.m. Sunday, then spent two more hours in the airport terminal.

"We didn't get back to the hotel until 5:30 and then when we got back on the jet to leave at noon, we had to wait two more hours while the hydraulic system was repaired," Rodriguez said. "Hopefully, this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

"I'd hate to have imagined what it would have been like if we lost the game. Someone might have gone postal."

The delay pushed back WVU's preparation for this week's game with Syracuse.

"We gave the players today off because nobody got any rest on Sunday," Rodriguez said. "Now we'll have to scramble to get ready for Syracuse."

n ONE TITLE DOWN: Top-ranked Miami already has won one championship and the season isn't half over.

The Hurricanes' 28-27 victory over Florida State enabled them to win the Florida Cup, given to the team that wins games between those two teams and Florida.

Miami belted the Gators earlier this season by a 41-16 count.

"I think to win anything the first year it's given is a great honor," Miami coach Larry Coker said. "For us to have beaten Florida State and Florida in the same year is fantastic.

"Our kids were pretty excited and honored."

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Two Temple quarterbacks were honored by the league for their performances in the Owls' 17-16 victory over Syracuse.

Starter Mike McGann shared offensive honors with Miami's Ken Dorsey while backup Mike Frost was named the special team's player of the week for his punting. Miami linebacker Jonathan Vilma garnered defensive honors.

McGann completed 20 of 38 passes for 340 yards and two touchdowns while Frost, punting for the first time in a college football game, kept Syracuse pinned on their end of the field with his unorthodox style.

"Mike Frost has an uncanny ability to punt the ball to the side of the field away from the return man and yet keep it in bounds," Temple coach Bobby Wallace said. "We are terrified by (SU punt returner) Jamal Riddle, who brought one back against us last year.

"But Mike did a great job of keeping it from him."

Dorsey rallied Miami from a 27-14 deficit in the final eight minutes to pull out the dramatic win over FSU. Dorsey completed 20 of 45 for 362 yards and 2 touchdowns.

"Ken Dorsey was at his best when the game was on the line," Coker said. "He delivered both times we had the ball and that's enough said about him."

Vilma recorded 15 tackles and a pass break up in the one-point win.

THIS WEEK: Two league games highlight this week's schedule.

Struggling Syracuse (1-5, 0-2) travels to West Virginia (4-2, 1-0) in the only Big East game televised (ESPN Regional) this weekend. Rutgers (1-5, 0-2) visits third-ranked Virginia Tech (6-0, 1-0).

In non-league games, Boston College (3-2, 0-2) plays host to the Naval Academy while Temple (2-4, 1-1) visits Connecticut.

Miami and Pitt are off this weekend.

Sports writer Greg Talkington can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at gtalkington@exponent-telegram.com

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