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Hurricanes Survive Scare : Miami Loses Erickson, Beats Michigan State

Associated Press

When second-string quarterback Gino Torretta took the reins of the second-ranked University of Miami Hurricanes on Saturday, he had some brotherly advice ringing in his ears.

“He told me, ‘Always be ready to play,’ ” Torretta said of his older brother, Geoff, who had been in a similar position three years ago.

“ ‘I have a funny feeling this might be your game,’ ” Torretta recalled his brother saying. “And he was right.”

With Torretta taking over for injured Craig Erickson, Miami kicker Carlos Huerta made two field goals in the fourth quarter as the second-ranked Hurricanes defeated Michigan State, 26-20.

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Torretta threw a touchdown pass and Alex Johnson ran for another Miami score.

Michigan State got two field goals from John Langeloh, a touchdown run by quarterback Dan Enos and an interception return for a score by safety Harlon Barnett.

In November of 1986, Geoff Torretta stepped in for Vinny Testaverde against East Carolina, as Miami won, 36-10.

“It’s always in the back of your mind,” Gino said. “I’ll be ready to play. It’s a great offense and I feel I have the ability to play well.”

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Erickson fractured a knuckle on his throwing hand in the second quarter. He will be in a cast for four weeks, officials said.

A Miami spokesman said Erickson will resume practicing after the East Carolina game Nov. 4.

“The loss (of Erickson) means a great deal,” Miami Coach Dennis Erickson said. “It’s probably going to be a month or so. Gino will continue to improve.”

Meanwhile, Michigan State Coach George Perles had nothing but praise for Miami’s defense.

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“I would say that’s one of the best defensive lines around,” Perles said.

Miami is 4-0. Michigan State dropped to 1-2.

Huerta’s third field goal followed a game-tying score by Michigan State safety Barnett, who raced 35 yards after intercepting a pass by Torretta.

Huerta added a 52-yard field goal late in the game.

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Defensive end Greg Mark sacked Enos to stop one Spartan drive, and Enos fumbled in Michigan State’s last effort.

Miami broke a 10-10 tie in the third quarter, with Johnson running 38 yards for a touchdown off left guard.

The two teams then traded field goals.

Huerta hit a 27-yarder, set up on a blocked punt by Miami linebacker Darrin Smith.

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Michigan State responded with Langeloh’s second field goal, a 27 yarder.


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