Tennessee at Miami
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MIAMI -- Brock Berlin did not make the only mistake for Miami, just the costliest.
Safety Gibril Wilson intercepted Berlin deep in Tennessee territory with 4:11 left as the 17th-ranked Volunteers snapped Miami's 26-game home winning streak with a 10-6 victory over the seventh-ranked Hurricanes. Miami (7-2) committed four turnovers and was flagged 12 times for 121 yards in its first loss at the Orange Bowl since a 27-23 setback to Penn State on September 18, 1999.
The Hurricanes have lost back-to-back games for the first time since 1999 and were eliminated from the national championship picture after playing in the title game the last two seasons.
"It was just the recurring theme of penalties and turnovers that destroyed us this week just like last week," said Miami coach Larry Coker, whose team lost at Virginia Tech last week to snap a 39-game regular-season winning streak. "The effort was there, but unbelievable things happen. If you take a few of those plays away, we have a chance to win today's game."
Miami failed to score a touchdown for the first time since a 47-0 loss at Florida State in 1997 and was held without a touchdown at home for the first time since a 38-33 loss to Florida State in 1984.
Tennessee (7-2) scored its only touchdown on a two-yard end-around run by wide receiver Derrick Tinsley late in the second quarter and came up with the big defensive play when it needed it most.
Despite all their offensive troubles, the Hurricanes moved to the Tennessee 9 before Berlin was hit on a safety blitz by Mark Jones. The ball floated into the hands of Wilson, ending the drive and keeping the score at 10-6.
"I didn't see the guy coming," Berlin said. "We had a guy open, but a guy came right up the middle and I got hit from behind." Miami's final chance ended when Sean Taylor fumbled a punt from Dustin Colquitt and Tinsley recovered before Tennessee ran out the clock.
Berlin completed 22-of-35 passes for 213 yards and was intercepted twice for the second straight week. He threw a pair of costly interceptions last week against Virginia Tech, one of which was returned for a score.
Berlin also fumbled the ball away at the Tennessee 38 early in the fourth quarter.
"I'm really disappointed. We will bounce back and learn from our mistakes," Berlin said. "Everyone hates losing. It's disappointing."
The transfer from the University of Florida has 14 interceptions this season and could lose his starting job to Derrick Crudup. Miami's frustration was displayed by tight end Kellen Winslow, who claimed he was being targeted by SEC officials.
"I hate refs," said Winslow, who caught eight passes for 88 yards but was flagged for an unsportmanlike conduct penalty.
"I can't even get hyped up after a play."
Tennessee, playing at the Orange Bowl for the first time since 1968, increased its chances of playing in the Southeastern Conference title game even though Saturday was a non-conference contest. Tennessee is tied with idle Georgia for second place in the SEC East, one-half game behind Florida, which took over the division lead with a victory over Vanderbilt. If all three finish with two conference losses, the winner will likely be decided by which team ranks higher in the BCS standings.
"This ranks with the best of them," Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer said. "To come in here and get a win like this is a great feeling. It was a typical defensive ballgame."
Berlin was intercepted by linebacker Kevin Simon at the Hurricane 42 on the first play of the second quarter and the Volunteers capitalized on a 41-yard field goal by James Wilhoit that tied the game at 3-3.
A pair of penalties by Miami allowed the Volunteers to march 63 yards in 15 plays and take the lead on the TD run by Tinsley with 20 seconds left in the half.
"I think we just beat ourselves today," Miami tackle Vernon Carey said. "We were able to run the ball and execute, but we just kept shooting ourselves in the foot."
The drive was kept alive by a roughing-the-kicker penalty and a personal foul later gave the Hurricanes a first down at the Miami 26. Tennessee had first-and-goal at the 3 and ran three unsuccessful running plays before Tinsley scored on fourth down.
"We just felt like it was important to make a statement," Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer said. "Our team came down here to win a football game and we felt we needed to jump on the opportunity."
Casey Clausen of Tennessee completed 11-of-18 passes for 81 yards and improved to 13-1 on the road, tying Peyton Manning for the most road wins by a Volunteer quarterback.
"This is a big win. It gets our season under control," Clausen said. "The defense played great. I would never have believed that we could win by scoring only 10 points."
Miami's Jon Peattie kicked a 31-yard field goal in the first quarter to open the scoring, capping an 11-play, 61-yard drive. Jarrett Payton had a 40-yard run on Miami's first drive of the second half to give the Hurricanes a first down at the Tennessee 9, but Miami settled for a 22-yard field goal by Peattie. Payton had 15 carries for 91 yards.
Miami played without cornerback Antrel Rolle, who was suspended for the game after getting into an altercation with Virginia Tech's DeAngelo Hall in the fourth quarter.