MORGANTOWN, West Virginia (Ticker) -- West Virginia became the second straight team to show it can run on top-ranked Miami. It also became the 29th straight team to show it cannot beat the Hurricanes.
Despite a powerful ground game, West Virginia was overwhelmed, 40-23, by Big East Conference foe Miami, which tied a school record with its 29th straight win.
Two weeks ago, Florida State put a scare into Miami, controlling the clock and the line of scrimmage with its ground game before losing late, 28-27. Averaging 297 yards per game on the ground, West Virginia employed a similar strategy, and it worked for a while.
"I thought our backs ran pretty hard today and made some nice plays," West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez said. "Up front, our guys were getting after it pretty well."
"They have a great plan and they know what they are doing," Miami coach Larry Coker said. "They spread you out (and) get mismatches that create creases in the defense."
Led by the running of Avon Cobourne, Quincy Wilson and quarterback Rasheed Marshall, the Mountaineers (5-3, 2-1 Big East) were within 24-23 late in the third quarter but missed an extra point that would have pulled them into a tie.
Miami (7-0, 3-0) showed why it is the defending national champions, immediately responding with a pair of touchdowns four minutes apart. Ken Dorsey threw a 12-yard TD pass to Andre Johnson and Willis McGahee ran in from the 1 for a 37-23 lead with 13:59 to play.
"We made some big plays in the second half to open up the football game," Coker said. "You have to credit West Virginia. We knew they were good. The run the ball extremely well. They are a very good football team."
The Hurricanes shut down the Mountaineers thereafter to extend their winning streak, which matches the 29 in a row from 1990-92. It was Miami's 14th consecutive road win, and both streaks almost certainly will be extended next week at overmatched Rutgers.
"That's a good football team and they're going to win a lot more games down the road," Rodriguez said.
Dorsey had his best game of the season, completing 22-of-36 passes for a career-high 422 yards and three TDs. He got some help from a pair of playmakers in McGahee, who had 112 yards and three scores on 32 carries, and Johnson, who had 111 yards and two TDs on six catches.
Dorsey moved into the top spot on Miami's all-time list for passing yards, completions and total offense, surpassing Gino Torretta in all three categories.
Cobourne had 175 yards and a score on 26 carries for his sixth straight 100-yard game. Wilson added 67 yards and a TD on 14 carries and Marshall ran for 93 yards and a TD on 21 carries.
But similar to Florida State, West Virginia's downfall was its inability to pass. Marshall was just 6-of-17 for 60 yards and an interception.
"It's amazing we can run so well because you need to be able to pitch and catch a little bit, and we don't do that," Rodriguez said. "When we get that passing game going, we're going to be pretty good."
Wilson's one-yard TD run capped a 64-yard drive and appeared to be the tying score. But the crowd of 56,817 groaned as Todd James missed the extra point.
Dorsey wasted little time, connecting with Quadtrine Hill on a 42-yard pass to key an 80-yard march capped by his TD pass to Johnson. Miami forced a punt, and Dorsey found Kellen Winslow down the right sideline for 58 yards. A 24-yard toss to Johnson set up McGahee's third TD.
"They executed on the wheel routes and hit some big ones on us," Rodriguez said. "We had them backed up and they got some big plays that were backbreakers for us. They executed and we didn't, and that was the difference."
Dorsey and Johnson hooked up on a 42-yard TD pass to open the scoring just over five minutes into the game. Cobourne answered with a seven-yard scoring jaunt less than 2 1/2 minutes later.
Cobourne has not received as much attention as McGahee, Ohio State's Maurice Clarett and Oregon's Onterrio Smith but has seven 100-yard games this season. This game moved him into 20th place on the NCAA's all-time rushing yardage list as he moved past Troy Davis, Earl Campbell and Eric Dickerson.
"It's kind of like when I was at Oklahoma State (in the 1980s) and had Barry Sanders," Coker said. "No one knew who Barry Sanders was then. People who play (Cobourne) are going to know who he is."
A 47-yard field goal by Todd Sievers and a one-yard TD run by McGahee gave Miami a 17-7 lead late in the second quarter. James, who earlier had missed a field goal, made one from 24 yards just before halftime.
On the first possession of the second half, McGahee's second fumble of the game was recovered by West Virginia's Kevin Freeman on the Miami 14. Three plays later, Marshall went in fron the 12 to tie it.
McGahee atoned by taking a short pass 57 yards to the 2, then scored two plays later.
Hill had six catches for 108 yards and Winslow added four for 64 for the Hurricanes, who amassed 524 yards.