PISCATAWAY, New Jersey (Ticker) -- Top-ranked Miami set a school record with its 30th straight win, but the celebration was muted at best.
Willis McGahee ran for 187 yards and two scores and Ken Dorsey threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter as the Hurricanes rallied late for a 42-17 Big East Conference victory over Rutgers.
Miami (8-0, 4-0 Big East) scored 28 points in the fourth quarter to break the school record for wins set from 1990 to 1993. The Hurricanes won their 16th straight road game, their 21st consecutive in conference play and for the 500th time in school history.
"You can't live on the edge week in and week out, quarter by quarter, because if you make a key mistake you have no chance to win" said Larry Coker, who improved to 20-0 as Miami coach. "At halftime, I said that we have to get it done."
The Hurricanes, however, could lose some style points in the next coaches and media poll since they trailed 17-14 after three quarters against a team that had won just once all season. Miami did turn it on when it had to, scoring four touchdowns in the final period.
"We just have to relax, have some fun and play football," Coker said.
Rutgers (1-8, 0-5), coached by former Hurricane assistant Greg Schiano, put a serious scare into Miami.
"The No. 1 thing I told these guys was to make sure that you protect the ball," said Schiano, whose team threw three interceptions. "I've been on the other side and they feed off turnovers."
The chances for a monumental upset were hurt by a penalty late in the second quarter that wiped out an interception return for a score and by a fake field goal attempt that failed in the third.
Dorsey, battling what appeared to be a thumb injury, put the Hurricanes ahead to stay at 23-17 with a 20-yard touchdown pass over the middle to Andre Johnson.
"I got banged up a little bit," said Dorsey, who completed just 16-of-31 passes for 192 yards. "Somebody fell on me, but everything is OK."
Interceptions by Kelly Jennings and Alfonso Marshall on the next two possessions set up two more touchdowns, a one-yard TD pass from Dorsey to Kellen Winslow and a four-yard TD run by McGahee.
Backup Derrick Crudup capped the scoring with a 33-yard touchdown pass to David Williams.
Miami center Brett Romberg was among those critical of his team's play earlier this week, saying the Hurricanes needed to play well in all four quarters. Miami played just one on Saturday, and has upcoming games against Tennessee, Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech.
"When we came in at halftime, I jokingly told the guys that we are doing things in reverse this year," said Romberg, referring to last year's 61-0 win. "Instead of scoring 45 points in the first half. we are having to do it in the second half."
Rutgers led 17-14 and had the best scoring chance of the third quarter when it drove to the Miami 6. But Schiano called for a fake field goal and Sean Carty was tackled for no gain as Rutgers turned it over on downs.
The Hurricanes also caught a huge break late in the first half when a holding penalty negated an interception for a touchdown by Jason Nugent.
Miami instead kept the ball deep in Rutgers territory and McGahee went into the end zone from two yards out on the next play. The extra point was blocked, leaving the halftime deficit at three points. McGahee had a 43-yard run earlier in the drive.
Special teams have been shaky for Miami this season and the problems continued when Nugent blocked a punt by Freddie Capshaw that Shawn Seabrooks returned two yards for a touchdown with 2:17 left in the second quarter, giving Rutgers a 17-8 edge.
It was the third time Miami had a punt blocked this season.
The game started favorably for Rutgers. On their first possession, Ryan Hart completed a 40-yard pass to Aaron Martin to the Miami 1, and Clarence Pittman went into the end zone on the next play.
"We ended up going 80 yards and for a touchdown, which was big for the offense and the defense," said Hart, who completed 9-of-23 passes for 100 yards, "Hopefully the next time we play them we can put together four quarters."
McGahee had a 68-yard run on Miami's next possession, leading to a 29-yard field goal by Todd Sievers.
Cornerback Sean Hart intercepted a pass from Dorsey early in the second quarter, leading to a 24-yard field goal by Sievers that cut the lead to 7-6.
Hart was sacked in the end zone for a a safety with 10:56 left in the second quarter, giving Miami its first lead at 8-7.
Rutgers regained the lead on a 38-yard field goal by Ryan Sands with 4:06 left in the quarter.
Rutgers led a ranked team at halftime for the second time this season. The Scarlet Knights had a 14-3 edge over Tennessee on September 28.
The Hurricanes have won all 10 meetings against Rutgers by at least 14 points.