If only Hurricanes quarterback Scott Covington could laugh off the trials of his arduous career. Since arriving at Miami, Covington, a fifth-year senior, has been beaten out (by Ryan Clement), operated on (hernia surgery), frightened (two years ago doctors found spots on his left lung, and the organ collapsed when they attempted to take a tissue sample; tests revealed that the spots were not life-threatening) and discouraged (he tried to transfer in the spring of 1996; school officials refused to release him from his scholarship). Covington didn't become a full-time starter until this fall and didn't lead Miami to a big win until the Hurricanes beat then No. 13 West Virginia in October. On Saturday he threw for 318 yards and three touchdowns, with no interceptions.
After UCLA's dying gasp ended with McNown throwing a Hail Mary through the back of the end zone, the noise in the crumbling stadium grew louder, until the voices of the modest crowd of 46,819 seemed as deafening as the full houses of yore. At the finish, fans flooded the field and danced in celebration, proof that the Hurricanes haven't forgotten how to party. A group of celebrants hoisted Covington onto their shoulders and carried him toward the tunnel leading to the Miami locker room. He had seen scenes like this on TV but hadn't witnessed one in person. "I've never been a part of anything like that," he said. "I hope someday Miami players will look back at this game as the beginning of something. But right now, I don't even think I'll understand the magnitude of what happened for a long, long time."
The UCLA players needed no time for reflection. Emerging from the postgame scrum at midfield, Farris walked slowly toward the locker room. He paused at about the 20-yard line and looked up into the stands at the fans streaming downward, gleefully leaping railings and running onto the grass. Oddly, he smiled. "I was thinking about how happy they were," he said, "and I was thinking about how our dream is gone."
Carried away like chalk dust.