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In Peach, Miami makes statement

The Miami Hurricanes were eliminated from the national championship early in the season and missed out on the conference championship late.

They settled for the state title last night.

Devin Hester returned a blocked field goal 78 yards for a touchdown, Roscoe Parrish returned a punt 72 yards for a score and 14th-ranked Miami beat No. 20 Florida, 27-10, in the Peach Bowl at Atlanta.

"Those guys are playmakers," coach Larry Coker said. "Team speed is one thing, but to have the ability to make people miss and score touchdowns is a knack that Roscoe and Devin have."

Miami also earned a third consecutive "state title" by beating Florida and Florida State in the same season, spoiled interim coach Charlie Strong's debut, and extended its winning streak against the Gators (7-5) to six games.

This time, the Hurricanes (9-3) didn't need a strong performance from Brock Berlin. The senior quarterback who transferred from Florida in January 2002 torched his former team in a 38-33 comeback victory last year and mocked fans after the game.

Berlin finished 13 of 23 for 171 yards, and had a 20-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Moore in the third quarter that made it 24-3.

But Miami's special teams and defense did more damage.

Just four plays after a blocked punt gave the Gators great field position, defensive lineman Thomas Carroll blocked Matt Leach's 32-yard field goal attempt. Hester picked up the loose ball and sprinted the other way for a score. The momentum swing set the tone for the Hurricanes, who sacked Chris Leak on the next two plays and intercepted a pass late in the second quarter. Miami put constant pressure on Leak and finished with five sacks.

Sun -- Sam Keller showed remarkable poise in his first collegiate start, throwing a 19-yard touchdown pass to Rudy Burgess with 44 seconds left to lead No. 21 Arizona State to a 27-23 victory over Purdue in the Sun Bowl at El Paso, Texas. Starting for injured star Andrew Walter, the untested sophomore completed all four of his passes on the winning drive for 80 yards in a frantic finish that stunned the Boilermakers and the Sun Bowl-record crowd of 51,288.

Burgess caught Keller's final throw on a screen play, slipped two tackles along the sideline, and cut back inside en route to the end zone to give the Sun Devils (9-3) the lead.

"I've never been so ready for anything my entire life," said Keller. "I had a ton of confidence coming into the game but I still didn't really know what to expect."

Purdue (7-5) had one more chance to go ahead, but quarterback Kyle Orton's desperation heave into the end zone fell incomplete as time expired.

Keller completed 25 of 45 passes for 370 yards and three touchdowns.

Music City -- Marion Barber ran for 187 yards and a touchdown and teammate Laurence Maroney added 105 yards on the ground to lead Minnesota to a 20-16 win over Alabama in Nashville. Barber and Maroney were the only runners to surpass 100 yards in a game this season against the Crimson Tide (6-6), who entered the game with the nation's second-ranked defense.

The Golden Gophers (7-5) ran for 276 yards to overcome three turnovers -- including two by Barber -- on their first three drives. Still, they nearly gave the game away in the fourth quarter.

Rhys Lloyd, who made field goals from 27 and 24 yards, missed a 24-yard attempt with 5:34 left.

On Minnesota's next possession, it was pinned deep in its own end and elected to take a safety to make it 20-16.

The decision nearly backfired.

Alabama's Tyrone Prothro returned the free kick to the Minnesota 48, and four completions by Spencer Pennington got the Crimson Tide to the 15. But Pennington overthrew an open receiver for a likely touchdown on third down and couldn't convert on fourth and 5 with 1:14 to left.

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