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Miami's Stephen Morris shines in regular-season finale vs. Pitt


Miami senior quarterback Stephen Morris, who has had an uneven year, finished the regular season on an up note Friday by throwing for 296 yards and three touchdowns in a 41-31 victory at Pittsburgh.

Morris, who tied a season-high in TD passes, was 17 of 28 against the Panthers. He threw two TD passes in the first quarter to get Miami off to a fast start, and the Hurricanes never were headed.

Morris has 7,736 career passing yards, moving past Gino Toretta for third in Miami history. Ken Dorsey (9,565) is first and Jacory Harris (8,826) second.

Morris (6-foot-2, 218 pounds) was touted by some analysts as the nation's best senior quarterback heading into the season. But outside of his performance in a victory over Georgia Tech, his season has been underwhelming, and he has gone from a potential first-round pick to a third-day selection.

Morris has a strong arm, but his accuracy and decision-making have been suspect for much of the season. An ankle injury messed with Morris' delivery, but he wasn't all that sharp before the injury either.

He completed 60.7 percent of his passes Friday, a mediocre percentage for a star quarterback. Still, it was his fifth-highest percentage of the season. Morris should be impressive in individual drills at the combine and at Miami's "Pro Day," but it's doubtful that will overshadow what Morris has put on tape this season.

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Both of Morris' first-half TD passes went to true freshman wide receiver Stacy Coley; Coley also scored on a 73-yard run to help Miami build a 31-10 halftime lead.

Coley still has problems with drops -- he makes a lot of difficult catches, but mishandles some easier ones -- but his athleticism, speed and elusiveness give him the look of a future All-American. Miami loses senior wide receiver Allen Hurns, but Coley and Philip Dorsett, a junior who has missed six games this season and should return next season, will give the Hurricanes a big-time 1-2 receiving punch next fall. Add in sophomore tailback Duke Johnson, who has missed the past four games, and Miami will have perhaps the best trio of playmakers in the ACC next season.

Miami will be breaking in a new quarterback, though, most likely Ryan Williams. He started for Memphis as a true freshman in 2010, then transferred to Miami. He has played sparingly this season but has the potential to be an effective passer. Williams played his high school ball at Miramar (Fla.) High, in the Fort Lauderdale suburbs. He followed the New York Jets' Geno Smith as Miramar's quarterback.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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