FORT LAUDERDALE - Graig Cooper scored two touchdowns and freshman linebacker Sean Spence had two interceptions in the annual Miami spring game as the defense defeated the offense 32-29 at Lockhart Stadium on Saturday.
Cooper, the team's leading rusher in 2007, scored on a 27-yard run down the right sideline on the first drive, and a 44-yard run late in the game showing breakaway speed. He finished with a team-high 91 yards on eight carries.
"I just made a cut and that was it," said Cooper, on his 44-yard run. "The receiver did a good job blocking downfield. I went in untouched. I remember cutting off receiver Leonard Hankerson and I just ran on it."
Spence, playing weakside linebacker on the first unit, picked off Robert Marve twice, including a Hail Mary on the last play of the game to seal the victory for the defense.
"I was just flying around to the ball and I know where I need to be," Spence said. The battle at quarterback between Marve, Jacory Harris and Cannon Smith will continue through fall practices.
"We have 29 practices before the first game so we are going to let it keep going," Coach Randy Shannon said.
Marve, a redshirt freshman, completed 10 of 22 passes for 93 yards and two picks.
"It's a little bit different than at practice," the former Plant High quarterback said. "At practice, you feel calm; it's just you. You make a mistake, just weird things like the ball hitting someone's helmet. That's never happened to me before. I guess there's a first for everything."
Harris, a freshman, completed nine of 17 passes for 64 yards.
"The quarterback competition is going to get more competitive down the road because it has to," Harris said. "If we don't, then there's not going to be a good quarterback playing for the University of Miami."
Smith, also a freshman, completed just one of five passes, but his lone completion went for 66 yards as sophomore tailback Shawnbrey McNeal took a short pass from Smith in the middle of the field and used a strong cutback move to the left.
The offense was unable to take advantage of McNeal's long gain as Tervaris Johnson knocked down a pass. Jake Wieclaw converted on a 21-yard field goal.