MIAMI — If Hayden Fry tells you a pig can't sprout wings and fly, bet on the pig giving it a great, great try.
After what happened Saturday night in the Orange Bowl, Fry's days as a prognosticator are just about over.
The Iowa football coach said his club didn't have much of a chance in defeating the Miami Hurricanes, but they sure gave it a good run.
The Hurricanes won, 48-21, but the Hawkeyes proved they belonged on the same field as the 10th-ranked Miami club that is shooting for its fourth national title in eight years.
"I really thought we had a chance," said Fry, who was singing a different tune after the game.
Fry admitted he was just playing games with the media when he said his club didn't have a chance. "We saw some mistakes Miami made in the first two games and we thought we could capitalize on them," he said.
That they did. But in the end Iowa's own costly mistakes, combined with phenomenal speed of Hurricane receivers, proved too much to overcome.
Matt Rodgers, Iowa's quarterback, proved he belonged on the same field as Miami's Craig Erickson, who is one of the nation's top passers.
Rodgers passed for 275 yards and two touchdowns, completing 21 of 36 throws.
"I thought I played pretty good, but it's not good enough to win," said Rodgers. "We did a lot of bad things. We made a lot of mistakes that cost us.
"They still beat us," added Rodgers. "They're a damn good football team."
The Hawkeyes proved they're not so bad themselves.
"I learned we have a bunch of fighters. They certainly weren't intimidated," said Fry.
And Fry also learned he's got a first-rate quarterback. "I thought Matt did an excellent job," Fry said.
Erickson threw for 360 yards and three TD strikes by hitting on 17 of 33 attempts.
Wesley Carroll, Erickson's favorite target, caught six passes for 146 yards and two TDs. Stephen McGuire rushed for 127 yards and two touchdowns for Miami.
Both clubs are 2-1.
The first meeting of these teams in 24 years drew 70,420 fans to the Orange Bowl. The crowd witnessed the Hurricanes' 33rd straight win in the stadium.
The Hawkeyes avoided crucial mistakes until the last play of the third quarter, when Doug Buch muffed a punt at his own 18-yard line. Three plays later Erickson found Carroll in the end zone for a 16-yard TD pass, with Iowa's Gary Clark falling down on the coverage.
That sequence gave Miami a 38-21 lead with 14:04 left to play.
Carlos Huerta's 36-yard field goal made it 41-21 and put the game out of reach.
Miami put some icing on its cake when Ryan McNeil picked up a Tony Stewart fumble and raced 75 yards to make it 48-21.
Iowa had pulled within 24-21 in the third quarter when Rodgers launched a 35-yard touchdown pass to Sean Smith on a third-and-20 play.
Rodgers, under pressure, stepped up and found Smith open in the end zone, and Smith hung on.
The 39-yard drive started when John Derby recovered his second fumble of the night.
"For three quarters, I was very pleased with how we stood up to them," Fry said. "It became a little disappointing after that."
After Iowa drew within 24-21, Miami answered in a hurry, and in an unusual way. Erickson rested his arm and simply handed off to McGuire, who lugged the ball five times for 52 yards on a 64-yard drive, capped by his 6-yard touchdown for a 31-21 lead for the 'Canes.
"I think we just took advantage of our situations," said Craig Erickson. "We did a good job up front. The offense is starting to click and we are coming together."
The Hurricanes had been concerned with their defense. Iowa managed 333 yards and 16 first downs, but only 58 of those yards came on the ground as Miami thwarted the Hawkeyes' Tony Stewart and Nick Bell.
"I thought overall we played better on defense than the previous two games," said Miami Coach Dennis Erickson.
Miami rolled up 542 yards and 23 first downs, passing for 376 yards and rushing for 166.
"I think you saw a tremendous football team in Miami with truly unbelievable speed," said Fry.
The Iowa defensive backs played deep, giving Miami's receivers plenty of room. "They still ran right by us," Fry said. "It was obvious we were outclassed and overmatched."
The Hawkeyes did not get pushed around, however. Most of the injured players wore Miami's orange jerseys, with All-American defensive tackle Russell Maryland and all-star linebacker Maurice Crum among those who limped off the field. None of the injuries appeared serious.
The first half featured enough excitement for an entire game.
Erickson passed for 248 yards in the first 30 minutes as the Hurricanes took a 24-14 lead into intermission.
Miami threatened to blow Iowa out of the Orange Bowl in the first quarter, first by slow torture and then by quick execution.
The Hurricanes marched 72 yards on 14 plays and took a 7-0 lead on McGuire's plunge off the right side of the line.
Miami, known for its high-octane offense, then showed why. On its next possession Erickson found a streaking Carroll open behind the Iowa defense on first down, and the all-American receiver raced 73 yards for the score, beating Eddie Polly on the play.
Miami can score in a hurry, but can they score in no time at all? Apparently so, because no time elapsed off the Orange Bowl clock on the play.
With the Hurricanes ahead 14-0, Iowa's worst fears appeared ready to come true. But it didn't happen.
Alan Cross, a reserve tight end, sprang Bell with a beautiful block, and Iowa was within 21-14 midway through the second quarter.Ten Hawks caught passes in the game, with Jon Filloon making the prettiest, snaring three for 58 yards.