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Coach: West Virginia Fans Rocked Player Ambulance

October 28, 1996

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) _ An ambulance that took running back Danyell Ferguson to the hospital during Miami’s game at West Virginia was rocked and almost tipped over by rowdy fans, Hurricanes officials said Sunday.

Coach Butch Davis said Miami players and coaches feared for their safety because of the atmosphere at Saturday night’s game in Morgantown, W.Va., which Miami won 10-7 on a blocked punt in the final minute.

However, West Virginia athletic director Ed Pastilong said Sunday that he had not heard any reports of unruly behavior by Mountaineers fans.

``I was pleased with our game operations. We had 66,000 people. The game ran very smoothly. I thought our fans acted in a proper manner,″ Pastilong said.

Ferguson, a 1,000-yard rusher last year, is expected to miss the rest of the season with a dislocated right hip. He was injured during the first quarter and was taken to a hospital two blocks away at halftime.

``Outside the stadium, the driver had difficulty leaving because fans were rocking the ambulance, and he feared they were going to tip it over,″ Miami sports information director Bob Burda said. ``He called for a police escort, but all the police were being used inside the stadium.″

Because West Virginia has a re-entry policy, many fans were outside the stadium at halftime.

The Hurricanes have long had a reputation for intimidation, but they apparently met their match at Morgantown.

Linebackers coach Randy Shannon was knocked to the ground after the game when he was hit on the head by a trash can thrown from the second level of the stadium. The incident left Shannon with a lump on his head.

Players were pelted with debris by fans during pregame warmups, Miami officials said.

``It was very unsportsmanlike,″ Davis said Sunday. ``It’s truly not what I would think college football is all about.

``It’s one thing to be vocal, it’s one thing to be supportive and it’s one thing to create a situation of intimidation. But it’s another thing to have players and coaches worrying about their safety.″

The Hurricanes (5-2, 3-0 Big East) climbed from 25th to 22nd in this week’s rankings. They play at Temple (1-7, 0-4) on Saturday.

Ferguson’s injured hip was popped back into place at the hospital, and he returned to Miami with the team.

``Most likely he’s lost for the remainder of the season,″ Davis said. ``We might could get him back in a bowl game.″

Ferguson will be on crutches for three or four weeks, Davis said. Backup Dyral McMillan sprained his left ankle in the second quarter but later returned, and his status is day-to-day.

Receiver Jermaine Chambers is expected to be sidelined three to four weeks with a sprained right knee.

Quarterback Ryan Clement played the entire game with a separated left shoulder.

``The good news is that Ryan came in (Sunday) and said he felt very good,″ Davis said. ``He said there wasn’t much pain at all. He said he felt significantly better.″

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