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When it comes to TDs, it's all about the 'U'

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Posted Dec. 03, 2011 @ 1:20 p.m. ET
By Eli Kaberon

The University of Miami (Fla.) football team won on Nov. 19, but the program as a whole took a major loss in the following days. With no alum of the school proudly known as the "U" scoring a touchdown in Week 11 of the NFL season, it snapped an astounding 149-week streak of at least one former Hurricane player scoring a touchdown. The stretch began in Week 15 of the 2002 season and ended in Week 10 of 2011.

There were several reasons that 'Canes were kept out of the endzone that weekend. Andre Johnson, Reggie Wayne and Jimmy Graham were on bye. Frank Gore and Willis McGahee were banged up and not 100 percent healthy. In fact, the closest a Miami player came to scoring a touchdown was Buccaneers TE Kellen Winslow. He had a TD reception overturned because of an offensive pass-interference call for pushing off a defender. That defender was Packers CB Sam Shields, who went to — you guessed it — the "U."

Here is a look at which former Hurricanes found the endzone most often during the 149-week streak:

1. Clinton Portis / 70 TDs in 46 games — Injuries stalled Portis' career after he gained 1,487 rushing yards in 2008, which makes it easy to forget how productive he was early in his career. Portis scored 31 touchdowns in his first two seasons in Denver before heading to the Redskins.

2. Reggie Wayne / 68 TDs, 60 games — Wayne started to come into his own when the streak began in 2002, scoring four touchdowns. He hasn't missed a start since '03, a span that includes seven consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons. He reached double digits in TDs three times.

3. Willis McGahee / 63 TDs, 49 games — McGahee saw his first NFL action when the streak was almost two seasons old in 2004. He rushed for 13 scores that season and has continued to be a touchdown machine, even as a No. 2 back in Baltimore, with a career-best 14 TDs in '09. McGahee has had a resurgence in '11 with the Broncos, scoring four TDs.

4. Santana Moss / 53 TDs, 43 games — The Sunday the streak began, Moss didn't even have a catch, but he finished his '02 season with four TD receptions. Moss has four 1,000-yard receiving seasons and caught a career-high 10 TDs for the Jets in 2003. Moss was sidelined in Weeks 8-11 this season with a broken hand.

5. Andre Johnson / 52 TDs, 45 games — You can't blame the end of the streak on Johnson, who missed games in Weeks 4-10 because of a hamstring injury, as the Texans were on a bye in Week 11. He is a big reason for the streak's longevity. He has five seasons with more than 1,100 receiving yards since joining the league in 2003, and has scored eight or more TDs four times. 

6. Edgerrin James / 50 TDs, 40 games — James exploded onto the scene when he entered the NFL in 1999 and continued his prolific career before hitting the RB wall in 2008. James had four seasons with more than 1,500 rushing yards and scored 17 touchdowns in 1999 and 18 in 2000. He retired before this season began.

7. Frank Gore / 49 TDs, 40 games — Though he started for only one season at Miami, Gore has shown in the NFL he is an every-down back. With the 49ers, he has had several big seasons, including the 2009 campaign, during which he scored 13 touchdowns.

8. Jeremy Shockey / 33 TDs, 31 games — First for the Giants, then the Saints and now the Panthers, Shockey always has been a good red-zone target. His highest-scoring seasons came in 2005 and '06, when he scored seven touchdowns in each.

9. Devin Hester / 31 TDs, 25 games — Considered by many to be the greatest returner in NFL history, Hester is likely on his way to Canton when his career ends. His mark of 18 non-offensive TDs trails only Deion Sanders for the most in league history, and the Bears' specialist is the only player to take the opening kickoff of a Super Bowl back for a TD.

10. Greg Olsen / 24 TDs, 23 games — The youngest player on the list has made an impact since leaving Miami and being drafted in the first round by the Bears in 2007. He scored eight touchdowns in '09 and has become a favorite target of Cam Newton this season, his first with the Panthers. 

PFW associate editor Kevin Fishbain contributed to this article.

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