The final installment of our Top 15 Miami Hurricanes Games To Revisit While Quarantined—down to the Top Five.
The last two segments mentioned that we’re living in a world without live sports—and while deep diving some old games won’t soon replace that—these unique times give us more free time than we’re used to, so going all-in on some three-hour rewatches of some epic Miami Hurricanes games might not be the worst thing you do while twiddling those thumbs.
Quick disclaimer; we stuck to past history under the assumption that the newer stuff is still too fresh in the brain. Any classic game over the past five or ten years; a safe assumption it stayed on your DVR for a hot minute—as good moments need to be celebrated more than once when going 97-71 between the 2005 Peach Bowl and 2018 Pinstripe ass-kicking.
For this exercise, we wanted to delve back into games that most haven’t watched in their entirety in almost two decades—so on that note, let’s dive into some vintage Canes.
(Click on the date in each entry to be taken to YouTube for the full version of each Canes’ game.)
#5 — Miami versus Oklahoma — (9/27/86) — Our favorite game of the Miami / Oklahoma 1980’s rivalry. The 1988 Orange Bowl already made the list; the #2 Hurricanes capping the undefeated 1987 season with a take-down of the top-ranked Sooners for a third-consecutive year—with a national title on the line, no less.
Still, even when playing for all the marbles, the game of the series came in 1986 when Oklahoma trekked to South Florida in late September as defending national champs. The Canes took the head-to-head battle in Norman that year, 27-14—but with #2 Miami smoked in the Sugar Bowl by #8 Tennessee, 35-7, while #3 Oklahoma took down #1 Penn State in the Orange Bowl, 25-10—the Sooners were champs.
Watching Oklahoma win a title—after beating them soundly in their house; this game was circled on the calendar for the Hurricanes the minute the 1985 season ended.
1986 would end in misery for Miami with that Fiesta Bowl loss to Penn State—leaving the beatdown of Oklahoma as the high point of an incredible season for one of UM’s best team’s in history.
Vinny Testaverde would win the Heisman Trophy, Michael Irvin would become ‘The Playmaker’, Brian Blades would break-out, Melvin Bratton would dominate and Alonzo Highsmith would close out a stellar collegiate career. On defense, Jerome Brown, Daniel Stubbs, Winston Moss, George Mira Jr. and Bennie Blades were a bonafide, tone-setting force.
Pregame was the name of this showdown; from Highsmith and Bratton prank-calling great-white-hope linebacker Brian Bosworth at his hotel in the middle of the night—talking about kicking Oklahoma’s up and down the field—to Miami team captains refusing to shake hands with the Sooners at the coin toss.
Highsmith: “I ain’t scared of you, bitch. Alright now, baby.”
Moss: “Don’t be scared now, baby.”
Brown: “We’re the boss. We’re the boss.”
Early in the game, a Heisman-reel moment for Testaverde—who scrambled out of a sure loss, shedding four defenders and turning it into a 10-yard gain—and the game’s first score; a pass in traffic to back-up tight end Alfredo Roberts.
Miami led 7-3 at the half—Oklahoma almost tying things up with a dump off to halfback Patrick Collins with :57 remaining in the half, but an ineligible receiver downfield nullified the score and the Sooners had to settle for a 31-yard field goal.
Testaverde would go on to throw for 261 yards and four touchdowns on the day; including two scores in under a minute in the third quarter, the second the result of Miami’s J.C. Penny recovering a fumbled kickoff at the OU 15-yard line.
The back-to-back scored pushed Miami’s lead to, 21-3—the second touchdown, setting up the now-iconic Irvin run into the West End Zone, where he was swallowed up by the first two rows of screaming fans.
Defensively the Canes clamped down on the wishbone offense, as expected—making the Sooners’ one-dimensional. Jamelle Holieway tried to carry the rushing load, as his running backs were snuffed out all day—OU limited to 186 total yards on the ground, forcing Holieway to try and pass—which he wasn’t built to do.
Holieway did hook up with tight end Keith Jackson for a 54-yard score, cutting the Miami lead to 21-10 late in the third—but Testaverde responded with his fourth touchdown pass of the game; a 30-yard strike down the middle to Irvin, pushing the Canes’ lead to, 28-10 entering the final period.
Oklahoma got on the board one final time—Stafford atoning for his earlier fumble, punching it in from two yards out—but after a failed two-point conversion, the score was 28-16, where it remained.
“I said all week I thought we were the best team,” UM head coach Jimmy Johnson stated afterwards. “I just wanted to play and see which team was the best.”
It was Miami. Just like the year before—and the year after, with a title on the line—though neither 1985 or 1987 had the theater and build-up like this 1986 showdown.
#4 — Miami at Florida State — (10/3/87) — What’s better than beating the Seminoles? Doing so in comeback fashion and breaking their hearts when they were already tasting victory. This road showdown had all the drama and was an “instant classic” before ESPN even coined the term.
Year four of the Johnson era, the Hurricanes fell in the national title game the year before and we’re on a mission to win it all in 1987, behind first-year quarterback Steve Walsh, who replaced Testaverde, the Heisman-winner last seen throwing five interceptions in that embarrassing 14-10 loss to the Nittany Lions.
Irvin. Bratton. The Blades Brothers. JB. Personality galore and the face of the Canes—while Florida State was star-studded, as well; Deion Sanders, Sammy Smith and LeRoy Butler, to name a few. When all was said and done, over 60 future NFL player were on the field and sidelines that day.
A then-record 63,000-plus packed Doak Campbell for another one of those Game of the Century-type showdowns—most of which involved these two programs.
Smith set the tone for the Noles, rushing for 187 yards on the day against a stingy Canes’ defense—Florida State sitting on a 19-3 lead with just over 16 minutes remaining.
“I thought we had won,” Bobby Bowden shared in disbelief, after the Canes pulled off the comeback, 26-25.
Walsh found Bratton for a 49-yard touchdown and Blades for the two-point conversion, cutting the deficit to 19-11 in the waning moments of the third quarter. Florida State looked to add to its lead, but wouldn’t you know it—Derek Schmidt sent his 31-yard attempt wide with 6:17 remaining.
Miami responded—Walsh and Irvin finally connecting for a 26-yard touchdown and after another two-point conversion was good, the Canes tied things up, 19-19.
The play of the game soon followed—Walsh to Irvin again, this time for a 73-yard touchdown. With just over three minutes remaining, the Canes were up 26-19 after the PAT.
To the Noles’ credit, quarterback Danny McManus led an 83-yard scoring drive—hitting Ronald Lewis in the back of the end zone with :42 remaining.
Bowden, who conservatively called Tennessee head coach Johnny Majors, commending him for playing for a tie against #3 Auburn at Neyland Stadium the week prior—was set to kick the PAT, despite Schimidt’s struggles on a windy day in Tallahassee—but was swayed by McManus and kept the offense on the field.
Florida State went for two; McManus missing an opportunity to hit tight end Pat Carter in the flat, in what could’ve been a success conversion—instead throwing late and short into double coverage, where the ball was batted down by Bubba McDowell.
As fun as the game itself was, equally as enjoyable—listening to CBS’s Brent Musburger trying to hide his disdain for the Canes, while double-talking his way through the final moments and praising Bowden and the Noles as they attempted a failed onside kick, recovered by the elder Blades and allowing Walsh to kneel it out.
“I don’t really know how we lost this one. I didn’t think we deserved to lose it,” Bowden said. “We had decided before the game, and I had decided after 1980 when we lost (to Miami) by one (10-9), that I would go for the tie in the same situation, We had the extra-point team in, but I changed my mind. We had missed so many (kicks) today and the wind was really affecting our kicker … If I had to do it over, I’d kick it.”
Oh, if 1987-era Bowden only knew what was coming in 1991, 1992, 2000 and the 2004 Orange Bowl—you’d never have kicked again.
BONUS RANT: Despite Miami winning the 1987 national championship, the Seminoles were the preseason #1 team entering 1988 and the Hurricanes rolled in #6.
Thankfully the football gods had these two foes facing off at the Orange Bowl for the season-opener—with some added inspiration as Florida State rolled out the worst rap video in the history of the genre during summer.
Miami—with two reasons to put little brother in check—did just that, rolling the Noles, 31-0 on national television on September 3rd.
#3 — Miami versus Florida — (9/6/03) — Miami and Florida played annually between 1938 and through 1987—sans 1943, due to World War II—until the Gators took their ball and ran back to Gainesville, cancelling the series due to their SEC schedule.
The teams didn’t meet again until the 2001 Sugar Bowl—which realistically was a better game than this 2003 edition—as so much more was on the line; the #2 Hurricanes inexplicably left out of the national title game due to a BCS number crunch—so egregious, a tweak was made in the off-season regarding head-to-head competition, as Florida State got the 2000 nod to play Oklahoma, despite Miami beating them months prior.
The two-loss, #7 Gators rolled in as SEC Champs—expecting their conference prowess to be the difference-maker against the Canes, who hailed from the Big East. Instead, Miami punched Florida in the mouth and gave it all it could handle in a 37-20 beat-down—not to mention waxing the Gator ass on Bourbon Street the week-of, when players came to blows while out one night.
After Florida State fell to Oklahoma, 13-2—giving the Sooners their first national championship since 1985, even Bowden lamented that the Canes were more-deserving of the bid; Miami fans left to wonder what an offense with Reggie Wayne, Santana Moss, Jeremy Shockey, James Jackson and Clinton Portis would’ve done to OU’s defense.
The 2002 version of the series was a one-sided blowout; Miami dominating 41-16 at The Swamp—a game that was blown out of the water when the Gators we’re in the red zone, looking to cut into the Canes’ 27-16 lead when Maurice Sikes hauled in a Rex Grossman pass and returned it 99 yards for the score, while Willis McGahee had a breakout day with 204-yard performance.
The win helping springboard Miami to an eventual undefeated regular season, in what should’ve been back-to-back titles, and a win-streak reaching 35 games—if not for a bullshit call and late flag in the Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State.
Stakes weren’t as high in this 2003 showdown; Florida rolling in #18 against #3 Miami—but it was the first time these foes had met in the Orange Bowl since 1984; a 31-4 Canes rout—and the freaks truly came out at night for this epic showdown.
Toss in former Gator quarterback Brock Berlin under center (at least for a half before going shotgun) for the Canes—as well as a monstrous comeback—and there’s a reason this instant classic made the Top 3.
Another game we recommend a full rewatch as this is the quintessential type of showdown where people rely on the highlights—especially with Miami only putting 10 points on the board until the final 19 minutes and Florida turning an early 7-0 deficit into a 33-10 lead.
Devin Hester exploded out the gate with a 97-yard touchdown return—the helmet immediately off as the Orange Bowl went beserk; Canes fans falling into the dangerous trap of being the better team and expecting a rivalry game to be a cinch.
Both sides traded field goals before Ingle Martin hit Carlos Perez last in the first quarter for a 50-yard score—outrunning the Canes’ defense and giving the Gators that, we-can-hang-with-these-guys, underdog-upset belief.
An early-second quarter Berlin fumble was returned for a 34-yard score, by a taunting Keiwan Ratliff and after a 31-yard Matt Leach field goal with :15 remaining—the Gators strutted into the locker room with a 19-10 lead.
Two scores down didn’t leave Miami panicked—though only three points on offense was concerning, as was Berlin being noticeably off in his second career start for the Canes.
One play into the third quarter, one step closer to sounding the alarm as DeShawn Wynn tore off a 65-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage, putting Miami into a 26-10 hole. The ensuing drive, Berlin was picked off mid-field by Daryl Dixon—flipping the field before the Canes’ defense forced a punt.
Five plays later, Berlin coughed it up for the second time on the night—Johnny Lamar hauling in at the UM 28-yard line. Chris Leak was in for Martin and hit go-to target Ben Troupe twice for double-digit gains—both on second-and-long—before Ran Carthon punched it in from four yards out, officially pushing the lead to 33-10 with 6:10 remaining in the third quarter.
Florida never scored again—while Miami rattled off 28 unanswered, for as improbable comeback against a most-hated rival.
Berlin went shotgun and drove Miami 76 yards in just over two minutes—capping it off with a 26-yard strike to Kevin Beard, who played out of his mind the rest of the game—followed by a two-point conversion pick-up, Berlin with a shot to Ryan Moore, pulling to 33-18.
Defense returned with some extra spark, forcing a quick, much-needed three-and-out—the late, great Sean Taylor with an acrobatic pull-down from behind on second down, setting up a 3rd-and-1 that Maurice Sikes snuffed out; destroying O.J. Small for a four-yard loss.
Frank Gore ran for a quick six, before Berlin went back to Beard for a 62-yard gain—popped out of bounds at the one-yard line, setting Gore up to punch it in—the drive taking less than a minute off the clock—much to the chagrin of ABC’s Bob Griese; a Canes-hater and stiff since his Dolphins days, audibly drained while having to hype a Miami comeback.
Trailing by eight, the Hurricanes defense again clamped down—Florida coaches sticking with Leak and never going back to Martin—the freshman sacked for a loss of five on 3rd-and-8, giving the hot-handed Miami offense another crack.
Antrel Rolle broke up a second down pass at the sticks and Randy Shannon brought that third down heat; D.J. Williams blitzing and converging with Vince Wilfork, before Jon Vilma sacked Leak—lots of eventual first-round defensive talent on that 3-yard drive.
Berlin again marched the Canes down the field; 70 yards on nine plays—capped by a six-yard trick to Moore—but Miami settled for the PAT after the freshman receiver’s pointless celebratory bow; the Canes trailing, 33-32 with 11:08 remaining.
Florida chewed four minutes off the clock, but were forced to punt after a huge sack on 3rd-and-6—Gavin Dickey hit with an eight-yard loss and Miami taking our on their own 11-yard line after the punt.
From there, the storybook ending Canes will talk about for decades, while the Gators look to forget.
Berlin hooked up with Beard for 25 yards early, found Sinorice Moss for 26 yards the next play and rushed for six yards on a crucial 4th-and-1 with 2:52 left in the game. Four plays later, Gore scampered for the 12-yard score on 3rd-and-5—thought the Canes didn’t hit the two-point conversion and only led by five with 1:44 on the clock.
Leak found Baker for 21 yards and went back to him for 19 more five plays later—but a second-straight look at the 6-foot-3 receiver set up the knockout punch; Al Marshall reading what was coming, pulling down Leak’s first career interception and putting Berlin and the Canes in kneel-down mode with four ticks remaining.
Down goes The Gator … for the sixth-straight time at the hands of the Hurricanes.
#2 — Miami versus Notre Dame — (11/25/89) — When JJ left Miami for Dallas after the 1988 season, he had one three-word message for his Hurricanes; “Beat Notre Dame”.
The year prior, #1 Miami was on the wrong end of a 31-30 showdown between the “Catholics” and the “Convicts” in South Bend; with some home-cooking and controversy as a bogus Cleveland Gary fumble on the goal line, somehow resulted in a Fighting Irish first down on the 20.
A two-point conversion attempt would fall short—putting Miami in that uncomfortable spot Nebraska dealt with in the 1984 Orange Bowl, as well as Florida State in Tallahassee in 1987.
Notre Dame went on to win the national championship, beating #3 West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl, while #2 Miami waxed #6 Nebraska in the Orange Bowl, 23-3—putting all eyes on South Florida almost a full year before the 1989 match-up.
Dennis Erickson was Miami’s first-year head coach, immediately understanding the importance of beating the Irish—and rolling into this regular-season finale 10-2 and #7 in the nation; the lone blemish—a 24-10 mid-season loss at Florida State with starting quarterback Craig Erickson injured and true freshman Gino Torretta starting.
Ready as the Hurricanes were as a team, Miami fans were equally as ready to go—making this the loudest game at the Orange Bowl since the Dolphins took down the undefeated Bears on Monday Night Football in 1985; the 81,634 in attendance even eclipsing that of the hometown NFL squad’s biggest night.
Hurricanes’ color-man Don Bailey Jr. said on one of those post-season UM DVDs that had you lit a match in the stadium that night—the whole thing would’ve blown up; that’s how intense the building was as Miami was out for revenge.
The Hurricanes not only dethroned the defending champs that final November weekend—they also ended the Irish’s 23-game win-streak; something Miami had a penchant for in that era.
It also completely shut down the Notre Dame option attack that helped build that streak; rendering Tony Rice useless and ending his Heisman campaign—as well as the Irish’s dreams of repeating as the national champion.
Rice picked up 12 yards on the game’s opening play and it would be his biggest play of the night.
After an early field goal, Craig Erickson hit Dale Dawkins on a 55-yard touchdown strike near the end of the first quarter—avoiding a heavy Irish blitz—pushing Miami’s lead to 10-0.
Notre Dame got inside Miami’s 10-yard line twice; coming away with three measly points—while their lone touchdown was a 49-yard interception return by linebacker Ned Bolcar, tying things up 10-10.
Not to be outdone, Miami linebacker Bernard “Tiger” Clark felt he could jump the tight end—got the green light from assistant defensive coach Tommy Tuberville to do so—and picked off Rice’s late second quarter pass, returning it to the 10-yard line.
The turnover led to a Stephen McGuire punching it in three plays later, giving the Hurricanes momentum and a 17-10 lead heading into the locker room.
Miami received the second half kickoff and held on to the ball a whopping 11 minutes, it what simply was known as “The Drive”; which lasted 22 plays, but realistically should’ve stalled after eight.
Following a penalty the Canes faced a 1st-and-25 from their own 26-yard line when Irish defensive end Eric Jones got to Erickson and tagged him with a 12-yard loss.
The ball knocked loose, Notre Dame end Devon McDonald tried to pick up the loose ball, instead of just falling on it—forgetting it couldn’t be advanced—giving Miami center Bobby Garcia the ability to recover and prevent a disastrous moment.
A McGuire run on 2nd-and-48 put Miami in a 3rd-and-43—leaving commentators to joke about nothing in the playbook for that down-and-distance—when Erickson dropped back and found a streaking Randal Hill down the right sideline for a 44-yard backbreaking pickup.
The Canes kept chipping away, Lou Holtz continued losing his shit—picking every blade of grass on the Notre Dame sideline—as Miami faced a 1st-and-Goal from the six-yard line, before two Leonard Conley runs set up a third-down strike to Dawkins in the back of the end zone for his second score on the night.
Culminating “The Drive” with that touchdowns; the Orange Bowl exploded—the Irish were done; 24-10 with 4:13 remaining in the third and punting back to Miami three minutes later, trotting a worn-out defense back onto the field.
Meanwhile, Miami’s front four—led by Cortez Kennedy and Russell Maryland—continued their domination of Notre Dame.
Rice and the Irish got inside the red zone midway through the fourth quarter, but a fourth down incompletion (short of the sticks) ended the threat—giving Miami the ball back; the Canes marching down the field, setting up a Carlos Huerta 32-yard attempt and officially making it a three-score ball game—27-10—with 1:44 remaining; the remaining moments a formality before the celebration began.
“Miami has done it …. the longest win streak in Notre Dame history is over.”
The last time the Irish were held without a touchdown; two years prior in Miami, when the Canes shut them out, 24-0—making for some stellar post-game comments from a dejected Notre Dame bunch of usual big-mouths.
“This one is going to haunt us the rest of our lives,” said team captain Bolcar. “I hate this damn place.”
Channeling his inner Holtz, linebacker Chris Zorich delivered the following quip: “The only thing I can say is they outplayed us. Outplayed us in the first quarter, second quarter, third quarter, fourth quarter.”
Meanwhile, first-year Miami head coach Dennis Erickson—who lost his first shot at a rival when falling to Florida State—knew what beating Notre Dame mean for him and this program.
“The greatest win I’ve ever been associated with.”
Six weeks later, #2 Miami would topple #7 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, while #4 Notre Dame upset #1 Colorado—the Irish ultimately helping the Canes win the program’s third national championship.
#1 — Miami versus Florida State — (10/7/00) — It was a toss-up between this epic win over the Seminoles, or that 1989 revenge-fueled take-down of the Irish, which ranked second—but in the end, this 2000 game against FSU earned top billing.
Witnessed both games in person–and the deciding factor was the fact that this 27-24 thriller showed the world Miami was officially back; on the heels of five years in purgatory while the Hurricanes were on probation and reeling.
Beating the Irish a year after getting robbed in South Bend; absolutely huge—but so was almost everything for the Hurricanes in eighties; Erickson the third head coach in seven seasons to win a national title—doing so in his first year—while UM was winning big game after big game every season.
Between 1986 and 1992, the Hurricanes went 78-6—winning three national championships and playing for five. From 1993 through 1999, a 59-24 record with that mid-nineties probation-era bottom-out.
It was easy for Miami fans to take things for granted when the getting was good; a earned national-title-or-bust mentality every year and a NCAA record 58-home game win-streak (while breaking double-digit win-streaks of foes)—the Canes not losing at home for a decade.
When probation finally hit, no one knew how bad things would get—bottoming out in 1997 with a 5-6 season and 47-0 road loss at Florida State; which planted seeds for what would take place in 2000 and the next five showdowns.
Entering 2000, the Hurricanes and fifth-year head coach Butch Davis were 40-19 during that probation run—and 0-10 combined against Florida State and Virginia Tech. (For context; UM only lost a staggering 17 games between 1983 and 1993—along with those four national championships.)
Similar to 1994, Florida State rolled south to the Orange Bowl as defending champions in 2000—with Miami the underdog, in need of an upset. The Hurricanes were in danger of falling off the map for that 34-20 win all those years ago—but by the turn of the century, Miami had truly become an afterthought. Even the Florida Gators won their first championship in 1996 while the Canes were down and out.
The Hurricanes were finally where they needed to be talent-wise when 2000 rolled around. The 1999 campaign was a sneaky 9-4—Miami taking a step forward after closing the 1998 season with the upset of #2 UCLA.
UM opened the 1999 season with an upset of Ohio State in the Kickoff Classic—but lost a heartbreaker to #2 Penn State two weeks later at home, 27-23—falling on an 80-yard touchdown pass on the heels of a bad fourth down spot when leading 23-20 and looking for a dagger.
The hangover continued a week later for a relocated game against East Carolina; also a 27-23 loss—after leading 23-3 early in the third quarter.
Miami hung tough against #1 Florida State the following week; tied 21-21 at the half in Tallahassee, before ultimately falling, 31-21 to the eventual champ. The final season los came at Blacksburg when Kenny Kelly was injured and true freshman Ken Dorsey was tossed into the fire; a 43-10 setback against #2 Virginia Tech—the Hokies and Michael Vick falling to the Seminoles in the national championship.
Dorsey won the quarterback battle in the 2000 Gator Bowl; outplaying Kelly to the point where the elder statesman chose to pursue baseball, than to battle it out with a sophomore the following spring.
Miami entered the 2000 season #4 in the nation, but got tripped up early-on in a cross-country trek to Seattle—a slow start doing the Hurricanes in against #15 Washington, 34-29—the Huskies going on to finish #3 in the polls that year.
All that to say, everything was on the line when #7 Miami (3-1) welcomed #1 Florida State (5-0) into a sweltering Orange Bowl for that high-noon showdown.
After fumbling the opening kickoff, the Hurricanes defense stepped up—stuffing a fourth down run to get the ball back. The Noles returned the favor a possession later, fumbling a punt return around mid-field—stripped by always-everywhere linebacker Dan Morgan and recovered by Phillip Buchanon.
Dorsey would eventually find a streaking Najeh Davenport down the middle for a 22-yard touchdown, putting the Canes up, 7-0 middle of the first quarter.
Late first quarter, another fourth down stop—Chris Weinke thinking he had tight end Carver Donaldson open on the goal line, but junior safety Ed Reed made up some lost ground, getting a hand on the ball and batting it away for a turnover on downs.
Dorsey went right back to work on second down, finding a streaking Santana Moss for a massive field-flipping game—followed by a dump to tight end Ivan Mercer, followed by an early second quarter punch-in from then-fullback / future-linebacker D.J. Williams. , pushing the lead to 14-0.
Reed single-handed ended another productive drive—picking off Weinke on the goal line. Dorsey immediately went back to Moss for two big gains, putting the Canes in the red zone again—but left settling for a 31-yard Todd Sievers field goal, pushing the lead to an unexpected 17-0.
Weinke again got the Noles in scoring position, but on 3rd-and-Goal from the two-yard line, was baited by a lurking Morgan, who returned the pass 23 yards before getting bumped out with :06 remaining—but protecting the Canes’ lead.
Florida State got back to business in the second half, pulling to within 17-10 by midway through the third quarter—but Dorsey found Reggie Wayne and D.J. Williams and Robert Williams for a few big gains, eventually setting Sievers up to push the lead back to 10.
Matt Munyon whiffed on an early fourth quarter field goal attempt—while Davenport returned the gaffe with a third down fumble—2:14 remaining, after picking up the would-be first down. Florida State had already pulled to within three by this point, pushing momentum back on the side of the defending champs.
Weinke to Atrews Bell for a 29-strike with 1:37 remaining—the Noles with their first lead, 24-20, leaving the sophomore Dorsey to engineer one of those magical Quarterback U-type drives he’d yet to pull off early in his career.
From there, the clouds parted and magic happened.
Dorsey to Moss; out of bounds near midfield. Dorsey to Wayne; a 17-yard pick-up that move the chains and got Miami to the 33-yard line.
Dorsey back to Moss for another clutch pick-up, between two confused and frustrated Noles—followed by a touchdown strike to a then-unknown Jeremy Shockey, who hauled-in the eventual game-winner.
Dorsey, a magical 6-of-7 on the drive—going 68 yards in :51—but leaving enough time on the clock for the Seminoles to get a crack at a tie, instead setting up the iconic Wide Right III, as Munyon pushed the 49-yarder in true Gerry Thomas and Dan Mowery fashion.
The Canes would win out, but get snubbed by the BCS committee—who sent the one-loss Noles to the title game, over the one-loss Canes—which prompted a head-to-head change in the numbers the following year. #3 Miami would go on to beat #7 Florida in the Sugar Bowl, while #2 Florida State fell to #1 Oklahoma, 13-2—giving the Sooners a national championship that had the Canes’ name written all over it.