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Flashback Friday: Games We Love – Miami 28, Oklahoma 16; 9/27/86

As we endure the long summer while waiting for the start of football season, State of the U will look back each Friday on a great game in Hurricane football history to get us pumped for the season. This week, we re-visit Miami's domination of the top-ranked Sooners in 1986. If there's a game you want us to re-visit, please feel free to include your request in the comments below.

Sebastian had plenty to celebrate against Oklahoma in 1986.
Sebastian had plenty to celebrate against Oklahoma in 1986.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The 80’s were just special, weren’t they? Cheesy – yet classic – movies. Big hair and power ballads. Super Mario Brothers. Reebok pumps.

And football. Oh yes, football.

Back when people could still have fun – when there was no social media and the world wasn’t getting painfully sensitive over behavior that could be irrationally construed as offensive – we had some fun, fun times in college football (I’m looking at you, back-flipping Horace Copeland and Randal Hill dancing in the Cotton Bowl tunnel). And in 1985-86, Miami and Oklahoma – two of America’s powerhouse programs during that time – provided a pair of memorable matchups.

Miami broke quarterback Troy Aikman’s ankle in 27-14 win in Norman, OK in 1985. The Sooners, who bounced back and beat Penn State in the Orange Bowl to claim the 1985 national championship, were looking to exact some revenge on September 27, 1986.

Instead, Miami would use the day to showcase an offense that averaged 36.2 points per game, featuring Michael Irvin, Melvin Bratton, Alonzo Highsmith, and Brian Blades.

And, of course, Vinny Testaverde.

Oh, and it was a battle of the top two-ranked teams in the country, which is always a memorable occasion.

On the eve before this orange-green-crimson-cream powder keg would explode, some Miami players lit the fuse the evening before. Melvin Bratton and Alonzo Highsmith delivered a late-night wake up call to Brian Bosworth in his Fontainbleau hotel room the night before the game.

If that was a wake-up call (literally), the next day was an awakening for Oklahoma, as far as what was still to come over the next several years from the Miami football program. Testaverde passed for four touchdowns, including two within 44 seconds that put Miami ahead 21-3 in the third quarter and effectively bury the Sooners. His third went to Irvin in the closed West end zone that saw Michael completely engulfed by the delirious fans in the front row. He also had his proverbial Heisman moment, as he escaped from a sack – his shoulder pads flapping in the wind – and scrambled from one sideline to the other for a ten-yard gain.

That 1986 team would complete a perfect regular season before a gut-wrenching loss in one of the most unforgettable bowl games in college football history. Miami – who exited the plane in combat fatigues – fell to Joe Paterno’s Penn State Nittany Lions 14-10 despite rolling up an incredible 445 yards of offense. Testaverde’s fifth interception of the game was pulled in by linebacker Pete Giftopoulos in the end zone, ending a dream season for Miami.

Still, that 1986 team was as talent-laden as perhaps any team Miami has ever fielded, save perhaps for the 2000-2001 squads. It was an unforgettable season, and thrashing the top-ranked Sooners in the Orange Bowl serves as the highlight of the year.

Go Canes!