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Clinic Talk: Famous plays from the Catholics vs the Convicts

A history of Miami vs Notre Dame

Gino Torretta Getty Images

Miami vs Notre Dame hasn’t exactly been fun the past couple of times around. The Sun Bowl / Snowball Fight Bowl in 2010 where The Irish won 33-17, and the 41-3 ass kicking at Soldier Field in 2012. But back in 1981 the ‘Canes started making it an actual rivalry. This is a series that’s 17-7-1 to Notre Dame. The Hurricanes, led by Jim Kelly, beat the struggling Irish 37-15. In 1983 a streak over ND began where the ‘Canes pulled off wins in 83, 84, 85, and 87 (86 was an off-year). 1988 will be discussed in more detail below...

The phrase “Catholics vs Convicts” dates back to a t-shirt printed in 1988 heading into the infamous showdown in South Bend, Indiana. Both squads were undefeated with Miami at #1 and ND at #4.

Catholics vs Convicts

The ‘88 game was so big it’s getting itself a 30for30, Miami’s 3rd. The game was big because of Johnson vs Holtz, the title implications, and this “fumble.”

Miami is in the 2-back split-back twins look with a RB cheated outside for the route he’s about to run. The Irish are in a 5-2 look similar to the Patriots 5-2 where the SAM walks down outside the Y (TE). You can see a DB playing off the TE, 2 ILB’s and on the twins side there’s a FS deep and an up-safety over the slot and a CB over the outside WR.

The 1989 game saw #1 Notre Dame vs #7 Miami playing in the finale of the season. With Miami’s 27-10 solid victory the ‘Canes parlayed the ass kicking into a Sugar Bowl game against Alabama which led to the title. Above, here’s Randal “Thrill” Hill’s amazing 3rd and 43 catch. How do you allow a guy behind you as a ND safety or corner on and 43? Terrible DB play from the Irish.

1985 was Gerry Faust’s last on the Irish sideline. The former high school head coach was already to be replaced by Lou Holtz. Miami ran it up 58-7 down in the Orange Bowl. This isn’t a scheme thing here, this is just bad boy #Canes football as Bennie Blades pick-6’s the pass and celebrates his way into the end zone.

The 1990 game was the last of the annual series between the two teams. #2 Miami went up to South Bend and was upset by #6 Notre Dame 29-20. A big play came on this Irish screen pass on 3rd and 4. The Irish played into Miami’s tenacious pass rush and hit the screen for 25 yards and a score. Even the rival has some memorable plays and this one has stuck with me. Right call at the right time.

Watch my personal favorite, the 1989 Canes/Irish game, in full here:

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