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West Virginia – Miami: A Historical Reminder

SOTU looks back at the history between former Big East rivals Miami and West Virginia.

Jon Peattie celebrates his game-winning field goal Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images

It’s been awhile since the Hurricanes and Mountaineers clashed on the football field. As former Big East Conference foes, the Canes took on the Mountaineers every year until the Canes left for the ACC after the 2003 season.

To put things in a bit of a historical perspective, as far as the overall competitiveness – or lack thereof, the Canes and ‘Neers have played 16 times since the Mountaineers beat the Canes for the first time back in 1973.

Miami has won 14 of those matchups. Fourteen. FOURTEEN!!!! 14-2 from 1983 through the 2003 season. Folks, that’s more one-sided than Peter McNeely against Tyson.

And yet, much like during game week against Appalachian State, there is a large, large contingent of Mountie fans on Twitter running their mouths about the Canes being has-beens and a shell of a former program. I see that as nothing more than jealously from a program that has never been able to make it to the mountaintop. The Canes have scaled that summit five times in program history, and if not for a dubious pass interference call, would have made a sixth trip. They’ve also played for the national championship in 1985, 1986, 1992, and 2002.

Conversely, the ‘Neers sport no championships, playing for the possibility of a national title only twice – in the 1989 Fiesta Bowl vs. #1 Notre Dame and in the 1994 Sugar Bowl vs. #8 Florida. The ‘Neers fell 34-21 to the Irish, and got their doors blown off 41-7 by the Gators.

In 2007, they were a win away from likely playing for the national championship, entering their final game of the season against rival Pitt, who sported a 4-7 record. The Panthers upset Rich Rod’s Mountaineers, ending their title hopes.

So, I figure it’s better to have trophies in your trophy case than not.

Mountaineers vs. Canes, by the numbers:

· Series record: Miami leads 16 – 3

· Largest margin of victory (44) – Miami 58-14 (1986)

· Longest winning streak (Miami) – 6 games

· Longest winning streak (WVU) – 1 game

· National championships: Miami -5; WVU – 0

· All-time winning percentage: Miami .629; WVU .600

· Conference championships: WVU – 15; Miami – 9

· Bowl games: Miami – 37; WVU – 34

· Bowl wins: Miami – 18; WVU – 15

· Consensus All-Americans: Miami - 35; WVU – 11

· Heisman winners: Miami – 2; WVU – 0

· First round NFL draft picks: Miami – 63; WVU – 11

· NFL draft picks: Miami – 327; WVU – 181

· Weeks as #1 in AP Poll: Miami – 68; WVU – 0

· Last meeting: Miami 22, WVU 20 (October 2, 2003). In what will go down as one of the more exciting and underrated matchups in the final decade of the Orange Bowl, Miami escaped 22-20 as Jon Peattie hit a 23-yard field goal with 11 seconds left. As you may recall, Kellen Winslow’s leaping, game-saving circus catch from Brock Berlin on 4th and 13 on the final drive set up the game-winning score for the #2 Canes. West Virginia had taken the lead with only 2 minutes remaining when RB Quincy Wilson took a screen pass on 3rd and 13, weaved past Vince Wilfork Jon Vilma, and Sean Taylor, before running over Brandon Meriweather en route to the end zone and a 20-19 lead. But Brock Berlin – as he did earlier in the year against Florida – engineered the game-winning drive, which spanned 56 yards in 8 plays.

So…..any questions? While Mountaineer fans may talk this week about what Miami was long years ago, there is no question – between these two teams – what that actually was: Mountaineer killers. Time to get that history back on track in Orlando. Go Canes.