On the final night of the regular 1989 season, the University of Miami Hurricanes ended Notre Dame's hope for back to back championships with a convincing 27-10 victory. This was a game in which the Canes would hold the Irish offense without a touchdown, an was Notre Dame’s first loss since Jan. 1, 1988, ending an Irish school-record winning streak at 23 games.
The highlight of this game is one I’ll never forget, a 22-play drive that included an impossible 44-yard pass on a third-and-44 situation to Randall “Thrill” Hill to put the dagger in Notre Dame’s heart. Miami dominated the game and the Irish had no answers for the Canes, who were focused on avenging a controversial loss from the prior year in South Bend.
''I can offer you a million excuses,'' said Lou Holtz, the Notre Dame coach, ''but not a single reason.''
Back to that drive, after starting off well, all of a sudden Miami, on its 41 yard line, started moving backward when a penalty moved the ball back to the 26. Then Miami QB Craig Erickson would fumble but thankfully center Bobby Garcia recovered it. However, this put the Hurricanes back at their 3. After a 4-yard run, Miami faced a third down with 44. Despite throwing a pick-6 in the first half, Erickson rebounded in the third quarter with what may be not only the most important pass of his career but also one of the greatest in Miami football history.
Taking the snap, Erickson threw deep up the right sideline to Hill, who sprinted past ND defensive backs Stan Smagala and Pat Terrell for a 44-yard gain and a first down at the Irish 48.
The Canes would emerge with the win and after beating over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, Miami would have its third National Championship in 6 years. That’s a flashback for another Friday.