Unfortunately, I couldn’t get my final weekly Flashback Friday piece out on Friday but wanted to make sure one of my favorite games was presented to you.
The Hurricanes began the 1999 season as the pre-season number 12 in the Associated Press rankings and traveled to New Jersey to take on preseason number nine Ohio State Buckeyes for the Kickoff Classic at Giants Stadium. The 23-12 win by Miami was one of its biggest victories since it was put on probation in 1995 helping to pave the way for the Canes to return to greatness.
Miami's QB, Kenny Kelly, made his first start before a crowd of over 73,000 (your’s truly included) and looked terrible at times but also made some huge plays at critical moments. He completed 17 of 25 passes for 245 yards, with 2 interceptions and a touchdown pass, and rushed for a touchdown.
This was also the game where the late Al Blades gave his infamous “HIT STICK BUST....” pregame speech. He would save a sure touchdown for OSU in the game making a great tackle of the Buckeyes RB Michael Wiley. Ohio State would have to settle for a FG on that drive.
Miami running backs James Jackson and Najeh Davenport rushed for 102 yards and 83 yards. Canes receiver, Santana Moss, finished with 3 catches for 115 yards including a 67 touchdown catch. While, the defense led by new DC, Greg Schiano, neutralized Ohio State's run offense holding by Wiley to 81 yards on 9 carries -- (one run was 69 yards).
Following a huge win to end the 1998 season over then #3 UCLA, this win over a highly regarded OSU team would further build the foundation for success over the next several years for Miami.