For all of the nightmares the Miami Hurricanes gave quarterbacks (read about it here) in the ‘Canes dominant history, they’ve been given their fair share of headaches and nightmares too. Hurricanes fans have all tried to block the 1997 game against the Florida State Seminoles out of memory, and that entire ‘97 defense gave Ryan Clement and Scott Covington nightmares including a shot off the goal post I had never, and still have never, seen again.
For the purpose of this piece, we’re sticking strictly to players- but every ‘Canes fan knows their arch nemesis is Terry Porter. That’s Terry Porter the referee, not the point guard with the great beer named after him. Here’s to the string of comments- and no I didn’t include Coach Randy Shannon, or Al Golden, or Bryan Fortay either.
5 Joseph Addai, LSU
Joseph Addai, the 30th overall pick of the 2006 NFL Draft, was the Louisiana State Tigers running back for the 2005 Peach Bowl. A lot went wrong for the ‘Canes during that bowl game back on December 30th of 2005. Addai and the Tigers carved up the Hurricanes in a 40-3 embarrassment in Atlanta, GA. Scoring two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving) and totaling 135 yards from scrimmage solidified the victory for the Tigers.
The Peach Bowl was only a 3-13 game in favor of LSU before Addai’s two touchdowns broke the game away and sealed Miami’s fate. After that 2005 Peach Bowl, Larry Coker was given one more run as head football coach for the 2006 season before being fired and giving way to a long stretch of dismal seasons for the orange and green. Miami only managed two nine-win seasons between 2006 and 2014 before the hiring of Mark Richt. Addai’s breakaway performance was the marking point heading into the end of Miami’s second run at greatness from 2000-2003.
4 Warrick Dunn, Florida State
Warrick Dunn wasn’t a gut wrenching moment player in ‘Canes lore but a four year headache for Miami fans as the 5’8 Dunn never seemed to be able to be tackled. Dunn totaled 5273 yards from scrimmage and 49 touchdowns over his four year career in Tallahassee where he finished 3-1 against Miami. Dunn wasn’t just a weapon in the run game but also averaged 10 yards per reception out of the backfield. Against Miami, Dunn ran for 160 yards in 1996 and 184 yards in 1995. The ‘Noles beat the ‘Canes in 1993 as part of their run at their first ever national championship.
Dunn was the 12th pick of the 1997 NFL Draft and played in the league from 1997-2008. Dunn is in the Atlanta Falcons ring of honor, made three Pro Bowl rosters, and totaled 15,000 yards from scrimmage and 64 touchdowns. In 2004, Dunn won the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.
3 Maurice Clarett, Ohio State
Maurice Clarett was a college football darling for one year as College GameDay plastered the freshman sensation all over our televisions during the 2002 season. Miami was coming off their fifth national championship returning star quarterback Ken Dorsey for his senior season in Coral Gables. Clarett’s 1,237 yards and 18 touchdowns drove the Buckeyes to a 14-0 record and the Ohio native didn’t disappoint in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl. The 6’0 and 200 pound Clarett was a blast from the past with a hard nosed running style in a run-first conference.
The 2001 USA Today High School All-American never panned out after his freshman season. He was a 3rd round NFL Draft pick in the 2005 draft after sitting out the 2003 and 2004 seasons having challenged the NCAA to be allowed to enter the draft after one year. Clarett was cut after the 2005 season from the Denver Broncos, played the 2010-2011 seasons for the Omaha Nighthawks, and served prison time before coming out a changed man. What did Clarett do to be in Miami’s collective nightmares? While he only carried the ball 23 times for 47 yards against the ‘Canes elite defense, he did score two touchdowns including the game winner in double-overtime. Clarett also pulled a George Teague and stripped Sean Taylor after his interception that could’ve been the game clinching play. Between the two touchdowns and the strip play, Clarett is forever in Miami nightmare lore.
2. Cory Schlesinger, Nebraska
I never thought a hulking fullback would have ended Miami’s tour on top of the college football world but Cory Schlesinger of Nebraska was the final straw that broke the ‘Canes run. Where George Teague started the collapse, Schlesinger powered the Huskers through the Hurricanes exhausted defense and into a run of three titles over four seasons for the boys from Lincoln, NE. Over the 1994 season, Schlesinger ran for 456 yards and four touchdowns while averaging 7.2 yards per carry. Schlesinger only ran for seven career touchdowns for Nebraska but managed two in the 1995 Orange Bowl game.
Miami was up 17-9 but had given up a sack-safety and Nebraska was able to hang in the game. With the greatest college football player of all-time, Tommie Frazier on the bench, Nebraska needed a spark from somewhere. The safety helped, and Schlesinger scored on a 15-yard touchdown run before Frazier threw a two point conversion to Eric Alford to tie the game at 17-17. A late 14-yard touchdown run by Schlesinger sealed the result as Nebraska beat Miami 24-17 in front of the ‘Canes home crowd.
Schlesinger went on to play in the NFL from 1995-2007, including on the Dolphins pre-season squad for the 2007 season. The 1995 6th round NFL Draft pick was a three-time Pro Bowl alternate and scored fourteen touchdowns over his career.
1 George Teague, Alabama
The Miami Hurricanes entered the 1993 Sugar Bowl as the number one team in the country, even if there were already obvious leaks in the boat. Miami’s offensive line was a complete mess having had to move tight end Carlos Etheredge to tackle because of constant injuries to the starters. Miami’s recruiting had also started to struggle, especially on the offensive line. When the Hurricanes trash talked their way through the season the Miami offense was no match for the Alabama Crimson Tide defense. The Tide ran a blitz happy scheme to put pressure on Gino Torretta and hope he would throw blindly into their defensive backs- and he did. Torretta threw back to back interceptions, the first to Tommy Johnson but the second to George Teague. Teague returned his interception thirty-one yards for a touchdown and Miami was all but done, but were they?
Antonio Langham, George Teague and Sam Shade all had NFL careers, and defensive linemen John Copeland and Eric Curry were drafted 5th and 6th overall in the 1993 NFL Draft. Teague was drafted 29th overall in the same ‘93 draft. Antonio London, a Tide defensive tackle, went in the 3rd round of the ‘93 draft, too. Teague might not have been on this list except as Miami was mounting a comeback he stripped Lamar Thomas ending the momentum the ‘Canes had built. Thomas was on his way to an 89 yard touchdown reception when Teague ran down the Miami track star and stripped away the ball.
Teague’s pro career lasted from 1993-2001. After being drafted by the Green Bay Packers, he played for the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins over his career. Teague had as many interceptions against Torretta as he did in the NFL, ending his career with two. The ‘Canes decade of dominance was over and Teague had a heavy hand in the finale.