On November 21, 1992 the no. 1 Miami Hurricanes traveled up to Syracuse, NY to face the no. 8 Orangemen in the Carrier Dome. Miami, 9-0 before the classic against Syracuse, had survived three close calls already on the season to remain undefeated. The Orangemen were 9-1 with their lone loss coming to the no. 21 Ohio State Buckeyes in week three.
49,857 fans packed the Carrier Dome to witness tight end Chris Gedney fall three yards short for a 16-10 Miami victory. Syracuse Coach Paul Pasqualoni was in only his second season in charge while Dennis Erickson already had two national championship rings on his hand as head coach of the ‘Canes. Pasqualoni’s option offense was guided by quarterback Marvin Graves. Graves threw for 2,296 yards and 14 touchdowns adding another five rushing touchdowns on the season. Miami quarterback Gino Torretta was poised to take home the 1992 Heisman Trophy award after posting back-to-back undefeated regular seasons in 1991 and 1992.
Miami came out dominant shutting down the Syracuse option offense and holding the Orangemen to -1 total yards in the first half. Graves took endless punishment all game as he was tackled for losses on nine different plays and hit after pitching on the option all afternoon. Miami overcame Torretta’s three interception performance and held a 16-0 lead in the third quarter after three Dane Prewitt field goals and a Larry Jones 11-yard touchdown run.
Syracuse made a field goal of their own and Graves ran a 1-yard touchdown closing the lead to 16-10 with 13 minutes left in the game. With Syracuse mounting their comeback drive, linebacker Darrin Smith leveled Graves and Rohan Marley intercepted the errant pass to shut down that drive. Syracuse final series started with 3:49 left in the 4th quarter.
Graves running the freeze option was drilled by Casey Greer and running back Terry Richardson recovered the wild pitch for a 14-yard gain. Graves then hit Quadry Ismail for an 11-yard reception before scrambling for 14-yards himself and heading out of bounds. Graves, visibly shaken up, then vomited in the huddle and Syracuse had to call a costly timeout.
After vomiting on the sideline as well, Graves gained five yards on another option play and stopped the clock by getting out of bounds with 39 seconds left. Syracuse had to call their final timeout as Graves was sacked by Warren Sapp for a 6-yard loss. With 31 seconds left to play and a third-and-12 situation from the ‘Canes 23- Graves was sacked by defensive end Darren Krein. With the clock ticking down to four seconds to go Graves took the snap, fired the ball deep, and Gedney was stopped three yards short of a major upset.
Greer who had laid the hit that sent Graves ill to the sideline was the tackler on the final play. After the final whistle Miami linebacker Darrin Smith said, “Being a Hurricane we never feel we’re going to lose, no matter what the situation is.” Miami beat up on a Marshall Faulk-less San Diego State team before losing the 1993 Sugar Bowl in an upset to the Alabama Crimson Tide. Miami’s 1992 senior class had an outgoing record of 44 and 4.