The no. 3 Miami Hurricanes traveled due north to Tallahassee, FL to take on rival and the no. 4 ranked Florida State Seminoles on October 3rd of 1987. The Hurricanes were sitting at 2-0 at the time after wins over no. 20 Florida and no. 10 Arkansas. The Seminoles had cruised easily to a 4-0 record before the annual showdown with the ‘Canes.
Miami coach Jimmy Johnson had a new starting quarterback in Steve Walsh but the Hurricanes had returning starters on offense and defense from the 11-1 squad that was upset by Penn State in the 1987 Fiesta Bowl. The Seminoles were quarterbacked by Danny McManus and led by head football coach Bobby Bowden. Bowden and longtime defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews had lost three of the previous four tries against Miami including two in a row.
With 63,000 fans backing Doak Campbell Stadium the Seminoles came out to a 19-3 lead with little over a quarter to go in the game. Walsh threw a 49-yard touchdown to Melvin Bratton and converted the two point conversion with a completion to Brian Blades to cut the lead to eight. The Seminoles missed a field goal starting Bowden’s kicking woes against Miami for years to come. Then Walsh hit Michael Irvin on a 26-yard touchdown pass.
The ‘Canes converted another 2 point conversion before hitting Irvin on a fade route over Deion Sanders for 73-yard touchdown reception. The Hurricanes 26-19 lead wasn’t safe as Florida State came roaring back.
The ‘Noles McManus then put together an 83-yard drive that ended with a touchdown pass to Ronald Lewis in the back of the end zone. Now with only 42 seconds remaining in the contest Coach Bowden had a decision to make. Bowden could have chosen to kick the extra point, tie the game, and stay undefeated. Instead, he chose to try for a 2 point conversion. The McManus pass was knocked down by Miami defensive back Bubba McDowell and the Hurricanes remained undefeated with a 26-25 victory.