It’s fair to say that the Miami-Oklahoma match-ups of the 80’s will always be remembered by the ’86 Bosworth/Coin Toss game and the ’87 National Championship. And rightfully so. But in 1985, an unranked Miami team coming off four straight wins marched into Norman and whipped the Sooners to the tune of 27-14. Jimmy Johnson was in his second season with Miami and had been haunted by the ghosts of OU while he was still the head coach at Oklahoma State. Johnson had never beaten Oklahoma while coaching in Stillwater and it seemed fitting that one of his biggest, early-career victories would come against the Sooners (and that he would dominate them in his career at Miami).
Vinny Testaverde, Alonzo Highsmith and Michael Irvin led the explosive Canes’ offense, a pro style attack that gouged a Sooner’s defense that allowed less than NINE points per game that season (8.6 to be exact). No one else put up more than 14 on the Sooners that season. Testaverde was masterful during the game, tossing touchdown strikes to Irvin and Brian Blades while also rushing for a score on a well-executed bootleg.
On defense, Miami was just as relentless, harassing the Sooners all day long, led by the late Jerome Brown. Brown racked up 16 tackles, a blocked field goal and a sack on Sooners’ QB Troy Aikman that would leave the signal caller out for the season with a broken ankle. That would be Aikman’s last play for Oklahoma, transferring to UCLA after the season.
The 1985 match-up between the Sooner’s football royalty and Miami’s “microwave dynasty” may not have had the stage that ’86 and ’87 would. But it still had its fair share of memorable moments in a game that helped JJ avenge demons left over from OSU and set off Miami’s consecutive weeks ranked streaked for ten whole years. There was a gorgeous, 56-yard rainbow from Testaverde to Irvin for the opening score, Bennie Blades’ interception early in the third when OU was still in the game and the other Blades brother scoring the decisive touchdown on a 3rd and 18 late in the third quarter.