The Miami Hurricanes and FIU Panthers are set to do battle this Saturday at Marlins Park, in their latest matchup of the two crosstown schools. These two programs, separated by only nine miles, have met three times in the past, with the Canes winning each time to nobodies surprise.
While those three games have been blowout Miami victories, there has been one significant moment that occurred between the Hurricanes and Panthers. And no, I'm not talking about the coming out party for N’Kosi Perry last season either.
12 years ago, during the 2006 season, Miami and FIU had an unforgettable and unfortunate bench-clearing brawl that has become one of the most iconic of its kind in college football history.
To give you a little recap, the Panthers, coached by Don Strock, came a few miles over to the Orange Bowl, to play the Hurricanes for the first time. Not much was expected from the game, FIU was 0-6 at the time (finished 0-12 in 2006) and the Canes were 3-2, with UM looking for the easy win.
A surprising crowd of over 51,000 were in the Orange Bowl, it was a beautiful October night in Miami, and nothing more was expected other than a regular game of UM football.
The first half was indeed slow, and the only score was an 11-yard Kyle Wright touchdown pass to Lance Leggett with just two under minutes to go before halftime.
Then, the Canes took their first drive of the third quarter all the way and scored, as Wright connected with James Bryant for another touchdown. That’s when things started to get a little extra chippy. Up to that point, officials had already thrown close to 10 penalties between the two teams, and trash talking was high.
There was an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty called on Bryant following his touchdown, as the talking amongst the teams reached the peak it had all night up to that point.
Following the touchdown, Miami kicker Jon Peattie knocked through the extra point, and that’s when all hell broke loose. I won't do the madness justice, so here’s the full length video clip of what happened.
If you watch the video, you can hear former Canes WR Lamar Thomas, who was apart of the broadcasting crew that night say, “Now, that’s what I’m talking about. You come into our house, you should get your behind kicked. I say, why don’t we meet outside in the tunnel after the ball game and get it on some more?”
As you can see, it was pure chaos. I remember sitting in the Orange Bowl as a 12-year old being in absolute shock as to what was going on. You always see these kinds of brawls on TV, you never imagine you’d actually see one in person.
When the dust settled, 13 players were given 15-yard penalties and were ejected from the game. Miami won the game 35-0, but the brawl was the only thing people wanted to talk about.
18 players from FIU, 13 from Miami, 31 in total were suspended for one game, including Canes future NFL safety Brandon Meriweather.
Throughout their history, the Canes have been no strangers to scuffles with opposing teams. Whether it was with Colorado in 1993, South Carolina in 1987, or Notre Dame in 1988, there are several instances.
However, their fight with FIU in 2006 might take the cake for most notable, and while the Hurricanes and Panthers might continue to play for years to come, the brawl will always be what comes to peoples minds when they think of these two teams.