Something that’s so funny about us Hurricanes fans is that we spend a lot of time in the past, which is fine because Miami’s history is so rich. This isn't to say that we don’t pay close attention to the present and future, but we definitely love going back in time and revisiting old memories.
Today, and I'm going to hit a soft spot with Hurricanes fans, I'm looking back at our beloved Orange Bowl. The OB, 1501 NW 3rd St, the home of UM football until 2007. The place where my love for this program began, and I miss it everyday.
On today’s top-10 list, I'm ranking the best games for the Hurricanes during their time at the Orange Bowl. However, I'm only counting regular season games, and not considering those games played for the bowl game. So you won't see 1983, 87 or 1991 on here, telling you right now.
1988 vs FSU:
Most people remember the game second, and what happened prior to the game more than anything. If you remember, 1988 was the year that Deion Sanders and the rest of the Seminoles came out with their rap video, which is so bad I won't torture you by posting it here. Anyway, Canes came out and thrashed the Noles 31-0.
2004 vs FSU:
Just missing out on this list, this game was a defensive showdown for most of the night. Thanks to a Devin Hester blocked field goal, followed by a screen pass from Brock Berlin to Sinorice Moss in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter, Miami was able to send the game into overtime. Then, Chris Rix fumbled, and Frank Gore ran into the end zone for the 16-10 win.
1991 vs Houston:
From the year that Miami won its fourth National Championship, the Hurricanes whomped on the high-powered 10th-ranked Cougars of Houston who were led by quarterback David Klingler. It was Gino Torretta and the UM offense who outshined their opponents on this night, winning easily 40-10 under the lights at the OB.
1991 vs Penn State:
Another game from the championship season of 1991. This time, it was against the ninth-ranked Nittany Lions and Joe Paterno. Thanks to a 91-yard return by Kevin Williams and the pass catching abilities of Lamar Thomas, the Canes squeezed out a 26-20 win.
10. 1992 vs FSU
Coming in at number-10 on our countdown is a classic showdown between the Hurricanes and the Seminoles. Coming into the game, Miami was ranked second and Florida State third, UM had Gino Torretta at quarterback and FSU had Charlie Ward. In what was probably the hardest-hitting game in the history of college football, the Seminoles jumped out quickly, returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown.
Though, thanks to the defensive efforts of Micheal Barrow, Kevin Patrick, Rusty Medearis and others, Miami held Ward and the FSU offense in check most of the day. A 33-yard touchdown pass from Torretta to Lamar Thomas put the Canes in front, and down 19-16, Seminoles kicker Dan Mowrey lined up from 39-yards to try and tie the game. We all know what happened. Wide Right Part 2.
9. 1994 vs Florida State
In front of a raucous Orange Bowl crowd under the lights in Miami, the 13th-ranked Canes took the field as host to their rivals and third-ranked Seminoles. Following a home loss to Washington in week three, Dennis Erickson and his team were reeling, and desperately needed a win to keep their title hopes alive.
Ray Lewis, Warren Sapp and company swarmed Danny Kanell all night on defense, and Miami’s offense led by Frank Costa did enough to keep the Canes in front. Carlos Jones had the highlight of the game, when he picked off Kanell and ran it back for a touchdown, with some saying it’s the loudest the Orange Bowl has ever been.
8. 2001 vs Washington
Miami had revenge on their minds when Washington came to town in November of 2001. The Huskies were the last team to defeat the Hurricanes, downing them back in early 2000, dashing Miami’s hopes for a title. This time, UW came to the Orange Bowl, on UM’s senior night no-less, and they simply never had a chance.
Clinton Portis, Ken Dorsey and the rest of the greatest team in college football history jumped out on Washington like you’ve never seen before. A defensive touchdown from Jerome McDougle, a score from Najeh Davenport, you look up and Miami was up 37-0 at the half. It was never even close to being a competitive game, and the Canes won 65-7, en route to their fifth National Championship.
7. 2002 vs Virginia Tech
It wasn’t a close game by any means, but it was a game that clinched Miami a spot in a second consecutive National Championship game. It was a muggy late-season day at the Orange Bowl, and Larry Coker’s Hurricanes, riding a 33-game winning streak, welcomed in Frank Beamer’s Hokies of Virginia Tech.
All you have to say about this game is Willis McGahee. #2 was absolutely freakish that afternoon, and Miami’s offense rode him all day long. 209 yards on the ground, with an incredible SIX TOUCHDOWNS. Even crazier, he scored his sixth touchdown fairly early in third quarter, McGahee could’ve had like eight if Coker ran him some more. Miami wins 56-45, and the score wasn’t even that close.
6. 1998 vs UCLA
The day that the magic and mystique of the Orange Bowl was brought back after a few years hiatus. What’s incredible about this game, is that Butch Davis and his Miami team, had lost 66-13 to Syracuse the week prior, and now the very next week, the third-ranked Bruins of UCLA came to South Florida.
Though they were down 45-28 in the third quarter, the Hurricanes, led by Edgerrin James and his school-record 299 yards rushing, staged an epic comeback. James scored with less than a minute to go, and Miami’s defense held the Bruins on the final play of the game to pull off the 49-45 upset.
5. 2003 vs Florida
I can never get enough of this game, and if I had a dollar for every time I've rewatched this on YouTube, I'd be rich. #3 Miami against #18 Florida, and it was the first the Gators had visited the Orange Bowl since 1987. Devin Hester took the opening kickoff 97-yards for a touchdown, but UF jumped out to a 33-10 lead up into the third quarter.
Never forget Kevin Beard against Florida in 2003. 7 catches, 164 yards and a touchdown pic.twitter.com/1P3VU9U6Fs— Bring Ousman Traore to Miami (@hurricanesmarsh) April 19, 2019
That’s when Brock Berlin and the Miami offense woke up. Bringing his team back from 23 points down, Berlin got hot in the second half, throwing two touchdowns in the final two quarters and leading Miami all the way back. The former Gator (Berlin) finished the night with 340 yards through the air and two touchdowns, then a Frank Gore score with less than two minutes to go capped the epic comeback. Sean Taylor intercepted a pass in the closing seconds, securing the 38-33 win.
4. 2002 vs FSU
To be completely honest, this is probably my favorite game in the history of the University of Miami, mainly because this was the first game my father took me to as an eight year-old. Those who were there remember that it was at least 105 degrees inside the Orange Bowl, like it honestly couldn't get any hotter inside that stadium.
The Hurricanes, ranked first in the country and the defending national champions, played host to the 12th-ranked Noles. While FSU wasn’t the title contender they were in years prior, it was still a rivalry game, and a record crowd of 81,927 were in attendance to watch it.
Miami struck first, but the Seminoles went ahead and maintained a lead for most of the game. Down 27-14 in the fourth quarter, Ken Dorsey led one touchdown drive and capped it by hitting Kevin Beard in the back of the end zone to make it 27-21. On the first play of their next possession, Dorsey hit Willis McGahee on a screen-pass, and then Willis took it 68-yards to the FSU 11-yard line.
Jason Geathers-Palm Beach County pic.twitter.com/RSEERH10Ij— Bring Ousman Traore to Miami (@hurricanesmarsh) May 28, 2019
The very next play, Jason Geathers took a handoff from Dorsey and nearly brought down the OB with a touchdown. Chris Rix did drive the Seminoles into field-goal range, and set up Xavier Beitia with a 43-yard attempt to win the game and shock the Canes. Though, we all know what happened. Wide Left, Miami 28 FSU 27.
3. 1994 vs Georgia Southern
You may be wondering why a 56-0 Miami victory over Georgia Southern is so high on this list. Shame on you if this is true. September 3rd, 1994, the day the Miami Hurricanes set a new NCAA record for consecutive home victories, winning their 58th straight game at the Orange Bowl. From 1985 to 1994, Miami won every single home game, won three titles during that span, and defeated four teams at the OB who were ranked number-one at the time.
2. 2000 vs FSU
I was very tempted to put this legendary game at number-one. This is the day that the Hurricanes really became “back” in my opinion at the start of the 2000’s. Miami hadn’t beat FSU since 1994, and Bobby Bowden’s top-ranked and defending champion Seminoles came into the OB feeling pretty confident.
Led by sophomore quarterback Ken Dorsey, the Canes jumped all over the Seminoles early and had a 17-0 lead going into halftime. However, FSU and their 44-year old QB Chris Weinke mounted a furious comeback, and took a 24-20 lead with just over a minute to play.
Little did we know however, the legend of Dorsey began on that final drive. Number-11 drove Miami down the field, and hit tight end Jeremey Shockey for the go-ahead touchdown. Then, Weinke again put the Noles into UM territory, though Matt Munyon’s 47-yard field goal sailed wide right. Final score: Miami-27 FSU-24.
- 1989 vs Notre Dame
You ask Hurricanes fans today who was at this game, and they’ll tell you this was the OB’s finest moment. Most will tell you that it’s the loudest they ever heard the stadium, and plus it was a revenge game against Notre Dame. It was also a win that put UM in a position to play for the National Championship.
Lou Holtz and his number-one ranked team came into Miami that night having won 23-straight games, they were defending national champs, and they had beaten UM 31-30 the year previous in a controversial matchup in South Bend.
Whether it’s Craig Erickson to Randal Hill on 3rd and 43, Bernard Clark’s interception, or Russell Maryland and Cortez Kennedy manhandling Tony Rice all night long, everyone has their favorite moment from the 27-10 victory.
Am I missing any games? What was your favorite game from the Orange Bowl?