Top of the evening to ya, folks, and happy St. Patty’s day! To celebrate, we here at State of the U are going to continue with our #LetsBeJerks mentality and remember some of the Canes’ greatest moments against the Irish on the gridiron. While the annual series was shut down following the 1990 season, the series provided plenty of great moments for the orange and green.
5) Alonzo Highsmith and a stout defense trounce Irish in South Bend in 1984.
Notre Dame Stadium has not been a kind place for Miami. In fact, the Canes have only won there one time in their history, in 1984. But what an incredible game it was for one Alonzo Highsmith. The sophomore fullback was actually recruited by the Irish to play linebacker, but the lure of playing in Miami for Howard Schnellenberger and running through the smoke swayed him to UM. And on October 6, 1984, Highsmith made his mark on the series, scoring four touchdowns in leading Miami to a 31-13 win over the Irish. He ran for touchdowns of 1 and 2 yards, and caught passes for 3 and 1-yard touchdowns. Just as strong was the defense, who held Allen Pinkett and the Irish rushing game to only 53 rushing yards on 30 attempts. They allowed only 46 total yards by the Irish in the second half. Yo.
4) Canes irritate announcers by sending off Irish coach Gerry Faust with a 58-7 beating.
When we say #LetsBeJerks, it’s because we’re the OG of being jerks, and that was on full display on November 30, 1985. With former ND coach Ara Parseghian calling the game with Brent Musberger, Miami demolished the Irish 58-7 in the Orange Bowl in what would be coach Gerry Faust’s last game. It was brutal, it was intense, and it was the most lopsided game in the series’ history. There was even reportedly an Irish priest swearing at the Miami bench!!! And it was such a scene that even Musberger and Parseghian were crying for mercy towards the end.
“I think this is the time for Jimmy Johnson to run the ball and show some compassion,” Parseghian said during the broadcast. “This game is over.” That’s funny, Ara, since you had wins of 69-13, 64-0, 62-3, 58-8, 56-7 (twice), and 56-6. Pot, meet kettle.
3) Trajan Bandy takes it to the house!
We all know and love this one. Up 20-0 and with Notre Dame in Miami territory in the first half’s final seconds, Trajan Bandy picked off a misguided pass from Ian Book and ran it back to the house. The stadium shook, Bandy threw up the U, and Miami all but clinched their first win over the Irish since 1989. And – despite the faceplant Miami has taken since that game – the importance of the game still exists. It gave Miami a true home field advantage. I’d been waiting for it since 2008, and there had been big, exciting wins against Oklahoma, Ohio State, Florida, etc. since then, but it was that night against Notre Dame when Hard Rock Stadium became a legitimate monster of a venue and formidable home field advantage. And it was Bandy who really cemented the moment.
2) Canes convert 3rd and 43 in 27-10 win in 1989.
I remember watching this play in my cousin’s living room in Baton Rouge, LA in 1989. Probably one of my earliest football memories. I was 10 years old, and we were actively rooting for UM, for no other reason (at that time) than my folks hated Lou Holtz and the Irish. And, backed up against their own goal line facing 3rd and 43, Craig Erickson lofted a pass down the sideline and into the waiting arms of Randal Hill, who picked up 44 to midfield. He raised his arms, the crowd exulted, and everyone knew what was coming at that point.
1) Canes beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, edge Irish for title in 1989.
And as a result of Miami’s convincing win over the Irish in 1989, the Canes leapt from #7 to #2, where they would face off against #7 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Meanwhile, #4 Notre Dame would face #1 Colorado in the FedEx (doesn’t that sound good to say?) Orange Bowl. Notre Dame needed to beat the Buffaloes and likely get some help from Alabama. The Irish did their part, as they broke open a scoreless halftime affair on the way to a 21-6 win. But Bama couldn’t do their bidding. Miami pulled away in the second half behind Craig Erickson touchdown passes to Rob Chudzinski and Randy Bethel. While both Miami and Notre Dame made their public pitches to be champions, the Canes came out on top in the AP Poll with 38 first place votes and 1449 votes to second-place Notre Dame’s 19 and 1428. Miami finished ahead of Florida State and Notre Dame in the Coaches Poll with 36 first place votes to 7 and 6, respectively. Miami would go on to win two more titles, while Notre Dame remains without a title since 1988.