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A quick history of the Hurricanes and HBCU opponents

The Mario Cristobal Era at Miami starts off with the ‘Canes hosting Bethune Cookman at Hard Rock Stadium in September.

Miami Introduces Mario Cristobal as Head Football Coach Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

The Miami Hurricanes will kickoff the Mario Cristobal Era on September 3rd, 2022 against the Bethune Cookman Wildcats at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL. Miami and BCU have played five times throughout their histories.

Most Power 5 FBS teams play an FCS (formerly I-AA) school at some point in the season. Some lead off with an FCS game, some play it (SEC) the week before rivalry week in November, and others will book it for Week 2 after a big game in Week 1 or Week 0.

FAMU shocks Schnelly

In 1979, the Miami Hurricanes were in year one of the Howard Schnellenberger Era. The ‘Canes won Schnelly’s season opener against Louisville, but lost to no. 14 Florida State on the road in Tallahassee, FL. The ‘Canes were 5-6 overall in ‘79, but did pull off wins against Boston College, Syracuse, no. 19 Penn State, and rival University of Florida in the Orange Bowl.

However, the ‘Canes dropped games to Notre Dame, no. 1 ranked Alabama, and FAMU... yes, the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Rattlers. In ‘78, FAMU won the Black National Championship (The Rattlers 2nd in a row), the SIAC title, and the I-AA (now FCS) National Championship over UMass.

In ‘79 the Rattlers finished 7-4 with one win coming against the Miami Hurricanes. FAMU knocked off The U by a final score of 16-13 in front of over 30,000 fans at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee.


FAMU beat up on Schnellenberger’s ‘Canes and starting QB Mike Rodrigue. In the end, the future MLB outfielder Vince Coleman kicked the game winning field goal for the Rattlers. Coleman went on a play for a number of MLB teams from 1985-1997, and stole 752 bases over his career.

Sure, future NFL Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly had yet to receive his first start for the ‘Canes, but the Rattlers proved that HBCU football could pull off an ‘upset’ none the less. As Art Kehoe said in an Orlando Sentinel article from before the ‘92 matchup, “He (Schnelly) admonished us, and we had intense practices all week. It (the loss) lasted with us for a long time. From what I heard, they (FAMU) were partying the whole weekend after they beat us. It was a monumental win.”

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 14 Bethune-Cookman at Miami Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After the upset

Over the years, FAMU and Miami have faced off 11 times, with the ‘Canes winning 10 of the 11. Miami also faced off against Bethune Cookman five times, with the ‘Canes winning all five. Savannah State has faced The U twice, with Miami winning both match-ups.

Miami went on to pound FAMU 49-0 a year later in 1980, and 38-0 in the ‘92 edition in a Hurricane Andrew relief game. In 2019, Miami beat up on BCU by the tune of 63-0. In 2018, Miami followed an embarrassing loss to LSU in Arlington, TX with a 77-0 steam rolling of Savannah State.

So what’s in it for an HBCU to play an ACC program that’s sure to destroy the Rattlers? Money. Per the Sentinel article, even in ‘92 FAMU made $165,000 on the game. In the 2020’s these games are often worth nearly a million dollars a piece.