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1983 Miami info


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In what many called the most exciting college football game ever played, Miami ended a storybook climb to the national championship by dealing Nebraska a thrilling 31-30 defeat.

The Cornhuskers opened the 50th edition of the Orange Bowl Classic with an 11-0 record and were heavy favorites. They marched down the field with the opening possession only to have a blocked field goal snuff out a scoring threat. UM quarterback Bernie Kosar, who earned MVP honors by tossing for a record 300 yards, started the night off in dramatic fashion. He hit Stanley Shakespeare off UM’s first snap from center and five plays later found Glenn Dennison in the end zone for a one-yard score.

An NBC-TV audience and the entire nation was shocked when the first quarter ended with the Hurricanes ahead of the country’s No. 1-ranked team by a 17-0 count. Jeff Davis’ 45-yard field goal had increased UM’s lead to 10-0 before an unsung hero emerged on the defense for Miami. Linebacker Jack Fernandez, filling in for the injured Ken Sisk, picked off a Husker pass, and that set up another Kosar to Dennison TD strike. Fernandez was named Defensive MVP as the Hurricane contingent contained a Nebraska offense that had set numerous NCAA records.

The second period was all Nebraska, and as the half ended 17-14 Miami, it looked as though momentum had shifted. But the Hurricanes emerged from the locker room and again jolted their opponent with a furious burst of offense.

After a field goal tied the score at 17, UM drove for a pair of touch-downs with Kosar hitting speedy Ed Brown for huge chunks of yardage. Freshman tailback Alonzo Highsmith did the honors from theone yard line for the first tally, then Albert Bentley added a two-yard scoring run.

Nebraska came back with a TD late in the third stanza to narrow the margin to 31-24. An errant Davis FG attempt gave the Huskers the ball back with just a few minutes remaining and NU’s offensive juggernaut put the ball in the endzone with :48 showing on the clock.

In a decision that most would hail as the true method of establishing anational champion, Nebraska coach Tom Osborne lined up his team for a two-point conversion attempt. The ball was placed on the left hash mark. Turner Gill rolled right and, under pressure from a tremendous rush, lofted a pass toward Smith. But UM strong safety KenCalhoun batted the pass away to seal the Miami win.

Following the game, Miami quarterback Bernie Kosar said, “I don’t know what the polls will say, but in my heart we’re number one.” The polls agreed with the QB and the Hurricanes were voted the best teamin the country.

Season recap

Less than a decade removed from a period of uncertainty in which there was open talk of dropping the football program, the University of Miami Hurricanes stunned the college football world by defeating the topranked Nebraska Cornhuskers, 31-30, in the 1984 Orange Bowl Classic on January 1, 1984.

The victory was monumental - for UM football and for college football in general. Monumental not only because the Cornhuskers were widely considered to be among the most powerful teams in college football history, but also it heralded the dawn of a new dynasty in the sport from a program that had been all but dead just a few short years earlier. That victory - combined with losses by second-ranked Texas in the Cotton Bowl and Illinois in the Rose Bowl - vaulted the Hurricanes into the top spot in the final national rankings.

“It’s unlikely that any team in the history of college football ever got higher for a game than Miami did for Nebraska,” wrote John Underwood of Sports Illustrated. “And if you missed Monday night’s game, you missed an emergence … Down went Nebraska’s 22-game winning streak, and up went the burgee of a team that may well be the next great name in the game.”

This was the first national title team without a single player making an All-America first team voted by AP, UPI, the Football Writers Association or the College Football Coaches Association.

One of the keys was a melting pot offensive line - a Canadian (center Ian Sinclair), a Cuban-American (guard Juan Comendeiro), an African- American (guard Alvin Ward), an Italian-American (tackle Paul Bertucelli) and an Irish-American (tackle Dave Heffernan). Miami was only the second national title team to gain more passing yards than rushing yards.

“It’s a tribute to a lot of gutty players and a real team effort,” said head coach Howard Schnellenberger. “We’ve got a lot of overachievers on our team - or else there has been a poor job of selection done by the All-American selectors.”



            MIAMI 1983 (11-1-0)
Date  Rank  Opponent              W-L  Score
09/03       at (7) Florida          L   3-28
09/10       at Houston            W    29- 7
09/17       Purdue                W    35- 0
09/24       (13) Notre Dame       W    20- 0
10/01  15   at Duke               W    56-17
10/08  12   Louisville            W    42-14
10/15  10   at Mississippi State  W    31- 7
10/22   8   at Cincinnati         W    17- 7
10/29   7   (12) West Virginia    W    20- 3
11/05   5   East Carolina         W    12- 7
11/12   6   at Florida State      W    17-16
01/02   5   vs. (1) Nebraska*     W    31-30
*Orange Bowl Classic, Miami

WR - Eddie Brown, OT - Paul Bertucelli, OG - Juan Comendeiro, C -
Ian Sinclair, OG - Alvin Ward, OT - Dave Heffernan, TE - Glenn
Dennison, QB - Bernie Kosar, FB - Albert Bentley, HB - Keith Griffin,
WR - Stanley Shakespeare

DE - Danny Brown, RT - Kevin Fagan, MG - Tony Fitzpatrick, LT - Fred
Robinson, DE - Julio Cortes, LB - Jay Brophy, LB - Ken Sisk, SC -
Rodney Bellinger, QC - Reggie Sutton, R - Kenny Calhoun, FS - Eddie

PK - Jeff Davis, P - Rick Tuten, LS - Bruce Fleming, HOL - Rick Tuten,
PR - Eddie Brown, KOR - Reggie Sutton

Head Coach: Howard Schnellenberger
Assistant Coaches: Hubbard Alexander, tight ends; Harold Allen,
defensive line; Mike Archer, defensive backs; Joe Brodsky, running
backs; Tom Olivadotti, defensive coordinator/linebackers; Mike
Rodriguez, offensive line; Gary Stevens, offensive coordinator/
receivers; Marc Trestman, quarterbacks; Bill Trout, defensive ends;
Christ Vagotis, offensive line; Art Kehoe, graduate assistant.

1983 STATISTICAL LEADERS Rushing Att. Yards Avg. TD LP Bentley 144 722 5.0 5 60 Griffin 101 447 4.4 0 20 Passing A-C-I Yards Pct. TD LP Kosar 327-201-13 2329 61.5 15 73 Receiving No. Yards Avg. TD LP Dennison 54 594 11.0 3 25