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UM's Top 10

The best moments in Hurricane history

By: Matthew Bunch // Editor-in-Chief

Issue date: 7/8/08 Section: Sports
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The University of Miami has a long and storied athletic tradition. Dating back to 1926, when the first football team defeated Rollins College 7-0, athletics have been intertwined with the identity of the university. Here are the top 10 moments in UM's sporting history.

10. The Streak - More of a collection of moments, "The Streak" was the 58-game home winning streak at the Orange Bowl. It begun against the Bearcats of Cincinnati on October 12, 1985, and it was ended by the Washington Huskies on September 24, 1994. It still stands as the longest winning streak in NCAA history.

9. The robbery in the desert - This isn't a pleasant memory for UM fans, but it was one of the greatest games of all time. The mighty Hurricanes, trying to repeat as national champions, squared off against the underdog Buckeyes of Ohio State.

A late and controversial pass interference call by back judge Terry Porter, in the first overtime, kept the Buckeyes alive. This allowed Ohio State to take the victory in the second overtime. Some Miami fans firmly believe that UM has six, not five, national championships, due to this game.

8. FSU's Field Goal Fiascos - Wide. It's definitely a four-letter word in Tallahassee.

Florida State and Miami have had many famous battles through the years, and more than a couple of them have ended with a familiar refrain: "Wide Right."

Gerry Thomas in 1991, Dan Mowrey in 1992, and Matt Munyon in 2000 all missed their kicks. Xavier Betia missed twice, although one was to the left. Every game had national championship implications. Every game came down to the last minute. And every game went Miami's way.

7. Morris's Magic - Ron Fraser was called "The Wizard" around Coral Gables, leading Miami to a national championship twice. But after the 1985 victory, it was a dry season at UM. Following Fraser's retirement in 1992, Jim Morris was brought in from Georgia Tech to take the helm.

After coming within one strike against LSU in 1996, he finally reached the Promise Land in 1999, with a 6-5 victory over Florida State.

It didn't take long to win again, as Miami again reached the top of the mountain, with a 12-1 victory over Stanford. This still holds as the largest victory in a College World Series final. Morris had cemented himself as a more than effective wizard's apprentice.

6. Miami reaches NCAA final - It had been over 20 years since UM reached the national finals in women's tennis. After a long rebuilding program by Paige Yaroshuk-Tews, it appeared that Miami could make a deep run in the NCAA tournament. But no one foresaw how far.

The 2006 Miami Hurricanes' women's tennis team advanced all the way to the NCAA finals, losing to powerhouse Stanford. Led by Audra Cohen, the country's No. 1 player, UM returned to the upper echelon of women's tennis.

5. Brock's revenge - A transfer student from the University of Florida, Brock Berlin's tenure at UM was checkered, but he will always be remembered for his remarkable comeback against the Gators.

Down 33-10 in the third quarter, it appeared UF would score their first victory over Miami in over a decade. Berlin began to hear boos from the crowd, as it appeared Miami's then-33 game regular season winning streak was about to end.

The criticism did not seem to affect Berlin, however, as he rallied Miami to 28 unanswered points. The 38-33 victory was the greatest comeback in Miami history.

4. Holy cow Holy Cross - It's a much lesser known Miami moment, but one of the most thrilling victories in college football history occurred on January 1, 1946.

The 'Canes were playing in the Orange Bowl against Holy Cross, in a very tight defensive battle, the score 6-6 with only seconds remaining. Holy Cross attempted a Hail Mary pass downfield. It was tipped into the waiting arms of Miami's Al Hudson.

Not content for a tie, Hudson began sprinting upfield. The former high school track star darted away from the Crusaders. The final gun sounded during the play, but Hudson maintained possession and took it all the way to the end zone. An extra point was converted, and the Hurricanes emerged victorious, 13-6.

3. The Team (2001) - The Hurricanes had fully recovered from the probation period of the mid-1990s. It seemed all but determined that Miami would win their fifth national championship.

With Ken Dorsey at quarterback and players like Clinton Portis, Ed Reed, Antrel Rolle, Jeremy Shockey and Vince Wilfork, they were stacked. There was a close call against Boston College, a game saved by an Ed Reed touchdown return, and Virginia Tech, but a perfect season was capped off by a 37-14 drubbing of Nebraska, that team they defeated 18 years earlier. The one for the thumb was theirs, 10 years after their last national championship.

2. The Phantom Pick-off - Before the football success, Miami had built a baseball powerhouse in Coral Gables. Miami reached the College World Series for the first time in 1974, and reached multiple times during the decade, but never broke through and won it.

It looked like it was another year of being the bridesmaid when Miami arrived in Omaha in 1982, going against the powerhouse Shockers of Wichita State. Trying to neutralize the threat, Coach Ron Fraser instituted an old trick.

Pitcher Mike Kasprazak threw over to try to pick off NCAA-record holder in stolen bases Phil Stephenson. First baseman Steve Lusby dove over Stephenson, losing the throw. Ball girls scrambled, players pointed towards the right field corner, and Stephenson jogged to second.

The only problem was the throw was never made. The tag was applied at second, the end of a giant, legal trick. The Wichita State threat was neutralized, base runners feared Miami for the rest of the series, and the Hurricanes captured their first national championship in a major sport.

1. The Miracle in Miami - It was a miracle for a reason. Tom Osborne's No. 1-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers averaged more points per game than their basketball team, and they were considered the best college football team of all time.

The University of Miami, on the other hand, had almost no football history to speak of. Almost removed during the mid-1970s, an unbelievable reconstruction occurred under coach Howard Schnellenberger. Still, most felt the No. 5-ranked Hurricanes had no chance.

A 17-point first quarter lead changed a lot of minds. The Cornhuskers did come back, and trailed 31-30 late in the fourth quarter.

So Osborne made the decision to avoid a tie and go for a two point conversion. Quarterback Turner Gill's throw went to the end zone, where it was grazed by Miami's Ken Calhoun. The ball landed in the back of the end zone, and Miami climbed to the top of the college football world. That win would spawn a dynasty the likes of which has never been seen.

Matthew Bunch may be contacted at m.bunch@umiami.edu.
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