Daryl Dickey lead the Vols in a win over heavily favored Miami.
January 1, 1986
Tennessee came into this contest as a heavy underdog to No. 2 Miami. The Hurricanes entered the game with somewhat of a chip on their shoulders, believing they should be playing for a national championship rather than going up against the No. 8-ranked team in the country. As a result, the favored team showed little respect to their opponents prior to kickoff.
The Tennessee captains were ignored when they put out their hands for the traditional handshake at the coin toss.
"They just looked the other way," Chris White said.
Running back Jeff Powell snorted, "They were very cocky. I don't think they respected Tennessee. All this week, Coach (Jimmy) Johnson was talking about the Orange Bowl and who's going to win, and that they should be national champions because they beat Oklahoma. They should have paid attention to Tennessee."
On the game's opening drive, it appeared as if Miami would have their way with the Vols. After what looked like a defensive stand, Tennessee gave up 25 yards on a fake punt that put the Hurricanes in position to post the game's first score. Future NFL stars Vinny Testeverde and Michael Irvin connected on an 18-yard TD pass that put the top-ranked team ahead 7-0.
However, it would be all Vols from that point on. The capacity crowd, made up of mostly orange-clad Tennessee fans, frequently disrupted and frustrated the Miami offense while the Vols defense did the rest. That first possession would provide the 'Canes with their only points of the night.
Tennessee put up 14 points in the second quarter to take a lead into the locker room at halftime.
Once the break was over, the rout was on. Powell drove the final nail into Miami's coffin when he broke loose on a 60-yard run in the third period that put the Vols up by a commanding margin of 28-7. In the end, Tennessee won 35-7 and Miami's national championship hopes were dashed.
Although the 1999 Fiesta Bowl brought a national championship to Rocky Top, many Vols fans look back on this game as one of the most satisfying in the school's history due to the lack of respect afforded the team leading up to the event.
The Vols finished up with a 9-1-2 record and a No. 4 national ranking.