Miami Football: 15 Most Memorable Plays in Hurricanes' History

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistMay 21, 2013

Miami Football: 15 Most Memorable Plays in Hurricanes' History

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    From the great to the not-so-good, the history of the Miami Hurricanes football program has had many memorable plays.

    Between Florida State's missed field goals, fantastic plays by the 'Canes and blown calls by the referees, being a Miami fan has certainly been a wild ride.

    Not everything must be a great memory, so feel free to cry along at times during a recap of 15 of the most memorable plays in Miami football history.

Honorable Mentions

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    - Randal Hill's gun-slinging celebration vs. Texas, 1991

    - Kellen Winslow Jr.'s one-handed catch on 4th-and-13 vs. West Virginia, 2003

    - Wide Right IV vs. Florida State, 2004

    - Devin Hester's ankle-breaking punt return vs. Louisville, 2004

    - Jon Beason flattenning Joel Klatt vs. Colorado, 2005

Kenny Calhoun's Swatted Pass vs. Nebraska, 1984

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    Miami led 31-24 with under a minute to play in the 1984 Orange Bowl before the Cornhuskers scored a touchdown to close the gap.

    Nebraska head coach Tom Osborne decided to go for two points and an outright national title. But the 'Canes Kenny Calhoun batted down the two-point conversion to give Miami the win.

    It was the first national championship in school history and the start of a powerhouse football program in the 1980's.

    Note: The play can be seen at 1:37.

Hail Flutie vs. Boston College, 1984

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    Into the sadness we go.

    Down four points with six seconds to go, Doug Flutie floated a desperation pass into the end zone. Somehow, some way, teammate Gerard Phelan came down with the ball for a 47-45 Boston College victory.

    There are no words. Just sadness.

Michael Irvin's Touchdown vs. Florida State, 1987

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    Tied at 19 with 2:32 on the clock, the Hurricanes needed a third-down conversion to keep a potential game-winning drive going.

    Instead of a simple first down, Michael Irvin took a Steve Walsh pass 73 yards for a touchdown and Miami's 23rd straight point.

    A missed two-point conversion by Florida State would give the 'Canes a thrilling 26-25 win.

    Miami would later win its second national title beating Oklahoma 20-14 in the Orange Bowl.

    Note: The play can be seen at 6:36.

Cleveland Gary Faux Conversion vs. Notre Dame, 1988

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    Down 31-24 in the fourth quarter, Miami's Cleveland Gary converted a 4th-and-7 from the 11-yard line but was stopped a yard shy of a touchdown.

    However, the referees ruled it was a turnover on downs—not a fumble—yet gave the ball to Notre Dame at its own one-yard line.

    Miami eventually lost the game 31-30.

    Note: The play can be seen at 2:38:12.

Randal Hill's 3rd-and-43 Conversion vs. Notre Dame, 1989

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    In one of the craziest plays in Miami history, Craig Erickson launched a pass to Randal Hill to convert a 3rd-and-43 vs. Notre Dame.

    After potentially being robbed of a game the year before, the 'Canes defeated the top-ranked Irish 27-10 on their way to the school's third national championship.

Robert Bailey KO vs. Texas, 1991

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    As seen in the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary, Miami defensive back Robert Bailey told teammate Randal Hill, "You know what, the very first play, I'm gonna go down there on kickoff and knock the person out who catches the ball."

    Bailey, in fact, destroyed Texas' Chris Samuels temporarily knocking him out of the game.

    This was also one of the more memorable games in Miami history. It was the final straw before the NCAA implemented the "Miami Rule."

    Well, 202 penalty yards later, that can happen.

    Note: The play can be seen at 1:22.

Wide Right I vs. Florida State, 1991

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    En route to Miami's fourth of five national titles, Florida State missed its first of five game-deciding field goals against the 'Canes.

    The Seminoles' Gerry Thomas shanked a 34-yarder to give the Hurricanes a 17-16 victory over top-ranked Florida State.

Wide Right II vs. Florida State, 1992

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    Just one year later FSU's Dan Mowery had a chance to tie the second-ranked Hurricanes at the Orange Bowl.

    But for the second year in a row, the 'Noles kicker pushed an attempt to the right and Miami won the rivalry game 19-16.

    The Hurricanes would eventually lose to Alabama in the national title game.

    Note: The play can be seen at 12:40.

Shockey's Catch, Wide Right III vs. Florida State, 2000

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    The year 2000 was Ken Dorsey's first season as the full-time starter and Jeremy Shockey made the young quarterback look great with a game-winning touchdown against Florida State.

    But, of course, the game was not complete without a missed FSU field goal. So Matt Munyon narrowly missed a game-tying 49-yard field goal as time expired.

    Note: Shockey's catch can be seen at 11:27, Wide Right III can be seen at 12:34.

Ed Reed's Steal vs. Boston College, 2001

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    Homerism aside, the 2001 Miami team was one of, if not the greatest college football squad ever.

    Up 12-7 with time running out, Boston College was deep in Miami territory looking to upset the undefeated Hurricanes.

    But between Mike Rumph's knee, Matt Walters' hands and Ed Reed's quick thinking, the 'Canes would survive the game on their way to the school's fifth national championship.

Wide Left I vs. Florida State, 2002

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    Florida State's clutch kicking again faltered. This time at the expense of Xavier Beitia.

    The Hurricanes extended their winning streak to 28 games with a 28-27 victory over the rival 'Noles after Beitia ripped his 43-yard attempt wide left.

    Well at least he didn't go wide right, eh, FSU?

Frank Gore Caps Comeback vs. Florida, 2003

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    The Florida Gators were running away with this game, they were up 33-10 in the third quarter. But Miami quarterback Brock Berlin—a UF transfer—led the 'Canes on a magnificent comeback.

    Capped by Frank Gore's 12-yard touchdown run, the Hurricanes scored 28 unanswered points and won the game 38-33.

    Note: The play can be seen at 8:14.

A Certain Late Call vs. Ohio State, 2003

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    Disclaimer: I'm sad, angry and bitter.

    If there's one play 'Canes fans will never get over, it's either Flutie's pass or Terry Porter's pass interference call in the 2003 BCS National Championship.

    But I won't debate the call itself. It's simply one of the most memorable plays in Miami history.

    A saddening, angering and embittering end to a dynasty.

Devin Hester's Punt Return vs. Duke, 2005

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    One of the most electric players in Miami history is Devin Hester. He caught a punt at his own 30-yard line against the Duke Blue Devils, and magic ensued.

    In true Hester fashion, he toyed with the Duke punt-coverage team as he broke six tackles, avoided approximately 138 defenders and scored a remarkable touchdown.

Duke Johnson Emerges vs. Boston College, 2012

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    Duke Johnson burst onto the college football scene in the 2012 season-opener against Boston College with a 54-yard touchdown run.

    The run was his first of 14 total touchdowns as a freshman. A season where he compiled the second-most all-purpose yards in Miami history.

    If it isn't technically memorable yet, it sure will be soon.