Once again, we pick a player that Nebraska faced only a single time—but Warren Sapp certainly made an impression in the 1995 Orange Bowl.
The Miami defensive tackle was an All-American and won the Lombardi Award that goes to the best lineman nationally. He was the type of game-changing lineman that makes it so hard to be effective running the option.
The game had national championship implications for both programs. Nebraska was undefeated, and with only a single loss for Miami, the Hurricanes could win the national championship with a victory over the Cornhuskers and a Rose Bowl loss by Penn State.
Early in the game, Sapp’s presence was obvious. He made a number of plays early in the game and celebrated boisterously. Humility was not necessarily one of Sapp’s talents.
The Hurricanes forced a three and out on the Huskers’ opening possession, and after a Tommie Frazier interception, he sacked Brook Berringer on his first series.
As the game wore on, the Huskers continued to hang in the game, and the toll the Husker offensive line (which had a couple of All-Americans and an Outland winner) was taking on Miami was obvious. Sapp was famously seen with his hands on his hips, bending over to catch his breath, and sucking on oxygen trying to maintain his strength.
But as most every Nebraska fan knows, Tommie Frazier re-entered the game in the fourth quarter and marched the Huskers on two touchdown drives that would win the game.
After one play Sapp famously asked Frazier, “Where you been Tommie?” To which Tommie replied, “It’s not where I’ve been, fat boy, it’s where I’m going.”
Sapp still went on to become a high draft pick and have a storied NFL career. But the Huskers handed him and his Hurricanes their second home loss of the season, which was only the second home loss for Miami in ten years.
In the end, he was shamed both for failing to maintain what had been a strong Miami tradition of dominance in their home stadium, but also for his early-game antics, which seemed especially embarrassing when he ran out of gas.