The unranked Hurricanes opened the 1983 season with a humiliating 28-3 loss to No. 7 Florida. Miami actually kicked a late field goal to avoid the shutout.
Miami rebounded with solid wins over Houston (29-7) and Purdue (35-0) behind freshman quarterback Bernie Kosar. In the fourth game of the season, Miami really started to believe and the nation took notice when the Hurricanes upset No. 15 Notre Dame 20-0.
The next week against Duke, Miami cracked the rankings for the first time at No. 15. The Hurricanes kept winning and continued to move up the polls. There was a big showdown with No. 12 West Virginia in the Orange Bowl, but Miami answered the call 20-3.
Miami had a big scare the next two weeks against East Carolina (12-7 win) and at Florida State (17-16 win). The Hurricanes finished the regular season 10-1 and ranked fifth.
Miami got to stay home and face No. 1 Nebraska in the Orange Bowl—a game the Cornhuskers were heavily favored to win. The Hurricanes jumped out to a 17-0 first quarter lead, but Nebraska cut that deficit to 17-14 by halftime.
The Canes didn’t back down and entered the fourth quarter with a 31-17 lead. Nebraska fought back and trailed 31-30 when Nebraska coach Tom Osborne chose to go for a two-point conversion and the win.
Miami stepped up big and denied Nebraska for a huge upset.
The Hurricanes were also helped when No. 2 Texas lost to Georgia earlier in the day in the Cotton Bowl, and No. 3 Auburn barely got by Michigan so the voters jumped the Hurricanes over the Tigers for the title.
Coach: Howard Schnellenberger
Last Game: Beat Nebraska 31-30 (Orange Bowl)