48 Days to Miami football: Bubba McDowell All-American safety

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 3 (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 3 (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images) /

Bubba McDowell was part of the great legacy of safeties on the Miami football team from 1985-88.

Bubba McDowell was part of the great legacy at safety for the Miami football team playing under Jimmy Johnson from 1985-88. McDowell started for the Hurricanes when they lost in the National Championship game in the 1987 Fiesta Bowl and won the 1988 Orange Bowl resulting in the 1987 National Championship.

In McDowell’s final season with the Hurricanes, only a loss at Notre Dame prevented a National Championship in 1988. In four seasons with Miami, McDowell won 46 games and lost four. The Hurricanes became a National Power under Johnson and were a dynasty with four National Titles between 1983 and 1991.

The Miami defense improved with McDowell in the lineup. Miami finished 27th nationally allowing 16.2 points per game during his freshman season in 1985. As a fulltime player beginning as a sophomore, Miami finished in the top four nationally in points allowed in McDowell’s final three seasons.

The Hurricanes allowed 12.5 PPG to finish fourth nationally in 1986, 10.4 PPG a won the National Championship in 1987 and second allowing 9.7 PPG in an 11-1 season during McDowell’s season year in 1988. In the final three seasons under Johnson Miami was known for its pro-style offense.

The Miami defense dominated opponents with speed and McDowell was a huge part of that. McDowell finished his Miami career with four interceptions including one for a touchdown and added a punt return TD during his Hurricanes career. Following his Miami career, McDowell was a third-round pick of the Houston Oilers.

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Houston chose McDowell with the 77th pick overall in the 1989 NFL Draft. McDowell spent six seasons in Houston and was on the inaugural team of the Carolina Panthers in 1995. Following his playing career, McDowell has been a long time coach. McDowell is entering his 10th season coaching cornerbacks at Prairie View A&M.