Miami Hurricanes on both sides of top 10 CFB most controversial games

DURHAM, NC - OCTOBER 31 (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
DURHAM, NC - OCTOBER 31 (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

Since winning their first National Championship in 1983 the Miami Hurricanes have been one of the most controversial programs in college football. The fact two Miami games were ranked among “Ten of college football’s most controversial games since 2000.” by 247Sports.Com is not surprising.

Any listing of the most controversial games in college football history will include the 2002 BCS National Championship Game. In this space, it is not necessary to extensively discuss the outcome of Miami against Ohio State. The Hurricanes should have won their second national championship in a row against the Buckeyes.

Miami wound up on the wrong side of the outcome against Ohio State. Miami defeated Duke in 2015 in a game that was reminiscent of a 1982 California victory over Stanford. The victory by the Bears in the big game became famous for five laterals following a kickoff after the Cardinal appeared to win the game.

The Miami Hurricanes used eight laterals after Duke quarterback Daniel Jones appeared to win the game for the Blue Devils on Halloween night in 2015. The games against Duke and Ohio State are two of the most memorable in Miami and college football history. A summary of each of their top games was written up by 247 Sports.

"MIAMI VS. OHIO STATE, 2002 BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPWhile there’s no way to know — at least by definition — if officials truly got the infamous pass interference call right or wrong, many will label the…2002 BCS National Championship Game between Ohio State and Miami as perhaps the most controversial ending in the sport’s history given what was at stake.With the Hurricanes looking to become just the third repeat national champion in a span of 35 years and Ohio State seeking its first title in more than three decades, the clash at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona would need multiple overtimes to be settled, though Miami fans will argue a second overtime should never have been needed.With OSU trailing 24-17 in the first OT and needing a touchdown on 4th and 3 to force a second overtime, The U appeared to have pulled off the repeat when Craig Krenzel’s pass attempt fell incomplete.But it wasn’t to be. The Big 12 officiating crew — specifically, field judge Terry Porter — would throw a late and now-infamous pass interference a flag against Hurricanes defensive back Glenn Sharpe, killing an already-started celebration among the Miami faithful and giving the Buckeyes new life.OSU would go on to tie the game via a third-down touchdown, and Maurice Clarett’s double-overtime score would ultimately settle it as Jim Tressel and Co. seemingly snatched the BCS Trophy out of the Hurricane’s hands."

Miami was never the same after the 2002 BCS Championship Game. The Hurricanes finished 11-2 in 2003 and did not win 10 games again until finishing 10-3 in 2017. That was the only 10 win season for Miami in the last 16 seasons. A 10 win season in 2021 is within reach for Miami with 19 starters returning.

"MIAMI AT DUKE, 2015“While the big-picture ramifications from this game might not have been as heavy as other contests on this list, we’d be remiss to not have Miami at Duke on here sheerly based on how improbable the ending was … thanks to a blatantly missed call by ACC officials.With the Hurricanes’ 24-12 lead evaporated allowing two touchdowns to the Blue Devils in a span of 2:34 — the second coming with six seconds left — Miami knew desperate measures would have to be taken on the ensuing kickoff return if the team was to somehow walk out of Durham with a victory.In a play that would make the 1982 Cal Golden Bears proud, the Hurricanes’ desperation turned into elation after a stunning 8-lateral play resulted in a walk-off touchdown, though not after the play was initially called back before being reviewed and then confirmed.The only problem: A Miami runner was indeed down during the play, as the ACC later confirmed, on top of the officials missing an illegal block in the back and a Hurricanes player illegally entering the play from the sidelines.The day after the game, the ACC announced that the on-field officiating crew, the replay official and the communicator were all suspended for their miscues that ultimately gave Miami the win and marked the start of a four-game skid for the Blue Devils.”"

The victory at Duke is the most improbable in Miami Hurricanes history. The game came one week after Miami lost 58-0 at home to Clemson. Miami was playing their first game under interim head coach Larry Scott. The Al Golden era ended when he was fired following the loss to Clemson.

The Miami Hurricanes were also playing with heavy hearts in Durham following the death of senior cornerback Artie Burns‘ mom during the week. Miami also had to deal with the adversity of being called for two pass interference penalties against them on the go-ahead drive for Duke. Those plays are frequently left out.

The Miami Hurricanes did not show any quit on the last play. Miami won four of their last five regular-season games under Scott. Miami finished the season with a 20-14 loss to Washington State in the Sun Bowl that was ironically played in a snow storm. Miami lost its eighth straight bowl game to the Cougars.

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A year later Miami finally ended their bowl streak with a 31-14 victory over West Virginia in the Camping World Bowl. The Hurricanes have since lost their last four bowl games. Miami will aim for a new bowl streak in 2021. Miami had a few thrilling victories last season. None of them were controversial like the two games above.