Miami football five best New Year’s Day bowl victories

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 13 (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - APRIL 13 (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /
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1990 Sugar Bowl Miami 33 Alabama 25

Miami finished 10-1 in the regular season in their first year under Dennis Erickson. The Hurricanes had to win after a midseason loss at Florida State. In that era, bowl matchups were often determined before the end of the regular season. The Orange Bowl wanted a one versus two matchup between Colorado and Notre Dame.

Miami defeated Notre Dame 27-10 in the final game of the regular season at the Orange Bowl. The victory over the Fighting Irish moved Miami up in the polls after being number seven defeating top-ranked Notre Dame. Miami entered the Sugar Bowl ranked second playing in front of a partisan Crimson Tide crowd.

When Notre Dame defeated number one Colorado 21-6 in the Orange Bowl it opened up a chance for the Miami football program to win the national championship. Behind Sugar Bowl MVP Craig Erickson the Hurricanes earned a 33-25 victory. Erickson was 17-27 for 250 yards with three TDs and one interception.

Miami outgained Alabama 477 to 252 in a game that should not have been as close as the final score. The Hurricanes had 227 yards rushing with Leonard Conley and Stephen McGuire both running for over 80 yards. Erickson threw a 12 yard TD pass to TE Randy Bethel that gave Miami a 33-17 lead in the fourth quarter.

That was the cushion the Hurricanes needed. The Miami football team allowed an Alabama TD with under three minutes remaining and held on from there. Miami was voted the consensus national champions when the polls came out in Erickson’s first season. It was the third national title for Miami in seven seasons.