The win by the Miami football team in the 2000 Gator Bowl over Georgia Tech set the foundation for the Hurricanes’ 2001 National Championship season. Miami defeated Georgia Tech and Heisman Trophy runner-up, quarterback Joe Hamilton 28-13 at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville.
Miami finished the 1999 season 8-4, 6-1 in the Big East, a game behind Virginia Tech. After beginning the season 2-0, Miami suffered three straight losses including to number three Penn State and top-ranked Florida State. The Hurricanes finished the 1999 season with wins in seven of their last eight games.
The Miami football team lost 43-10 at Virginia Tech which ended a three-game winning streak. Wins over Rutgers, Syracuse and Temple gave Miami positive momentum entering the Gator Bowl. Kenny Kelly and Ken Dorsey shared the snaps at quarterback in 1999. Kelly had about 60 percent of the pass attempts.
Miami entered the Gator Bowl with an 8-4 record and ranked 23rd nationally. Georgia Tech finished the regular season 8-3 and ranked 17th. The Yellow Jackets also lost to Florida State during the 1999 regular season. Georgia Tech ended the regular season with a 51–48 overtime win over 16th-ranked Georgia.
Dorsey completed seven passes in 15 attempts for 81 yards and a touchdown. Kelly was 9-17 for 127 yards, one TD and one interception. Four different Miami players scored TDs. Running back
opened the scoring in the second quarter with an eight-yard TD. Miami extended the lead later in the quarter.
Kelly threw a 15-yard TD pass to Andre King. After a 17-yard TD run by Hamilton, Clinton Portis had an electrifying 73-yard TD run. After two Georgia Tech field goals in the third quarter, Dorsey threw a 17-yard TD pass to Reggie Wayne to close the scoring. The Miami football program won its fourth straight bowl game.
Portis finished the game with 12 carries for 117 yards and, TD. Jackson had 21 for 107. Hamilton earned the Gator Bowl Most Valuable Player Award going Hamilton 20-40 245 yards and two interceptions with 22 carries for 49 yards and the TD. Miami linebacker Nate Webster was the 2000 Gator Bowl Defensive MVP.
Kelly led the Big East in TD passes as a redshirt sophomore in 1999. Dorsey started late in the season following an injury to Kelly. Miami head coach Butch Davis wanted the dual sport Kelly to focus on football over baseball. About a month after the Gator Bowl victory, Kelly chose to join the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Dorsey began the 2000 season as the Miami starting QB setting the base for college football history. Dorsey led Miami to an 11-1 season in 2000 before the Hurricanes finished 12-0 during the 2001 national championship campaign. Dorsey concluded his college career with a 34-2 record.