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OU-Miami: The battle resumes

It's been 20 years since football powers OU, Miami last met

01:46 AM CDT on Friday, September 7, 2007

By BRANDON GEORGE / The Dallas Morning News

Former Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer said the Sooners' history against the Miami Hurricanes doesn't constitute a rivalry.

It's not like playing Texas or Oklahoma State each year, Switzer said.

In fact, it's been 20 seasons since OU last played Miami. Most players on this year's teams weren't born or were still in diapers on New Year's Day 1988, when No. 2 Miami beat No. 1 Oklahoma, 20-14, in the Orange Bowl to win the national title.


Blog: Colleges

Miami at No. 5 Oklahoma
11 a.m. Sat. (Ch. 8)
KKGM-AM 1630, KFCD-AM 990

Game preview

Survey: Saturday's result?

SportsDay picks

Schedule: Miami | OU

Statistics: Miami | OU

More: OU | Colleges

The No. 5 Sooners (1-0) will renew the series by hosting the Hurricanes (1-0) at 11 a.m. Saturday.

"It is a new team, new generation, new start and fresh faces," said Miami first-year coach Randy Shannon, who started at linebacker on the Hurricanes' 1987 team. "It's not Barry Switzer and Jimmy Johnson."

Oklahoma and Miami have met five times with the Hurricanes having won the last three – OU's only three losses in going 33-3 from 1985 to 1987.

Though he wouldn't call it a rivalry, Switzer did say the series is important to Oklahoma fans.

"It means something," Switzer said, "because we didn't beat them in the '80s."

The game: 1988 Orange Bowl

Miami's speedy defense shut down Oklahoma's wishbone offense, and the team's duo of quarterback Steve Walsh and wide receiver Michael Irvin led the Hurricanes to a 20-14 victory in the 1988 Orange Bowl.

Coach Barry Switzer's Sooners entered the game No. 1 and with the nation's top-ranked offense. Led by quarterback Charles Thompson, it averaged 428.8 yards per game. Coach Jimmy Johnson's Hurricanes, No. 2 coming into the game, limited OU to 255 yards (179 rushing). OU never led.

"Their defense was dominant. It was hard for us," Switzer said. "It wasn't the wishbone. I don't care what type of offense you were running, they shut it down."

The game was tied at halftime, 7-7. Miami controlled the second half, however, and sealed the win with 10 third-quarter points.

Walsh finished 18-of-30 for 209 yards and two touchdowns. Miami fullback Melvin Bratton had nine catches for 102 yards and a touchdown, and kicker Greg Cox made field goals from 56 and 48 yards.

Oklahoma's late touchdown in the fourth quarter came on a trick play – a 29-yard run by All-America guard Mark Hutson on a fumblerooski.

Miami middle linebacker Bernard Clark was named the game's MVP. He had 14 tackles (12 unassisted).

The play: Miami WR Michael Irvin vs. OU safety Rickey Dixon

The play that secured the Hurricanes' national title win was surrounded by controversy.

It involved the ever-flamboyant Michael Irvin, the Miami wide receiver who went on to a Hall of Fame career with the Cowboys, and Oklahoma All-America safety Rickey Dixon, the fifth overall pick by Cincinnati in the 1988 NFL Draft.

On third-and-10, Irvin was one-on-one with Dixon on the left side. Irvin pushed Dixon to the inside and then broke outside to catch the 23-yard touchdown pass, putting Miami ahead, 17-7. When pushed, Dixon threw his arms in exasperation toward an official to no avail.

"He definitely pushed me," Dixon said this week. "It's the same thing he did in the pros for years. It's amazing a game that big went down to that play."

Dixon said he made a mistake by playing Irvin to the inside.

"As I studied the game more after I went to the pros," Dixon said, "I should have been to the outside because we had a safety in the middle of the field."

Irvin, who could not be reached for comment this week, said after the game: "The only one who can cover me one-on-one is my jersey."

Former Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer laughed when reminded of Irvin's quote.

"Michael learned when he was a baby how to push off," Switzer said. ... When you have 16 brothers and sisters, you have to do a lot of stiff-arming just at the dinner table."

The legacy: 25 players selected in 1988 NFL Draft

The 1988 Orange Bowl may have featured more talent than any game in college football history.

In the 1988 NFL Draft alone, 13 Oklahoma players were selected and 12 Miami players were taken. Both are school records.

The two teams combined for four first-round and four second-round draft picks.

"Those games against Miami in the mid-'80s, they were the only games that I look back on now that reminds me of what it was like playing in the NFL," former OU safety Rickey Dixon said. "You were exhausted and sore afterward."

The coaches were no slouches themselves.

Miami's Jimmy Johnson would win two Super Bowls with the Cowboys, and Barry Switzer, his successor, would win one. Johnson and Switzer remain the only two coaches to ever win a national title and a Super Bowl.

"Back then, Oklahoma and Miami were a notch above everybody else," Switzer said. "It wasn't even close. Those three Miami teams in '85, '86 and '87 should have won three national championships. They were that good."

Oklahoma 0 7 0 7 14
Miami 7 0 10 3 20


MIA–Bratton 30 yd pass from Walsh (Cox kick), 11:32


OU–Stafford 1 yd run (Lashar kick), 0:09.


MIA–Cox 56 yd FG, 8:52.

MIA–Irvin 23 yd pass from Walsh (Cox kick), 2:37


MIA–Cox 48 yd FG, 3:41

OU–Hutson 29 yd run (Lashar kick), 2:05


Statistics MIA OU
First downs 15 13
Rushes-yards 38-72 53-179
Passing 209 76
Comp-Att.-Int. 30-18-1 13-5-0
Fumbles-lost 0-0 4-2
Penalties 8-85 5-39
Possession 32:08 37:52


RUSHING–Miami, W. Williams 19-41; Bratton 8-18; Gary 4-17; Conley 3-2; Walsh 4-(-6), Oklahoma, Collins 10-50; Carr 16-38; Stafford 8-33; Thompson 19-29; Hutson 1-29

PASSING–Miami, Walsh 18-30-1-209. Oklahoma, Thompson 4-12-0-56; Collins 1-1-0-20.

RECEIVING–Miami, Bratton 9-102; Irvin 4-57; Br. Blades 2-26; Roberts 1-9; Perriman 1-9; Gary 1-6. Oklahoma, Jackson 3-45; Collins 1-20; Guess 1-11.

Name Pos. NFL team Round Pick No.
Rickey Dixon DB Cincinnati 1st 5th
Keith Jackson TE Philadelphia 1st 13th
Dante Jones LB Chicago 2nd 51st
Mark Hutson G Dallas 3rd 67th
Greg Johnson T Miami 4th 99th
Lydell Carr RB New Orleans 4th 106th
Darrell Reed LB Green Bay 5th 116th
Troy Johnson LB Chicago 5th 133rd
Jon Phillips G Phoenix 6th 148th
Derrick White DB Minnesota 6th 164th
Derrick Crudup DB L.A. Raiders 7th 171st
Caesar Rentie T Chicago 7th 189th
Patrick Collins RB Green Bay 8th 200th

Name Pos. NFL team Round Pick No.
Bennie Blades DB Detroit 1st 3rd
Michael Irvin WR Dallas 1st 11th
Dan Stubbs DE San Francisco 2nd 33rd
Brian Blades WR Seattle 2nd 49th
Brett Perriman WR New Orleans 2nd 52nd
Matt Patchan OT Philadelphia 3rd 64th
Darrell Fullington DB Minnesota 5th 124th
Melvin Bratton RB Miami 6th 150th
Warren Williams RB Pittsburgh 6th 155th
Alfredo Roberts TE Kansas City 8th 197th
Derwin Jones DE Seattle 10th 269th
George Mira Jr. LB San Francisco 12th 331st

Season Result Comment
1973 OU won, 24-20 Sooners' finished 10-0-1 in Switzer's first year
1975 OU won, 20-17 Sooners went 11-1 and won national title
1985 Miami won, 27-14 OU went on to win national championship
1986 Miami won, 28-16 Only loss for Sooners that season
1987 Miami won, 20-14 OU's only loss that season gave Miami national title
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