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NCAA Football – 1988 – Orange Bowl – Oklahoma Sooners Vs Miami Hurricanes – 4th Qtr


The 1988 Orange Bowl featured “Game of the Century” type billing….as the undefeated and top-ranked Oklahoma Sooners faced off against undefeated and second-ranked Miami for the national championship….while adding to the hype was the recent on-field history between the teams…..for Oklahoma was a dominant force in college football….winning the national championship in 1985….and losing just one game in each of the preceding two years…..while Miami had proven to be the thorn in Oklahoma’s side….as the Sooners’ losses in ’85 and ’86 had both come at the hands of the Hurricanes. Now, with the national championship on the line….Miami sought to make it three-losses-in-three-years for Oklahoma….and also their first postseason bowl win under Jimmy Johnson after three straight bowl losses….in which they struggled and lost their chances to win two national championships. Further fuel for the fire was provided by the growing personal animosity between former Arkansas players in Miami head coach Jimmy Johnson and Oklahoma head coach Barry Switzer….so, added to the equation were two former Hog teammates….who each wanted nothing more than to kick their former teammate’s butt.  

Miami’s vaunted defense set the tone early by forcing the Sooners to punt on their first five possessions. Meanwhile, Miami QB Steve Walsh settled into a nice rhythm….and put the Canes on the board first with a 30-yard touchdown pass to fullback Melvin Bratton….who caught 9 passes for 102 yards for the game. Oklahoma got on the board with a 2nd quarter touchdown to tie things up….but Miami responded with 10 unanswered 3rd quarter points….coming on a 56-yard field goal by kicker Greg Cox….and a 23-yard TD pass from Walsh to WR Michael Irvin.

Oklahoma would add a  4th quarter touchdown to trim the score to 20-14….but Miami held on for the win and the national championship….as coach Jimmy Johnson received a Gatorade bath….which messed his trademark impeccably coiffed hair….and was carried off the field after having finally won “the big one” at Miami.

The Hurricane defense held Oklahoma to just 255 yards of offense, while Walsh’s efficient play (18 of 30, 209 yards, 2 TD’s) paced the Hurricane offense….as back-up middle linebacker Bernard “Tiger” Clark…. who was forced to start after starting LB George Mira Jr. was suspended for failing a drug test….was named the MVP of the Orange Bowl after recording 14 tackles (12 unassisted).

With the win, Miami completed its first ever undefeated season….while in winning their second national championship….the Canes once again had to go through the nation’s top-ranked team at the Orange Bowl….just as they had done in 1983.

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