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Greatest Games - Penn State-Miami, 1987

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 18, 2011


Miami's Greatest Games: Penn State 14 … Miami 10 January 2, 1987 Fiesta Bowl




CFN's Greatest Games

Penn St 14, Miami 10, 1987 Fiesta


Miami's Greatest Games
- 1984: Miami 31, Nebraska 30 | CFN All-Time Miami Team
- 1989: Miami 27, Notre Dame 10 | 1993: Alabama 34, Miami 13
- 1987: Penn State 14, Miami 10 | 1986: Miami 28, Oklahoma 16
- 1988: Notre Dame 31, Miami 30 | 1984: BC 47, Miami 45
- 1984: Maryland 42, Miami 40 | 1991: Miami 17, Florida St 16
- 1987: Miami 26, Florida St 25 | 2003: Ohio St 31, Miami 24 2OT

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Penn State 14 … Miami 10 January 2, 1987 Fiesta Bowl

Quick, name the starting quarterback for the 1986 Penn State Nittany Lions?

You’ve heard of Vinny Testaverde. You’ve heard of Michael Irvin. You’ve heard of Jerome Brown.

Penn State certainly had its share of talent with good players like All-America running back D.J. Dozier, linebacker Shane Conlan, offensive tackle Tim Johnson, and defensive Tim Johnson, but they couldn’t compare to the unbelievable array of superstars on the Jimmy Johnson-led Hurricanes.

Penn State came into the Fiesta Bowl with a fearsome defense and an offense that was just efficient enough to get by, while top-ranked Miami came in swaggering, cocky, and ready to make a statement that it belonged among the best teams in college football history.

During a Fiesta Bowl week dinner that was supposed to be a fun, relaxing outing for both teams, the Hurricanes, led by Brown, came dressed in fatigues and ready to make some waves. He, along with a few other key players, led a walk out claiming to not wanting to break bread with the enemy. All that did was set the tone for a fierce game full of tremendous defensive performance.

From an offensive standpoint, the game itself, was rather dull until the final minute, but that was a testament to the great Penn State defense, intercepting the Heisman Trophy-winning Testaverde four times over the first 59 minutes.

Even though the Hurricanes were held to ten points, they still had a shot with Tesataverde marching the offense down the field for the possible winning score. After getting to the Penn State 13-yard line, Testaverde was picked off for a fifth and final time by Pete Giftopoulos to seal the huge upset victory.

Even with the loss, this might have been Miami’s greatest team of all-time and it was certainly among the most talented to ever take the field. This game put the tag on Johnson as being a coach who couldn’t win the really big game. Even though he had beaten Oklahoma in 1986, he also was the coach of the team that lost to the Doug Flutie Hail Mary, gave up the biggest comeback in college football history to Maryland, and then lost a shot at the national title by losing the 1986 Sugar Bowl to Tennessee. Even so, this game showed the importance of not being overconfident. A humbled and focused Miami reloaded the following season to win the national title with Steve Walsh at quarterback.

By the way, the Penn State quarterback was John Shaffer.

Miami's Greatest Games
- 1984: Miami 31, Nebraska 30 | CFN All-Time Miami Team
- 1989: Miami 27, Notre Dame 10 | 1993: Alabama 34, Miami 13
- 1987: Penn State 14, Miami 10 | 1986: Miami 28, Oklahoma 16
- 1988: Notre Dame 31, Miami 30 | 1984: BC 47, Miami 45
- 1984: Maryland 42, Miami 40 | 1991: Miami 17, Florida St 16
- 1987: Miami 26, Florida St 25 | 2003: Ohio St 31, Miami 24 2OT