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Greatest Games - Miami-Notre Dame, 1988

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 18, 2011


Miami's Greatest Games: Notre Dame 31 … Miami 30 October 15, 1988


CFN's Greatest Games

Notre Dame 31, Miami 30, 1988


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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Notre Dame 31 … Miami 30 October 15, 1988


The No. 1 ranked Hurricanes came into South Bend with the swagger of a defending national champion, and they were rolling with a thrilling comeback win over Michigan and blowouts over Florida State, Missouri, and Wisconsin by a combined score of 114 to 3.

The Canes had little trouble with the Irish over the previous years, winning 24-0 in 1987 and 58-7 in 1985, but this was a new Irish team with far more talent and far more confidence from the ones that were throttled in the Irish fan-named battle between the Catholics vs. the Convicts. Tempers and emotions were high between the two, with a brawl erupting in the tunnel before the game setting the tone for a nasty, hard-hitting classic.

The feisty Irish showed how charged up the players were and showed that they weren’t going to be intimidated in a back-and-fourth battle that was defined by two plays that ended up earning Notre Dame the national title.

Down 31-24, Steve Walsh, who finished the day with 424 yards and four scores, hit Cleveland Gary on a fourth and seven play on the Irish 11. Gary rumbled and dove into the end zone for an apparent touchdown, but he lost the football and Notre Dame recovered. The officials ruled it a fumble and not a score, even though TV replays made it look like the ball had crossed the goal line.

The Hurricanes would overcome the controversy as Walsh got another chance and moved the ball down the field with little trouble. With the drive stalled, Miami had to go for it on fourth down and with the unbeaten season on the line. Walsh came through, throwing an 11-yard touchdown pass to pull the Canes to within one point with 45 seconds to play. Head coach Jimmy Johnson could’ve decided to kick the extra point, and Miami probably would've gone on to win the national title, but that wasn’t going to happen.

The Canes were on the other end of the same situation the year before when Florida State went for two, and missed, instead of kicking the extra point in the final seconds of the 1987 classic.

"We play to win," reasoned Johnson after the game.

Miami's two-point attempt was denied when Notre Dame's Pat Terrell knocked down Walsh’s desperate try, and the Hurricane 36-game winning streak was over. Notre Dame went on to win the national championship, while Miami won its final seven games by a combined score of finished second.

This win catapulted Notre Dame back into a national power after finishing the 1987 season losing three straight games. The win over Miami was the sixth straight victory in a 23-game streak that was finally halted by the Canes on the last game of the 1989 regular season. The Hurricanes were extremely close to owning all the titles in the late 1980s, losing the national title game to Penn State at the end of the 1986 season, won the 1987 national championship, and came within the two-point conversion in this game of winning the whole thing again. Miami would rebound and won the 1989 national title.

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