This Week in Caneball (Sept. 13 - Sept. 19)

This Week in Caneball (Sept. 13 - Sept. 19)

Canes Legacy
Each week we're going to highlight a big game from Cane history that took place during the days of each "game week." Our first installment is from 1988, and is generally considered one of the best comebacks in the history of Hurricane football. Check the video at the bottom of the article for the visuals and smooth sounds of Keith Jackson.

September 17, 1988- #1 Miami at #15 Michigan

The Setup:

The Canes rolled into 1988 riding high off of their second national championship and sporting a host of impressive win streaks. They had won 13 overall games (and 33 regular season games) in a row, and hadn’t lost a road contest in over four years (fittingly, to Michigan), which was a span of 19 games. The only major issue? They had lost an All American team worth of talent to the NFL, including Bennie Blades, Michael Irvin, Danny Stubbs, Melvin Bratton, and George Mira, Jr. Overall, twelve of 22 starters on the championship team were gone, along with a handful of other key contributors.

UM opened the season against Florida State, who had started the year with the top ranking in the country after many expected UM’s losses would lead to a regression. Instead, Miami thumped FSU 31-0 in a game that Bobby Bowden described as getting “ whipped every way you can think of.” Steve Walsh was solid as usual and spread the ball around to some of his new weapons, including soon to be star TE Rob Chudzinski. Meanwhile, the defense locked down FSU, holding Sammie Smith to six yards on ten carries just one year after he rocked UM for 189.

Meanwhile, Michigan was 0-1, coming off their second straight loss to rival Notre Dame and facing their first 0-2 start since 1959. The legendary Bo Schembechler was nearing the end of his two decade run as the head man in Ann Arbor, and was seeking one more run at an elusive national title. The Wolverines knew one more loss likely meant another year without a title for Coach Bo.

The Story:

Michigan came out the gates firing and stunned a Miami team who was trying to find playmakers after the loss of their top three receivers, top two backs, and top two tight ends from the year before. The Canes were plagued with drops, including two that bounced into the hands of Michigan defenders.

With 7½ minutes left in the game, Miami trailed 30-14 and the Wolverines were already planning their afterparties on campus. After that, Jimmy Johnson and OC Gary Stevens turned Steve Walsh loose, calling 18 pass plays in a row while he started marching the ball downfield. A 25 yard bullet up the seam opened up UM’s come back attempt, as Dale Dawkins shook the corner free with ease. Walsh connected on a few more in a row to Andre Brown and the rest of his supporting cast to get Miami in the Red Zone in short order, capping the drive with 5:23 to play on a 3rd down toss to Rob Chudzinski. Dale Dawkins added a 2 pt conversion to pull Miami within eight, 30-22.

Michigan just missed on a third down pass towards the sideline and punted it back to UM with 3:45 to play. After a catch by Chud and two incompletions to start the drive, Steve Walsh’s patience showed itself as he hung in the pocket on a 4th and 2 before delivering a strike to a crossing Cleveland Gary who took it 48 yards to the house. Now 30-28 Michigan, the Canes two point attempt was thwarted by a tough Wolverine secondary who had the Cane wideouts blanketed.

Despite having three minutes and all three time outs left, Jimmy Johnson took a risk and called for the onside kick. Even Michigan didn’t believe they were going to follow through with putting the game in the hands of the young kicker Carlos Huerta, as they left their normal return team on the field. After a perfect second bounce, Cane safety Bobby Harden snatched the ball out of the air, giving Miami possession with three minutes left at the Michigan 47 yard line.

A big throw to Andre Brown on the sideline and a well timed delayed hand off to Cleveland Gary quickly moved the ball to the 16 yard line. Three straight carries to the middle of the Michigan defense was another sign of Jimmy’s confidence in Huerta, the redshirt freshman walk on from Columbus HS, who knocked the 29 yard eventual game winner straight through with 43 seconds left.

After the game, Coach Johnson put it bluntly: “With 105,000 people screaming at you . . . it’s difficult to come back like we did.”


The Studs:

Steve Walsh- After a slow start and being the victim of drops that certainly wouldn’t have happened the year before with Irvin, Perriman, and Blades at receiver, Walsh’s leadership shined through. After reminding his guys that they had similarly come back the year prior against FSU, he took over the offense. He threw for over 150 yards in the last seven minutes, and finished up with 335 yards and 3 TDs in the win.

Rob Chudzinksi- The sophomore tight end was tasked with replacing both Charles Henry and Alfredo Roberts from the ‘87 title team, and he responded all season. During that closing burst by UM in this game, Chud caught four of Steve Walsh’s eleven completions, including the first TD.

Carlos Huerta- Take your pick about which of the two big kicks was more impressive: the perfectly placed onside kick or the 29 yarder to ice the game and maintain Miami’s double digit game win streak.

Cleveland Gary- When most people think about Gary in ‘88 they think of another game, but he was tremendous throughout the entire season as a runner (led in yards) and receiver (led in catches). In this one, his 48 yard catch and run TD showcased the skills that made him the go-to-guy for Miami’s offense.

 

Comments (21)

I remember when Michigan went up 30-14 ( I believe it was Chris Calloway on a corner post) that Keith Jackson basically called it a ball game. Then Walsh did his thing. A season after the comeback at Doak.

and hey, up-tempo worked back then too!!
 
I went to HS with Chud at Toledo St John’s. I was a sophomore at Ohio U. I had started following Miami - not fanatically, but they were in the national spotlight and one of my boys was starting to get some PT. He got us a bunch of us tickets for the game and I humped up to Toledo and went to Ann Arbor (50 minutes away). I left that game a Hurricanes fanatic. Lost my mind at the game (which was my first college football game), and it happened to be a coming out party for him. Ended up moving to Miami for law school and never left South Florida. I’ll never forget that game.
 
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Probably my favorite game of all time, behind the '83 Orange Bowl.
And credit to Jimmy for keeping the team focused in the final minutes.
That was a hungry bunch of guys.
 
88 was my first coherent year as a 7 year old Cane. Then 89 happened and it was lights.

Honestly, from around 83 to about 94 ('the Decade of Dominance'- as they called it in the video that was put out) was Camelot for Canes football. So many memorable games (both wins and losses) and some incredible personalities.

I really think that Jimmy Johnson had absolutely mastered the college game and recruiting -- he really started casting his net nationally -- and if there was a coach I wish would've stayed a decade-plus it was him

But there truly was a mystique to Miami football back then.
 
Honestly, from around 83 to about 94 ('the Decade of Dominance'- as they called it in the video that was put out) was Camelot for Canes football. So many memorable games (both wins and losses) and some incredible personalities.

I really think that Jimmy Johnson had absolutely mastered the college game and recruiting -- he really started casting his net nationally -- and if there was a coach I wish would've stayed a decade-plus it was him

But there truly was a mystique to Miami football back then.
captivating, well said!!
 
This story is insane and a great write-up.

I had just moved to Florida and was five when this game took place. Nothing to do with this game, but I was instantly a 'Canes fan as soon as I had any realization that college football was a thing.

Might have to give this one a watch.
There’s a couple versions of the full game on YouTube, but the ESPN Classic one looks the best. Just cuts out some parts.
 
Honestly, from around 83 to about 94 ('the Decade of Dominance'- as they called it in the video that was put out) was Camelot for Canes football. So many memorable games (both wins and losses) and some incredible personalities.

I really think that Jimmy Johnson had absolutely mastered the college game and recruiting -- he really started casting his net nationally -- and if there was a coach I wish would've stayed a decade-plus it was him

But there truly was a mystique to Miami football back then.

People talk about what if Butch had stayed.

Well, Butch didn't go to the NFL and win two rings. If Jimmy stayed, even until the early 00's, we'd probably be sitting on ten national titles right now.
 
I went to HS with Chud at Toledo St John’s. I was a freshman at Ohio U. I had started following Miami - not fanatically, but they were in the national spotlight and one of my boys was starting to get some PT. He got us a bunch of us tickets for the game and I humped up to Toledo and went to Ann Arbor (50 minutes away). I left that game a Hurricanes fanatic. Lost my mind at the game (which was my first college football game), and it happened to be a coming out party for him. Ended up moving to Miami for law school and never left South Florida. I’ll never forget that game.
I love when people have and share personal stories attached to the games we are talking about. Always rewarding to see fans getting a chance to reminisce.
 
People talk about what if Butch had stayed.

Well, Butch didn't go to the NFL and win two rings. If Jimmy stayed, even until the early 00's, we'd probably be sitting on ten national titles right now.

During the grassy.com days (yeah, waaaay back when), I did a breakdown of Jimmy's first couple recruiting classes. In the beginning they had some issues with guys getting in, academics, etc, but he started really loading up on premium talent in 86, 87, 88 and 89, and it wasn't just locally. Nationally, he was getting guys. Back then UM got players from Chicago (Andre Brown and Russell Maryland), and at the end was making inroads in Texas (Kevin Williams and Jessie Armstead) and getting the best player out of Colorado (Darren Krein)

And if you were a QB, you wanted to play for Gary Stevens as your QB coach and OC. Also, Jimmy was in his coaching prime.

This was the guy who should've been our Bear Bryant, but then some guy oil guy bought a football team in Dallas.... 88
 
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There’s a couple versions of the full game on YouTube, but the ESPN Classic one looks the best. Just cuts out some parts.

I still remember Jimmy giving a great interview right after the game for ABC on the field. He was just as happy as the fans, he knew how to enjoy a victory...
 
During the grassy.com days (yeah, waaaay back when), I did a breakdown of Jimmy's first couple recruiting classes. In the beginning they had some issues with guys getting in, academics, etc, but he started really loading up on premium talent in 86, 87 and 88 and 90, and it wasn't just locally. Nationally, he was getting guys. Back then UM got players from Chicago (Andre Brown and Russell Maryland), and at the end was making inroads in Texas (Kevin Williams and Jessie Armstead) and getting the best player out of Colorado (Darren Krein)

And if you were a QB, you wanted to play for Gary Stevens as your QB coach and OC. Also, Jimmy was in his coaching prime.

This was the guy who should've been our Bear Bryant, but then some guy oil guy bought a football team in Dallas....

I (vaguely) remember grassy. I honestly don't see how Jimmy could have failed. He was a proven winner, his players LOVED him, he was successful at the highest level, had a great eye for talent, was a phenomenal motivator and really knew how to assemble a team. The only concern would be his ability to recruit nationally post-recruiting websites, but he would have won so much and so consistently by then (and been a god in Miami) I don't see how it would have mattered.
 
I (vaguely) remember grassy. I honestly don't see how Jimmy could have failed. He was a proven winner, his players LOVED him, he was successful at the highest level, had a great eye for talent, was a phenomenal motivator and really knew how to assemble a team. The only concern would be his ability to recruit nationally post-recruiting websites, but he would have won so much and so consistently by then (and been a god in Miami) I don't see how it would have mattered.

He also had great staffs, filled with future head coaches and coordinators

In 88 his two grad assistants, IIRC, were Tommy Tuberville and Ed Orgeron. The guy knew how to spot talent
 
People talk about what if Butch had stayed.

Well, Butch didn't go to the NFL and win two rings. If Jimmy stayed, even until the early 00's, we'd probably be sitting on ten national titles right now.

yep. and if howard had stayed, we'd be looking at 20.
 
Each week we're going to highlight a big game from Cane history that took place during the days of each "game week." Our first installment is from 1988, and is generally considered one of the best comebacks in the history of Hurricane football. Check the video at the bottom of the article for the visuals and smooth sounds of Keith Jackson.

September 17, 1988- #1 Miami at #15 Michigan

The Setup:

The Canes rolled into 1988 riding high off of their second national championship and sporting a host of impressive win streaks. They had won 13 overall games (and 33 regular season games) in a row, and hadn’t lost a road contest in over four years (fittingly, to Michigan), which was a span of 19 games. The only major issue? They had lost an All American team worth of talent to the NFL, including Bennie Blades, Michael Irvin, Danny Stubbs, Melvin Bratton, and George Mira, Jr. Overall, twelve of 22 starters on the championship team were gone, along with a handful of other key contributors.

UM opened the season against Florida State, who had started the year with the top ranking in the country after many expected UM’s losses would lead to a regression. Instead, Miami thumped FSU 31-0 in a game that Bobby Bowden described as getting “ whipped every way you can think of.” Steve Walsh was solid as usual and spread the ball around to some of his new weapons, including soon to be star TE Rob Chudzinski. Meanwhile, the defense locked down FSU, holding Sammie Smith to six yards on ten carries just one year after he rocked UM for 189.

Meanwhile, Michigan was 0-1, coming off their second straight loss to rival Notre Dame and facing their first 0-2 start since 1959. The legendary Bo Schembechler was nearing the end of his two decade run as the head man in Ann Arbor, and was seeking one more run at an elusive national title. The Wolverines knew one more loss likely meant another year without a title for Coach Bo.

The Story:

Michigan came out the gates firing and stunned a Miami team who was trying to find playmakers after the loss of their top three receivers, top two backs, and top two tight ends from the year before. The Canes were plagued with drops, including two that bounced into the hands of Michigan defenders.

With 7½ minutes left in the game, Miami trailed 30-14 and the Wolverines were already planning their afterparties on campus. After that, Jimmy Johnson and OC Gary Stevens turned Steve Walsh loose, calling 18 pass plays in a row while he started marching the ball downfield. A 25 yard bullet up the seam opened up UM’s come back attempt, as Dale Dawkins shook the corner free with ease. Walsh connected on a few more in a row to Andre Brown and the rest of his supporting cast to get Miami in the Red Zone in short order, capping the drive with 5:23 to play on a 3rd down toss to Rob Chudzinski. Dale Dawkins added a 2 pt conversion to pull Miami within eight, 30-22.

Michigan just missed on a third down pass towards the sideline and punted it back to UM with 3:45 to play. After a catch by Chud and two incompletions to start the drive, Steve Walsh’s patience showed itself as he hung in the pocket on a 4th and 2 before delivering a strike to a crossing Cleveland Gary who took it 48 yards to the house. Now 30-28 Michigan, the Canes two point attempt was thwarted by a tough Wolverine secondary who had the Cane wideouts blanketed.

Despite having three minutes and all three time outs left, Jimmy Johnson took a risk and called for the onside kick. Even Michigan didn’t believe they were going to follow through with putting the game in the hands of the young kicker Carlos Huerta, as they left their normal return team on the field. After a perfect second bounce, Cane safety Bobby Harden snatched the ball out of the air, giving Miami possession with three minutes left at the Michigan 47 yard line.

A big throw to Andre Brown on the sideline and a well timed delayed hand off to Cleveland Gary quickly moved the ball to the 16 yard line. Three straight carries to the middle of the Michigan defense was another sign of Jimmy’s confidence in Huerta, the redshirt freshman walk on from Columbus HS, who knocked the 29 yard eventual game winner straight through with 43 seconds left.

After the game, Coach Johnson put it bluntly: “With 105,000 people screaming at you . . . it’s difficult to come back like we did.”


The Studs:

Steve Walsh- After a slow start and being the victim of drops that certainly wouldn’t have happened the year before with Irvin, Perriman, and Blades at receiver, Walsh’s leadership shined through. After reminding his guys that they had similarly come back the year prior against FSU, he took over the offense. He threw for over 150 yards in the last seven minutes, and finished up with 335 yards and 3 TDs in the win.

Rob Chudzinksi- The sophomore tight end was tasked with replacing both Charles Henry and Alfredo Roberts from the ‘87 title team, and he responded all season. During that closing burst by UM in this game, Chud caught four of Steve Walsh’s eleven completions, including the first TD.

Carlos Huerta- Take your pick about which of the two big kicks was more impressive: the perfectly placed onside kick or the 29 yarder to ice the game and maintain Miami’s double digit game win streak.

Cleveland Gary- When most people think about Gary in ‘88 they think of another game, but he was tremendous throughout the entire season as a runner (led in yards) and receiver (led in catches). In this one, his 48 yard catch and run TD showcased the skills that made him the go-to-guy for Miami’s offense.


awesome memory.

cleveland gary being a little loose with the football is painful foreshadowing however.
 
yep. and if howard had stayed, we'd be looking at 20.
Jimmy created more of the “mystique“, I think. Those OK, NE, Faust, PSU, FSU…MD, BC…games. The hatred. The swag. That was more Jimmy than Howard. Not saying Howard couldn’t have won 20, just saying Jimmy was more likely to, imo.
 

2021 Commits

S
6'5"
220
Fort Lauderdale, FL
DT
6'4"
255
Miami, FL
OG
6'2"
295
Miami, FL
DT
6'4"
290
Miami, FL
DE
6'5"
210
Miami, FL
WR
6'2"
180
Miami, FL
RB
6'0"
225
Hollywood, FL
TE
6'4"
210
Frisco, TX
STR
6'3"
190
Melbourne, FL
S
5'11"
200
Miami, FL

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2020 Schedule

09/10
UAB
Miami Gardens, FL
W 31 - 14
09/19
Louisville
Louisville, KY
W 47 - 34
09/26
Florida State
Miami Gardens, FL
10/10
Clemson
Clemson, SC
10/17
Pittsburgh
Miami Gardens, FL
10/24
Virginia
Miami Gardens, FL
11/06
NC State
Raleigh, NC
11/14
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA
11/21
Georgia Tech
Miami Gardens, FL
11/28
Wake Forest
Winston-Salem, NC
12/05
North Carolina
Miami Gardens, FL
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