Chicago Colleges: Notre Dame Fightin Irish
With Notre Dame and Miami getting ready to square off in the Sun Bowl on New Year's Eve, this generation of Fighting Irish and Hurricanes -- fans and players alike -- have some homework to do if they want to truly understand the mutual hatred this rivalry stirred up by the end of 1990.
The programs first played in 1955, with ND winning, 14-0. They met 20 more times before the most memorable quartet of all-or-nothing tilts from 1987-1990. Here's a quick refresher course:
1987: Miami left wreckage in its wake with a 9-0 record when Notre Dame (8-2) came to town. The Hurricanes outscored Florida and Arkansas by a combined 82-11 to open the season before No. 4 Florida State gave them a scare the following Saturday. The 10th-ranked Irish were skunked, 24-0, and then lost to Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl to end the year 8-4. Miami finished 12-0 after beating Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl to win the national title.
1989: Notre Dame was primed to defend its crown and ran into little resistance until 9th-ranked USC pushed the Irish to the wire. Holtz's defense tightened up after that, allowing only 36 points over the next four contests before the season final at Miami. In coach Dennis Erickson's debut season, the Hurricanes' only blemish was a 24-10 loss to Florida State in late October. The Miami defense, despite losing linebacker Randy Shannon, was devastating, going a 10-quarter stretch that year without allowing a touchdown. The Hurricanes thumped the top-ranked Irish, 27-10, and knocked off Alabama in the Sugar Bowl for another national crown.
1990: Coming off its national championship the previous year, Miami dropped its season opener against BYU by a touchdown. The Hurricanes rattled off four wins before traveling to South Bend on Oct. 20. The Fighting Irish were also 4-1, after losing to Stanford in the closing seconds in Week 4. With Raghib "Rocket" Ismail's 94-yard kickoff return for a score -- Notre Dame's only touchdown in the first half -- the Irish beat Miami 29-20 on a beautiful fall afternoon to end the series with a 15-7-1 advantage. Notre Dame would go on to finish 9-3, losing to Penn State late and to Colorado, 10-9, in the Orange Bowl.
TOP 25 SCOREBOARD
Final 21 Texas A&M 52 9 South Carolina 28 Final Boise State 13 18 Ole Miss 35 Final Weber State 14 19 Arizona State 45
8:00 PM ET 1 Florida State Oklahoma State 3:30 PM ET West Virginia 2 Alabama 10:30 PM ET South Dakota 3 Oregon 7:00 PM ET Louisiana Tech 4 Oklahoma 12:00 PM ET 5 Ohio State Navy 4:00 PM ET Arkansas 6 Auburn 12:00 PM ET 7 UCLA Virginia 4:00 PM ET UC Davis 11 Stanford 5:30 PM ET 16 Clemson 12 Georgia 9:00 PM ET 14 Wisconsin 13 LSU 7:30 PM ET Fresno State 15 USC 3:30 PM ET Rice 17 Notre Dame 7:10 PM ET Stephen F. Austin 20 Kansas State 3:30 PM ET Florida Atlantic 22 Nebraska 6:00 PM ET Liberty 23 North Carolina 3:30 PM ET South Dakota State 24 Missouri 10:30 PM ET 25 Washington Hawaii