Of dubious reputation off the field but a fearsome force on it, the Hurricanes blew away Oklahoma again and took over No. 1
October 05, 1986

Thank you for coming, ladies and gentlemen. And now, if we can just get started with the slide show, it's time to introduce America's new No. 1 college football team, the Miami Hurricanes. Please hold your applause until the end.

This is their coach, Jimmy Johnson, a terrific guy, though some think he's a bit heavy on the styling mousse. What do they know? When the real hurricane season hits town, it's nice to know your hair isn't budging. One of his pals is...

...Don King, whose hair always looks as if it's in a hurricane. Like King, Johnson says what he wants. For two years running, Johnson has said he has a better team than Oklahoma's, and for two years running he has proved it. The Hurricanes' 28-16 rope-a-doping of the No. 1 Sooners at the Orange Bowl on Saturday was Johnson's biggest win ever, his second installment in the Oklahoma tragedy series, Miami Twice. A lot of credit for the Miami victory goes to...

...this man, quarterback Vinny Testaverde, who stands 6'5", 4'3" of which is neck and the rest, right arm. Hi-Test, as his receivers call him, filled up on the Sooners, completing 21 of 28 throws for 261 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions—all of which gave him a 40-yard head start to the best table at the Heisman dinner.

This is Gladys and me.... No, wait....

This is Miami's record—not football record but police record. Seems that every week some of these fun-loving student-athletes show up in the wrong section of the newspaper. Remember 1985 All-America tight end Willie Smith, who after deciding to forgo his final year of eligibility to enter the NFL draft, was arrested on cocaine and weapons charges last June? Since then there have been fights and fraud and alleged shoplifting and other unsavory shenanigans involving more than 40 players. Miami may be the only squad in America that has its team picture taken from the front and from the side.

This is a phone booth. Inside is scrawled an MCI long-distance credit-card number that 34 players used to make about $5,500 worth of free calls, until they got caught. MCI is insisting they pay up, which kills what would have been a great ad campaign. Can't you see it? MCI SAVED US $5,500 ON OUR LONG-DISTANCE PHONE BILL.

Here are the campus and Coral Gables police forces. On the Wednesday night before the game, 14 cars and one attack dog were outside the Hurricanes' athletic dorm, trying to break up a group of students, including 15 players, who according to the police report, were "whooping and screaming" and having such a good time that they were reluctant to call it a night. Even a Miami assistant coach, Stu Rodgers, called them "uncontrollable." So what chance did Oklahoma have?

This is Jerome Brown, the Hurricanes' outstanding defensive tackle. Brown's blockade of the middle on Saturday helped debone the 'bone, but he has a predilection for jams. For instance, last February a handgun belonging to Brown was found hidden in a shopping cart outside his dorm room. A few weeks ago he was one of four players driving cars Sonny Crockett would be proud to ride shotgun in. Brown's was a $30,000 black Corvette, which was leased through an NFL agent. University officials are satisfied that the lease wasn't below board. Word is, the NCAA might like a look-see.

Here's linebacker George Mira Jr., son of the former great Miami quarterback. George Jr. is no slouch himself—he had 11 tackles on Saturday—except that sometimes he loses his temper, like the night last August when campus policemen interceded in an ugly set-to between Mira and his girlfriend, and Mira allegedly assaulted one of the cops. Then police found a bottle of steroids in his truck. He said the steroids belonged to a friend. The drug charge was dropped, and the assault charge was reduced to simple battery. Johnson held Mira out of the first half of the Texas Tech game. Luckily, he was allowed back just in time to help Miami pull out a 61-11 win.

That's running back Melvin Bratton behind the shades. He has been accused of trying to steal a pair of sunglasses from a J.C. Penney. Bratton says he had forgotten he had put on the glasses when a security guard nabbed him as he was leaving the store.

Just look at all those faces. You see a drop of remorse anywhere? Notice anybody seeing the errors of his ways and all that? Nah. In all of the Canes raising, exactly one player has been suspended for one game by Johnson. "I have two sons about this age [20 and 22]," Johnson says. "I wouldn't kick my son out of the house if he made a mistake." Nobody at Miami is asking for Johnson to get any tougher, not even...

click president Edward Foote, a general in the battle to bring integrity into college athletics, the man who vows to make Miami "this generation's Stanford." Says Foote of his Miami team: "I'm embarrassed...but to my knowledge there have been no major problems in recent years." Nothing major? "This generation" may be in some trouble.

It is too bad, too, because the Hurricanes play the game like angels. Bratton and Alonzo Highsmith are the sweetest running tandem in the land. The defense was brilliant in booming the Sooners. Testaverde could turn out to be better than Kelly or Kosar, and wideout Michael Irvin is so smooth he practically doesn't move at all. But for every gorgeous athleticism this team gives you, you get two taunting quotes before and after the game, usually from a kid wearing three pounds of gold necklace.

Indeed, going into the Oklahoma game the Miami players made Sooner linebacker Brian (Boz) Bosworth look like Howard Sprague. Brown got things going by saying Boz "couldn't start" for the Hurricanes. Uh-oh. You could just hear headline writers warming up the IBM. But Boz just said, "Well, he's a good player. He's got room to talk."

Say what? Miami volleyed again. Second-string ("costarter," he likes to put it) defensive tackle Dan Sileo called Boz "the most overrated player in America." Uh-oh. But Boz pretty much just turned the other cheek. "Well, what has he ever produced?" was his mild response.

Boz, you see, had been called to coach Barry Switzer's office, where the King had given him a piece of advice. Shut up for a while and you might have a chance at the Heisman. And that's just what Boz did—publicly. Privately, though, he likened the Miami game to "playing the University of San Quentin." He called Johnson "cocky," and revealed a love letter (we saw it) from some of the Hurricane Honeys, Miami's female recruiting "assistants." They had written, "You turn us on a lot more than Vinny!"

Alas, for Boz, by Saturday night that was no longer true, for Vinny had turned on the entire Orange Bowl. In one span he completed 14 straight passes. "He's just too good," said Switzer, who called Testaverde the best quarterback the Sooners had faced in his 21 years in Norman. Boz finished with 14 tackles, including 10 solos and a sack. In a game in which one Heisman suitor could, at last, directly affect the other's chances, it was strictly Vinny, vidi, vici.

However, that wasn't how the game started. Testaverde was sacked on the first play, and the Sooners took the punt and effortlessly 'boned their way to the Miami 17. For some reason, Oklahoma sometimes insists on passing when the wishbone is eating up lawn like a Toro mower. Thus, a second-and-seven try for a touchdown went awry, a third-down running play went backward, and the field goal was shanked. Oklahoma never again had a sporting chance at the lead.

Though Miami led only 7-3 at the half, Testaverde had put a cleat through Oklahoma's vigor with one beautiful, decimating play near the end of the second quarter. Back to pass and suddenly in the grasp of defensive end Mike Aljoe, Testaverde kicked himself free and scrambled to the right. With Testaverde, scrambling is perhaps too vulgar a word. Testaverde sort of strolls with purpose. He never panics, is always erect and is almost clairvoyant about ne'er-do-wells drawing up from behind. "He has this incredible understanding of what's going on," said Switzer.

Anyway, when college football's Testarossa saw no one to the right, he cut across the grain, freed his shoe from another tackier and took his little field trip to the other sideline before finally calling it quits and opting for a 10-yard dash. Dropped like litter on the grass were crimson-and-cream splotches. "He broke them with that," said Miami's fine center, Gregg Rakoczy. "He ran 75 yards for a 10-yard gain, but their heads were down. You could see it."

In the locker room at halftime, the Sooners seemed spent. When Switzer said, "If you can get one touchdown, we'll win," you could sense that even that was asking too much. Miami had the wishbone patrolled from every street corner. Oklahoma fullback Lydell Carr, who had been averaging five yards per carry, would get six yards all day.

All that remained was for Testaverde to combust, and he did with two touchdown passes within 44 seconds in the third quarter to make the score 21-3. The outcome was not much at issue after that, even when Sooner tight end Keith Jackson turned a post pattern into a 54-yard TD. The time had come for the Hurricanes to take their rightful place—No. 1 AP, UPI, SI and FBI—and go into their patented Helen Reddy defense (You and Me Against the World).

"You newspaper people are going to make us national champs," Highsmith hollered. "Call us undisciplined! Find something to pick on next week!"

Then Bratton: "We're on a mission."

Highsmith: "To heaven."

Now, brothers and sisters, put your right hand on your TV dial and go....


PHOTOJAMES DRAKEOn this play Testaverde gave a slew of Sooners the cold shoulder to gain an exhausting 10 yards. TWO PHOTOSJOHN BIEVERMiami's special teams—at left Eric Ham strips the ball from kick returner Anthony Stafford—were as potent as its ground game, led by Highsmith (30) and Bratton. PHOTOGEORGE TIEDEMANN[See caption above.] PHOTOJOHN BIEVERHats off to the Boz for a valiant effort and for not losing his head when several windy Hurricanes taunted him before the game. PHOTOJOHN BIEVERJunior tight end Charles Henry (left) pulled down five passes from Testaverde, who finished with 21 completions in 28 attempts. PHOTOJOHN IACONO[See caption above.] PHOTOJOHN IACONOOn top of the world and all the polls.