The 1988 contest between Notre Dame and Miami dubbed “Catholics vs. Convicts” may be the most notorious game in series history. The year prior, however, there was still plenty on the line.
As for the game itself, it was hardly as thrilling. It came on this day 35 years ago as the Hurricanes rolled to a 24-0 victory.
Setting the Stage
No. 2 Miami was 9-0, but it had been nearly two months since the Hurricanes played a ranked team when they arrived at the Orange Bowl on Nov. 28, 1987. With the exception of a 26-25 win over Florida State, no team had stayed within 10 points of Miami that season.
At 8-2, Notre Dame was coming off a 1-point loss at Penn State. Under second-year head coach Lou Holtz, the Fighting Irish were ranked 10th in the country and looking to avenge a 58-7 loss from its last trip to the Orange Bowl two years prior in what would be Gerry Faust’s last game as head coach.
For Miami, it was domination from the start. A lopsided contest could have been even worse had it not been for three turnovers in Notre Dame territory.
Melvin Bratton rushed for a pair of scores in the victory. With just over five minutes to play, Leonard Conley capped the scoring with a 5-yard touchdown run. Quarterback Steve Walsh passed for 196 yards in the win, but the story was the Miami defense.
Led by Daniel Stubbs and linebacker George Mira, the Hurricanes held Notre Dame in check. Tim Brown, the eventual Heisman Trophy winner, was held to just 95 all-purpose yards — a little more than half of his average. Notre Dame managed a meager 169 yards of offense.
After an 8-1 start, Notre Dame would close the season on a 3-game losing streak. The Fighting Irish would finish No. 17 in the Coaches Poll following a 35-10 loss to Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl.
As for Miami, its final two games would also be top-10 showdowns. After topping South Carolina, the Hurricanes beat Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl to finish 12-0 and win their second national championship in five years.
The Fighting Irish and Hurricanes played every year from 1987 to 1990 with the home team winning each time. The most lopsided of those matchups came on this day 35 years ago.
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