Our Miami-Ohio State preview continues today with Ernesto Suarez breaking down the history of the UM-OSU rivalry.
Be sure to Listen to UM-Ohio State beginning Saturday at 7 PM on 90.5 FM or http://wvum.org/index.php/wvum/stream/
BY: ERNESTO SUAREZ
By the time the teams hit the field on Saturday night, it will only be the fifth time that the Hurricanes and the Buckeyes have faced off against one another. But although the rivalry has been a short one, this past decade has reinforced the competitive spirit between both the teams and their fans.
When the teams first met in 1977, the two programs could not have been further apart in terms of prestige and brand recognition. Ohio State was a team that that just two years prior, had gone four straight years with a Rose Bowl appearance and were, along with Michigan, considered a threat in the Big Ten. Miami had yet to establish an identity, and would go on to struggle for a few more years until the arrival of Howard Schnellenberger. The Hurricanes would go on to lose that day by a score of 10-0.
Fast forward 22 years, the next time both teams hot the field together, this time at the former Giants Stadium in New Jersey. Both teams came into the game ranked, Miami at No.12 and Ohio State at No.9, and despite both teams entering the game with national championship aspirations, the Hurricanes were able to come away with the 23-12 victory, their only one in the series.
Though depending on who you ask, there should have been two victories that went to the Canes. On January 3, 2003, the teams met once again, but this time, with a championship on the line. Miami entered the game riding a 34 game winning streak, coming off another championship the year before, and were an overwhelming favorite heading into the game. The Buckeyes enjoyed a perfect regular season and were looking to win a championship under then second year head coach Jim Tressel.
Ohio State held the lead for much of the game, ending the third quarter with a 17-14 lead that remained that way until the very end of the fourth, when Miami kicker Todd Sievers hit the game tying field goal with just three seconds on the clock.
That first overtime would eventually lead to the “phantom interference” call that would haunt the Hurricanes and their fans for years to come. After getting the ball on offense and scoring first to start the overtime session, Ohio State was brought to a 4th and 14, needing to score a touchdown to win. The pass fell incomplete, and as the team and fans started to celebrate, a late flag was called for pass interference on Glen Sharpe. The call would go on to be questioned for years after it happened, but at the moment, the Buckeyes were able to take advantage, force the game into second overtime, and come away with the win and the championship.
That game would come to be seen as the falling point for Miami. Ohio State would go on to enjoy success in following seasons, as well as play in a few championship games of their own, the Canes would only decline from there on out. Both teams were headed in opposite directions, and although Miami fans would openly laud the Buckeyes for that victory, the chance to get them back for it never came, until last year.
After seven years, the Canes were set to travel to the Horseshoe and take on the Buckeyes yet again. The buildup to the game was astonishing. Miami, the No.12 ranked team in the nation, finally looking to get back to their tradition of winning, facing off against the team that, in their last meeting, “stole” the championship from them. It also didn't hurt that they were ranked No.2, and that a victory would certainly propel them into the top 10 in the nation. Possible championship talk was rampant among the fanbase.
Unfortunately for Miami, the buildup meant nothing on the field. The Ohio State defense forced four interceptions on Miami quarterback Jacory Harris, the offense could not get anything started, and the Miami defense was gutted for 346 yards by Terrelle Pryor (233 passing, 113 rushing). The Canes left Columbus deflated with a 36-24 loss in a game that would come to define how their season went.
Which leads in to Saturday night’s matchup. Although this time, Ohio State comes in ranked (No.15) with the Hurricanes on the outside looking in, both teams come in with plenty of off the field turmoil. Both teams underwent offseason NCAA investigations, with Tressell and Pryor both bolting Ohio State for the NFL amidst suspensions. Although both teams went through their own off the field issues, both view this matchup as a chance to move past them.
You can listen to Miami-Ohio State beginning Saturday at 7 PM on 90.5 FM in Miami-Dade or http://wvum.org/index.php/