MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — In the hours earlier than Miami performed Notre Dame, music stuffed the parking zone surrounding Hard Rock Stadium — rap, Latin, reggaeton — turning pregame tailgates right into a soccer social gathering solely South Florida might throw.
One keen tailgater grabbed a microphone, stood behind his flatbed truck and yelled, “Are you ready, Miami?” earlier than busting out his personal smoke machine and spraying the smoke into the gang. An intrepid entrepreneur bought $10 knockoff Turnover Chain T-shirts close by. One father and son performed soccer, the son sporting a Miami helmet and matching uniform.
The door to the playoff’s high 4 has been kicked open after No. 1 Georgia and No. three Notre Dame have been blown out. No. 2 Alabama survived Mississippi State’s upset bid, and Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield took one other step towards securing the Heisman Trophy.
The Turnover Chain was out early and infrequently because the No. 7 Hurricanes made an emphatic playoff badertion Saturday by demolishing No. three Notre Dame 41-Eight.
By the time the Miami buses arrived two hours earlier than kickoff, followers had gotten themselves into such a frenzy, they shook all three group buses backward and forward. Most wore home made Turnover Chains and held up indicators, together with one with The Rock that stated, “Can you smell what the U is cooking?”
Nights like this are usually reserved for Florida State video games. But the sensation on Saturday evening buzzed with extra pleasure, extra anticipation, extra starvation, extra craving. Because for the primary time in additional than a decade, a house sport in Miami meant extra than simply state bragging rights in opposition to a pure rival. It meant a possibility to really feel one thing once more, one thing that has been lacking since Miami final received a nationwide championship, in 2001.
For so lengthy, within the years between Larry Coker and Randy Shannon and Al Golden, of us down right here stopped feeling a lot of something good. Antipathy? Maybe. Anger? Definitely. As the years mounted between championships, a quiet desperation took maintain. Would Miami ever be again?
So the turnout on Saturday was extra than simply South Florida popping out to relive the glory days in opposition to Notre Dame. It was about attempting to bridge the previous to the current, to badist the concept Miami might completely, definitively win once more right here with followers screaming and creating an actual, dwell, dwelling setting.
It may not be the previous, creaky, intimidating Orange Bowl. But what occurred in opposition to Notre Dame confirmed all that Miami might be as soon as once more. The soccer group dominated with authority; it appeared like Warren Sapp and Ed Reed had placed on their previous jerseys and gone on the market themselves.
They performed with an aggressiveness and an anger, permitting pent-up frustrations to spill over after every week by which gamers heard time and again they weren’t ok to be ranked as College Football Playoff contenders regardless of profitable all their video games.
The evening earlier than the sport, the teaching employees confirmed the group feedback ESPN’s Paul Finebaum made on his present this week: “They fell off the map, and, frankly, I didn’t miss them that badly. Miami was known for all the wrong things. They won the titles, and they probably could’ve had more, but to me, they were more of a black mark on college football.”
Miami received 41-Eight, a rating so surprising that the calls declaring Miami again accelerated to warp pace.
As Reed celebrated on the sector afterward, Joel Rodriguez ran as much as him, hugged him and shouted, “How’s that for a black mark on college football!”
“You know what I’m saying, Joel!” Reed shouted again at his teammate from the 2001 nationwide championship group. “That’s what we do. That’s how we represent. I saw it Tuesday. Coach Richt and his staff have done such a great job raising these young men. It’s all we came here for. When you come to Miami, that’s what you come here for, that’s what we’re about.”
Sapp watched the sport from the sideline, too. His feeling watching such a dramatic victory? “Long time coming!”
Cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph, who performed with Rodriguez and Reed on the final group to win a nationwide title right here, stated he sensed in observe throughout the week that one thing mbadive was about to occur.
“Backs against the wall and we stood up and fought like men,” Rumph stated. “I can’t be prouder of these guys. “We’re again! We’re again!”
Whether Miami is definitively again remains to be up within the air with two regular-season video games left and the ACC championship sport in opposition to Clemson on Dec. 2. Linebacker Shaq Quarterman stated the one strategy to make that declaration is to win a hoop. Receiver Braxton Berrios supplied, “The U is again. I do not badume anyone can say we’re not. I do not badume we are able to get disrespected anymore.”
But what completely just isn’t up for debate is the ambiance contained in the stadium on Saturday evening, the vibe that pulsed from the primary row all the way in which to the highest row. Miami swaggered on the sector and within the stands, and even when the group lastly left the sector to “Rock You Like a Hurricane,” a big swath of followers remained for top fives and cheers.
Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz celebrated along with his gamers, a triumph not solely as a result of they held Notre Dame to eight factors and 261 whole yards. His father was Miami mayor; he grew up in South Florida, throughout the Hurricanes’ heyday, when the one customary meant not competing for championships, however profitable them.
“This is to me pure order restored,” Diaz said. “This is the way in which a Saturday evening in Miami must be. It must be a big-time sport with two nice groups with an incredible ambiance.”
Miami performs Virginia subsequent Saturday at midday ET, and the fan base can be examined to indicate up once more, as loud and as proud because it was in opposition to Notre Dame. But for no less than one Saturday evening, it certain felt like Miami had traveled again in time 30 years, permitting us to recollect what was, but in addition giving us a glimpse at what’s to return.