October 4, 1997

The darkest day in recent Hurricane history? Look no further than October 4, 1997. The site was Doak Campbell Stadium, the opponent was the Florida State Seminoles and the Miami was nothing more than a shell of the team they are today.

Riding a 1-3 record into the annual match up with the #4 Noles, the Canes were pray for a miracle. Turn the season around on a dime. Beat the archrivals, end the two game skid against Bobby's boys and save some face.

It was a novel idea while it lasted.

47-0. I still get nauseous at the sound of it. Sitting in Doak Campbell for 60 minutes of sheer torture and agony was definitely the low point for this Canes fan. A bitter, nailbiting, hard fought rivalry had been reduced to a scrimmage and a Florida State highlight reel with the 1997 meeting nothing short of a clinic for the Noles.

"That was the most embarrassing, humiliating thing that ever happened to me as a player or coach," offensive line coach Art Kehoe said. "I've never felt so embarrassed and so uncompetitive and so whipped. It was 47-0 and it could have been 90-0 easily. They took it easy on us."

Took it easy? I'd have hated to see what happened if they didn't call off the dogs.

Thad Busby lit up the Miami "defense" for 230 yards and two touchdowns while spreading the ball out to eight different receivers. The Noles also churned out 174 on the ground while holding future Hurricane stars James Jackson and Edgerrin James to 6 yards. Add in a few Covington and Clement sacks and Miami totaled minus 33 rushing yards and four fumbles on that fateful Saturday.

The horrendous stats continue to pour down like a South Florida tropical storm in August. Miami's worst shutout defeat since 1927, the first four loss skid in a season since 1977 and a combined score of 122-33 against Florida State in a three-year span. Top that off with Florida State building on the 30-0 lead by adding 17 points in the final quarter. How's that for insult to injury? The only thing they didn't do that day was send our backup quarterback rattling into the goalpost like a pinball off a bumper. Oh wait, they did that too.

A bit of redemption returned to Miami last October when Ken Dorsey led his troops on a 68-yard magical drive to pay dirt in the game's waning moments. 27-24 and the curse was broken… sort of. As good as an Orange Bowl win over the Noles feels, the Canes need a win at Doak.

A decade has passed since Wide Right I. Canes RB Clinton Portis – preparing for his first start against the Noles on the road – was in 4th grade the last time Miami took one in Tallahassee. This Saturday things must change. Florida State's home dominance has gone on for too long. The Canes' down years provided the Noles too plush of a cushion this past decade. The ACC is not a large mountain to climb and since the 1994 tie against the Gators, there were three Florida State wins over Spurrier's boys needed to keep the streak in tact. Since 1993 the Canes have not been a formidable visiting opponent for the Noles. Come October 13th, 2001 all of that will change.

The Canes are backed up. The pressure is intense and a release is necessary. How long has it been since an opponent has gathered midfield in Tallahassee and stomped that putrid 50-yard line Seminole profile to a pulp? Ten years since Florida State has sulked back into their own locker room crying like babies while listening to absolute bliss in the visitor's tunnel. Time is ripe for changing. Streaks are made to be broken. Come Saturday the Canes have the opportunity to kill two birds with the same stone. Shake that Doak monkey off their backs while sending Seminole faithful home in tears for the first time in a decade.

Born and raised in Miami, Chris Bello now lives in San Diego, CA and works as a freelance writer. Feel free to send your comments or to contact him for potential writing assignments at cbello@san.rr.com.

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