When UT football fans discuss the greatest moments in Vol history, Tennessee's 35-7 defeat of heavily favored Miami in the 1986 Sugar Bowl always ranks at or near the top. The Big Orange was given no chance to win that evening, yet it dominated a Hurricane team that boasted tremendous talent, including a Heisman Trophy candidate (Vinny Testeverde) at quarterback.
Sixteen years later, Tennessee again is facing Miami. The Vols again are heavy underdogs, given no chance to win. The Hurricanes again feature tremendous talent, including a Heisman Trophy candidate (Ken Dorsey
) at quarterback.
The situations are so similar that you wonder: Is Vol head man Phillip Fulmer using the '86 Sugar Bowl upset as a motivating tool for this Saturday's game? The answer: Sort of.
''I give them the history of the series before almost every game,'' Fulmer said. Still, he said he ''didn't make a huge deal out of it,'' because the '86 game with Miami has ''very little relevance to this game.''
That's probably because most of the Vols who will take the field against the Hurricanes in Saturday's rematch were three or four years old when the teams met on Jan. 1 of '86.