The Hurricanes were the defending national champions from the 1983 college football season. Having defeated number one ranked Auburn, and then Florida, they rose to be ranked number one before their game at Michigan. They remained in the top ten after that loss. They lost again to Florida State. They beat a ranked Notre Dame team in South Bend to return to the top 10. The Hurricanes earned three more wins, but then suffered two of the most notable losses in college football history.
On November 10, 1984 at the Orange Bowl Stadium, The Maryland Terrapins defeated the Hurricanes with the largest (at that time) comeback in college football. Down 31-0 at halftime, Frank Reich, who had been injured, came off the bench and led the comeback. At the start of the third quarter, Reich led the Terrapins on multiple scoring drives. Three touchdowns in the third quarter and a fourth at the start of the final quarter turned what was a blowout into a close game. Maryland completed a 42–9 second half, and won 42–40.
The next week at the Orange Bowl stadium, the Hurricanes faced the Boston College Eagles in a nationally-tlevised game that has become known as "Hail Flutie". It has been regarded by FOX Sports writer Kevin Hench as among the most memorable moments in sports. The game is most notable for a last-second Hail Mary pass from quarterbackDoug Flutie to wide receiverGerard Phelan to give Boston College the win.