1988 Orange Bowl

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1988 Orange Bowl
National Championship Game
Orange Bowl Logo 1951-1995.png
1 2 3 4 Total
Miami 7 0 10 3 20
Oklahoma 0 7 0 7 14
Date January 1, 1988
Season 1987
Stadium Orange Bowl
Location Miami, Florida
Attendance 74,760[1]
United States TV coverage
Network NBC
Announcers Don Criqui, Bob Trumpy and Tom Hammond
Orange Bowl
 < 1987  1989

The 1988 Orange Bowl was an American college football bowl game between the Miami Hurricanes and the Oklahoma Sooners. It was the 54th edition of the Orange Bowl and took place at the Orange Bowl stadium in Miami, Florida on January 1, 1988. Miami was coached by Jimmy Johnson and Oklahoma was coached by Barry Switzer.[1] Miami won the game, 20–14. To date, it is the only time the opposing head coaches from a college national championship football game each later served as head coach of the same professional football team, and won the Super Bowl with that team, that team being the Dallas Cowboys.

The Orange Bowl[edit]

The 1988 Orange Bowl featured "Game of the Century"-type billing[citation needed] as the undefeated and top-ranked Oklahoma Sooners faced off against undefeated and second-ranked Miami for the national championship.[2] Adding to the hype was the recent on-field history between the teams. Oklahoma was a dominant force in college football, winning the national championship in 1985 and losing just one game in each of the preceding two years. Miami, though, had proven to be the thorn in Oklahoma's side, as the Sooners' losses in '85 and '86 had both come at the hands of Miami. Now, with the national championship on the line, Miami sought to make it three-losses-in-three-years for Oklahoma, and also their first postseason bowl win under Jimmy Johnson after three straight bowl losses, two in which they struggled and lost their chances to win the national championships. Further fuel for the fire was provided by the growing personal animosity between former Arkansas player Johnson and Oklahoma head coach Barry Switzer, who was also a former Arkansas player.

Miami's vaunted defense set the tone early, forcing the Sooners to punt on their first five possessions. Meanwhile, Walsh settled into a nice rhythm, putting Miami on the board first with a 30-yard touchdown pass to fullback Melvin Bratton, who caught 9 passes for 102 yards for the game. Oklahoma got on the board with a second-quarter touchdown to tie things up, but Miami responded with 10 unanswered third quarter points, coming on a 56-yard field goal by kicker Greg Cox and a 23-yard touchdown pass from Walsh to Irvin. Oklahoma would add a fourth-quarter touchdown to trim the score to 20-14, but Miami held on for the win and the national championship. Johnson received a Gatorade bath, which messed his trademark impeccably coiffed hair, and was carried off the field, having finally won "the big one" at Miami.

The Hurricane defense held Oklahoma to just 255 yards of offense, while Walsh's efficient play (18 of 30, 209 yards, 2 touchdowns) paced the Hurricane offense. Middle linebacker Bernard "Tiger" Clark- a backup middle linebacker who was forced to start after starting MLB George Mira Jr. was suspended for failing a drug test- was named the MVP of the Orange Bowl after recording 14 tackles (12 unassisted).

With the win, Miami completed its first ever undefeated season. In winning their second national championship, the Canes once again had to go through the nation's top-ranked team at the Orange Bowl, just as they had done in 1983.


First Downs 15 13
Rushing Attempts 38 53
Rushing Yards 72 179
Passes Attempted 30 13
Passes Completed 18 5
Had Intercepted 1 0
Passing Yards 209 76
Total Offense 281 255
Punts/Avg. 6/44.7 8/39.0
Fumbles/Lost 0/0 2/4
Penalties/Yards 8-85 5-39


Miami 7 0 10 3 20
Oklahoma 0 7 0 7 14

Scoring Summary[edit]

MIAMI: Bratton 30-yard pass from Walsh (Cox kick); OKLA: Stafford 1-yard run (Lashar kick); MIAMI: Cox 56-yard FG; MIAMI: Irvin 23-yard pass from Walsh (Cox kick); MIAMI: Cox 48-yard FG; OKLA: Hutson 29-yard run (Lashar kick)MOP: Bernard Clark (Miami), Darrell Reed (Oklahoma)


  1. ^ a b "Orange Bowl; Hurricanes Overwhelm the Sooners to Claim No. 1". New York Times. January 2, 1988. Retrieved December 27, 2016. 
  2. ^ http://www.orangebowl.org/OB.php?sec=history6
  3. ^ "1988 | Orange Bowl". game.orangebowl.org. Retrieved 2016-10-05.