1991 Cotton Bowl Classic

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1991 Mobil Cotton Bowl Classic
1 2 3 4 Total
Texas 0 3 0 0 3
Miami 12 7 14 13 46
Date January 1, 1991
Season 1990
Stadium Cotton Bowl
Location Dallas, Texas
MVP Craig Erickson, QB, Miami (FL)
Russell Maryland, DT, Miami (FL)
Referee Jimmy Harper (SEC)
Attendance 73,521
United States TV coverage
Network CBS
Announcers Jim Nantz (play-by-play), Tim Brant (color), Andrea Joyce (host), Mike Francesa (host), John Dockery (sideline)
Cotton Bowl Classic
 < 1990  1992

The 1991 Mobil Cotton Bowl Classic was a post-season college football game played on January 1, 1991. It pitted the #3 Texas Longhorns, champions of the Southwest Conference, against the independent #5 Miami Hurricanes.

Miami's hopes of repeating as national champion were dashed by losses at BYU in the season opener and Notre Dame in October.

Texas began the season ranked #23 and opened with a 17-13 victory over Penn State in State College. After a 29-22 loss to Colorado at home dropped them out of the rankings, the Longhorns won nine games in a row to close out the season--including wins against #4 Oklahoma (14–13) and #3 Houston (45–24) - to capture the SWC championship and a pregame #3 ranking.

Miami led 19-3 at halftime, but put the game out of reach with two touchdowns within five minutes in the third quarter. On the debit side, the Hurricanes set Cotton Bowl and school records for most penalties (15) and most penalty yards (202) in a single game. Nine of those penalties were for unsportsmanlike conduct or personal fouls. Although the Hurricanes were roundly criticized for their behavior, they claimed it was a response to pregame trash-talking by the Longhorns. Defensive coordinator Sonny Lubick later said that the coaches tried to tone the players down, to no avail. Partly in response to a firestorm of criticism, the NCAA instituted a new rule stipulating that excessive celebration would be a 15-yard penalty.[1]

After finishing the season #3, the Hurricanes claimed the AP National Championship the following year by going 12-0, ending with a 22-0 victory over Nebraska in the Orange Bowl.

Meanwhile, Texas fired coach David McWilliams following a 5-6 campaign in 1991. McWilliams was replaced by John Mackovic, then the coach at Illinois and previously the coach of the National Football League's Kansas City Chiefs. The Longhorns did not play in another New Year's Day bowl game until 1995, and did not win another New Year's Day bowl game until 1998, when Mack Brown's first Longhorns squad crushed Mississippi State in the Cotton Bowl.

Scoring summary[edit]

First Quarter

  • 8:53 UM - Carlos Huerta 28-yd field goal; Drive: 8 plays, 4 yards
  • 5:26 UM - Huerta 50-yd field goal; Drive: 5 plays, 16 yards
  • 0:11 UM - Wesley Carroll 12-yd pass from Craig Erickson (Erickson pass failed); Drive: 2 plays, 9 yards

Second Quarter

  • 7:43 UT - Michael Pollak 29-yd field goal; Drive: 9 plays, 46 yards
  • 4:17 UM - Carroll 24-yd pass from Erickson (Huerta kick); Drive: 2 plays, 21 yards

Third Quarter

  • 11:46 UM - Darrin Smith 34-yd interception return (Huerta kick)
  • 6:09 UM - Randal Hill 48-yd pass from Erickson (Huerta kick); Drive: 3 plays, 63 yards

Fourth Quarter

  • 10:56 UM - Randy Bethel 4-yd pass from Erickson (Huerta kick blocked); Drive: 12 plays, 77 yards
  • 9:23 UM - Leonard Conley 26-yd run (Huerta kick); Drive: 3 plays, 26 yards


  1. ^ Feldman, Bruce (2004). Cane Mutiny: How the Miami Hurricanes Overturned the Football Establishment. New York: New American Library. ISBN 0-451-21297-5.