Two Ericksons and a Tenacious “D”

By the time head coach Dennis Erickson arrived in Coral Gables to take over the UM football program prior to the 1989 season, Miami football had established itself as the “Team of the ‘80s”. With a new coaching staff in place, Miami switched to a one-back offense, but the Hurricanes remained in their trademark 4-3 defense and had the talent on both sides of the ball to maintain their level of excellence. Twelve starters returned, but the loss of quarterback Steve Walsh, running back Cleveland Gary, linebacker Randy Shannon and cornerback Bubba McDowell would be felt. Nonetheless, the Hurricanes reloaded and ran off six victories to start the season.

Quarterback Craig Erickson was lost for three games in the middle of the season — including a 24-10 loss at Florida State — before returning and leading the Hurricanes on an impressive stretch run.

Miami’s defense didn’t allow a touchdown for one 10-quarter stretch during the regular season, held six opponents without a touchdown and allowed just 9.3 points per game. Miami rebounded from the FSU loss to whip their remaining opponents by an average margin of 18 points, including a 27-10 trouncing of defending national champion and top-ranked Notre Dame (27-10), ending the Irish’s 23-game win streak (the seventh time in the decade that UM defeated a No. 1-ranked team). That victory clinched a Sugar Bowl berth against seventh-ranked Alabama. Miami dispatched Alabama by a deceptively close 33-25 score in New Orleans and moved into the top spot of the rankings when Notre Dame knocked off top-ranked Colorado in the Orange Bowl, giving the Hurricanes their third national title in seven seasons.

1989 (11-1-0)
Head Coach: Dennis Erickson

DateUM RankOpponentResultScore
Sept. 9 3 at Wisconsin W 51-3
Sept. 16 3 California W 31-3
Sept. 23 2 at Missouri W 38-7
Sept. 30 2 at Michigan State W 26-20
Oct. 7 2 Cincinnati W 56-0
Oct. 14 2 San Jose State W 48-16
Oct. 28 2 at (9) Florida State L 10-24
Nov. 4 7 East Carolina W 40-10
Nov. 11 7 at (14) Pittsburgh W 24-3
Nov. 18 7 San Diego State W 42-6
Nov. 25 7 (1) Notre Dame W 27-10
Jan. 1 2 *vs. (7) Alabama W 33-25

*Sugar Bowl, New Orleans

1989 Statistical Leaders

L. Conley 134 529 3.9 4 30
C. Erickson 273-147-13 2007 53.8 16 55
D. Dawkins 54 833 15.4 7 55
R. Smith 6 28 4.7 0 22
Kalal 48 1809 37.7 16 56
Carroll 32 381 11.9 0 36
Hill 12 237 19.80 32
Huerta 0-0 6-6 5-7 6-6 1-3 18-22

Starting Lineup
SE — Randal Hill
OT — Mike Sullivan
OG — Rod Holder
C — Bobby Garcia
OG — Darren Handy
OT — Leon Searcy
TE — Rob Chudzinski
FL — Dale Dawkins
WB — Wesley Carroll
QB — Craig Erickson
FB — Leonard Conley

RE — Greg Mark
RT — Cortez Kennedy
LT — Russell Maryland
LE — Willis Peguese
WLB — Maurice Crum
MLB — Bernard Clark
SLB — Richard Newbill
RCB — Ryan McNeil
FS — Charles Pharms
SS — Hurlie Brown
LCB — Kenny Berry

PK — Carlos Huerta
P — Tim Kalal
DS — Mike Azer
HOL — Tim Kalal
PR — Wesley Carroll
KOR — Alex Johnson, Randal Hill

Coaching Staff
Head Coach: Dennis Erickson

Assistant Coaches:
Gregg Smith, assistant head coach/offensive line
Bob Bratkowski, offensive coordinator/receivers
Sonny Lubick, defensive coordinator/defensive backs
Dave Arnold, tight ends/special teams
Bob Karmelowicz, defensive line
Art Kehoe, offensive line
Ed Orgeron, defensive line
Tommy Tuberville, linebackers
Alex Wood, running backs
Carmen Grosso, graduate assistant
Ronnie Lee, graduate assistant
Scott Runyan, graduate assistant
Pete Savage, graduate assistant
Dan Werner, volunteer assistant