Florida Gators v. Miami Hurricanes

Hurricanes, Gators Have Quite A Heated History

Larry Blustein
August 21, 2019 - 10:45 am

On October 15, 1938, the University of Florida played host to the University of Miami and the rivalry was born.

Missing only 1943, the series had grown to the point where the two programs annually looked at that matchup as one that would dictate recruiting and help both teams showcase the state’s best.

During the early years, the Hurricanes would win 12 times and take control until 1957, when the Gators would dominate the series, winning four in a row and setting the table for the 70’s where they would win seven times.


This series has had it all, but perhaps nothing soured the competitive meeting like the 1971 game in the Orange Bowl. Miami and Florida were both having miserable seasons when they squared off in the final game of the season.

As Miami had nothing more to play for, the Gators did – an in the process, added to the fuel that already existed in a red-hot rivalry.

Florida quarterback John Reaves needed 343 yards passing to break Jim Plunkett’s mark of 7,544 yards at the time. He was 10 yards short.

With time winding down and Florida leading the game 45-8, it looked like the quarterback would fall short, but that’s where the opinion of the Gators may have changed forever.

Miami had the ball and was slowly driving for a meaningless touchdown. Fearing that time would run out before Reaves could get the ball back, the Gators continued to call timeout, but that didn’t stop the Hurricanes from running time all the way down.

Florida was out of options, and as Miami snapped the ball at the 8, Florida players literally fell to their knees, giving UM quarterback John Hornibrook an uncontested TD.

A few moments later, Reaves hit North Miami High graduate Carlos Alvarez for the record.

UM head coach Fran Curci, angered by the ploy, called it: “the worst thing I have ever seen in football.”

That play, while it was only one thing, was certainly something that kept the hate burning.

This series has always been interesting because it splits households. Many families, who grew up in south Florida and have long cheered for the Hurricanes, have watched children become Gators.

For a rivalry that was somewhat neutered over the past 30 plus years, there have been some memorable games along the way.

The 1983 game saw the Hurricanes lose the opener 28-3 to the Gators, only to go on to win the school’s firt ever state title. That prompted UF fans to get bumper stickers proclaiming: GATORS 28, NATIONAL CHAMPIONS 3.



One of the games that all fans recall was back in 2003, when ex-Gator quarterback Brock Berlin brought the Hurricanes back after Florida had taken a commanding 33-10 lead in the 3rd quarter at the Orange Bowl.

Berlin competed 19 of 20 passes down the stretch to give the ‘Canes a 36-33 win.  

When Miami beat the Gators on September 5, 1987, it would mark the last time the two teams would play until the January 2, 2001 matchup in the Sugar, where Miami won 37-20.

When the series once again resume this Saturday in Orlando, the Hurricanes lead 29-26 and have won eight of the past 10 meetings.

The matchup will be the first since 2013 and only the seventh since 2000.

Don’t Forget To Check Out Hurricane Hotline each Tuesday evening from 6-8 on 560 THE JOE – WQAM with “The Voice Hurricane Sports” Joe Zagacki and UM legend Don Bailey Jr.