Spectacular. Amazing. Remarkable.
Those are the only words that can describe the Orange Bowl last Thursday night.
Many forgot what it felt like to win a big game in that stadium, on the national stage, in such a dominant fashion.
Hurricanes everywhere were reminded last Thursday.
You could tell from the beginning that something was different. An early three-and-out by the A&M offense, where they seemed to be moving backwards every single play, made people think, “That was exactly what they didn’t need to do.” Then the ‘Canes go 5-for-5 on third down conversions, capping off the best drive in anyone’s memory with a direct-snap touchdown to freshman sensation Graig Cooper.
After waiting for two years, the signature victory finally came.
Sparkling defense: shutting down one of the best offenses in the country. Surprising quarterback play: Kyle Wright finally deciding to show up after more than two years. Entertaining play calling: Patrick Nix dialing up the long ball and trying out direct snaps. And, most importantly, electricity from the stands that charged up every single play.
After halftime, the temptation was just too much. I left the press box, went downstairs, and dove headfirst into the sea of humanity that was the student section. Television could not convey the insanity. The students did everything they could to influence the game without hopping onto the field themselves. Watching those first five minutes of that second half, cheering and yelling with my friends and classmates-there hasn’t been anything else like it. There’s no substitute for getting down in the stands and really feeling the magic that emanates from the students.
And with this glee comes a degree of sadness, reminiscing about our old OB. While last Thursday’s attendance was just around 44,000, it was the loudest 44,000 fans Miami has seen in a long time. The West End Zone crew was insane, the students came and stayed, and the stadium shined in its glory, with that light breeze blowing in through the open end zone and that gorgeous view of the Miami skyline off in the distance. That’s Miami football. And it won’t be like that anymore.
So savor this victory. Not only does it put Miami back on the map; not only does it supercharge the team heading into Atlantic Coast Conference play; but it allows us, for one final time, to remember what the Orange Bowl is: the home, forever and always of Miami football, the way it’s supposed to be. Here’s to the memory of fans cheering raucously, of lights shining down and of a fantastic Hurricane victory. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Matthew Bunch may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org