1990 USF&G Sugar Bowl
56th edition
1234 Total
Miami 71367 33
Alabama 01708 25
DateJanuary 1, 1990
StadiumLouisiana Superdome
LocationNew Orleans, Louisiana
MVPCraig Erickson (Miami QB)
FavoriteMiami by 9 points[1]
RefereeJohn Nealon (Big Ten)
Halftime showMillion Dollar Band
United States TV coverage
AnnouncersAl Michaels, Frank Gifford,
and Dan Dierdorf
Sugar Bowl
 < 1989  1991

The 1990 Sugar Bowl was the 56th edition of the college football bowl game, played at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Monday, January 1. Part of the 1989–90 bowl game season, it featured the second-ranked independent Miami Hurricanes and the #7 Alabama Crimson Tide of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). Favored Miami won 33–25.[2][3]

Sponsored by the USF&G insurance company, the game was officially known as the USF&G Sugar Bowl.


Main article: 1989 NCAA Division I-A football season

Both teams entered the game with just one loss.


Main article: 1989 Miami Hurricanes football team

The Hurricanes' only loss was at Florida State in late October. Following their victory over Notre Dame a month later, they accepted an invitation to play in the Sugar Bowl.[4] This was Miami's sixteenth bowl game appearance and second Sugar Bowl.


Main article: 1989 Alabama Crimson Tide football team

The Crimson Tide won their first ten games, but lost to Auburn in the first-ever Iron Bowl played at Jordan–Hare Stadium,[5][6] and fell from second to seventh in the AP poll. This was Alabama's 42nd bowl game appearance, eleventh in the Sugar Bowl, but the first in ten years, when they defeated the Arkansas Razorbacks en route to the national championship.

Game summary

The game kicked off shortly after 7:30 p.m. CST, following the Rose Bowl on ABC, and shortly after the start of the Orange Bowl on NBC, which matched top-ranked Colorado and #4 Notre Dame.[7]

Miami opened the scoring with Stephen McGuire's three-yard touchdown run.[8] In the second quarter, Alabama tied the game on a four-yard Gary Hollingsworth touchdown pass to Marco Battle.[8] On the next drive the Hurricanes retook the lead after Craig Erickson threw an eighteen-yard touchdown strike to Wesley Carroll. After the Carlos Huerta extra point was blocked by Thomas Rayam Miami led 13–7.[8] The Tide cut the lead to 13–10 midway through the quarter on a 45-yard Philip Doyle field goal.[8] The teams then traded touchdowns to end the quarter with Miami scoring on a three-yard Alex Johnson run and the Crimson Tide scoring on a four-yard touchdown pass from Gary Hollingsworth to Lamonde Russell to make the halftime score 20–17.[8]

In the third quarter, the Hurricanes extended their lead on an eleven-yard Erickson touchdown pass to Rob Chudzinski and after a second missed extra point the score was 26–17 entering the final period.[8] In the fourth, Miami scored again on a twelve-yard Randy Bethal touchdown reception from Erickson and Alabama scored the final points of the game after Prince Wimbley had a nine-yard touchdown reception from Gary Hollingsworth to make the final score 33–25.[8]

Scoring summary
Quarter Time Drive Team Scoring information Score
Plays Yards TOP Miami Alabama
1 4:55 9 66 Miami Stephen McGuire 3-yard touchdown run, Carlos Huerta kick good 7 0
2 14:07 9 36 Alabama Marco Battle 4-yard touchdown reception from Gary Hollingsworth, Philip Doyle kick good 7 7
2 12:10 5 78 Miami Wesley Carroll 18-yard touchdown reception from Craig Erickson, Carlos Huerta kick no good (blocked) 13 7
2 8:58 4 7 Alabama 45-yard field goal by Philip Doyle 13 10
2 5:08 9 62 Miami Alex Johnson 3-yard touchdown run, Carlos Huerta kick good 20 10
2 00:40 11 80 Alabama Lamonde Russell 4-yard touchdown reception from Gary Hollingsworth, Philip Doyle kick good 20 17
3 6:54 10 67 Miami Rob Chudzinski 11-yard touchdown reception from Craig Erickson, Carlos Huerta kick no good 26 17
4 12:35 11 88 Miami Randy Bethal 12-yard touchdown reception from Craig Erickson, Carlos Huerta kick good 33 17
4 2:53 6 33 Alabama Prince Wimbley 9-yard touchdown reception from Gary Hollingsworth, 2-point pass good 33 25
"TOP" = time of possession. For other American football terms, see Glossary of American football. 33 25


Statistics    Miami    Alabama
First Downs 24 17
Rushes–yards 50–227 29–38
Passing yards 250 214
Passes 17–27–1 27–43–1
Total Offense 77–477 72–252
Return yards 13 34
Punts–average 5–31.4 8–38.3
Fumbles–lost 2–2 0–0
Turnovers 3 1
Penalties–yards 11–77 3–24
Time of possession 30:38 29:22


With #1 Colorado's loss in the Orange Bowl, both the Associated Press and Coaches' Polls awarded the Hurricanes the national championship, ranking them first in their final rankings.[10] Alabama fell to ninth in the final AP poll.[9]


  1. ^ "Latest line". Gainesville Sun. (Florida). December 31, 1989. p. 4C.
  2. ^ a b "Debate heated over No. 1: Miami claims crown". Toledo Blade. (Ohio). Associated Press. January 2, 1990. p. 21.
  3. ^ a b "Hurricanes huff and puff past 'Bama". The Bulletin. (Bend, Oregon). Associated Press. January 2, 1990. p. D1.
  4. ^ Jenkins, Sally (November 26, 1989). "Hurricanes storm through Irish". The Washington Post.
  5. ^ Cecil, Hurt; Stevenson, Tommy (December 3, 1989). "AU wins but Bama gets Sugar". Tuscaloosa News. (Alabama). p. A1.
  6. ^ Shearer, Ed (December 3, 1989). "Auburn rolls over second-rated Tide". Gainesville Sun. (Florida). Associated Press. p. 1C.
  7. ^ "Bowl schedule". Gainesville Sun. (Florida). December 31, 1989. p. 4C.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g "How they scored". The Tuscaloosa News. January 2, 1990. p. 4B. Retrieved August 30, 2011.
  9. ^ a b "Scoreboard: College football". Gainesville Sun. (Florida). Associated Press. January 3, 1990. p. 4C.
  10. ^ Fernandes, Doug (January 3, 1990). "Miami sweeps polls". The Tuscaloosa News. NYT Regional Newspapers. p. 1D. Retrieved August 30, 2011.