1966 Liberty Bowl

December 10, 1966 - Memphis, Tenn.
Memphis Memorial Stadium - Att: 25,012

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The Miami Hurricanes, getting second wind from a third-quarter roughing the kicker penalty, rebounded for two touchdowns in the second half to score a come-from-behind 14-7 win over Virginia Tech in the eighth annual Liberty Bowl.

In a game dominated primarily by defense, Tech got the early edge when Jimmy Richards blocked Miami's first punt of the game. The block gave the Hokies possession at the Miami 21. It took Tech just five plays to cash in on the opportunity with a 2-yard touchdown run by tailback Tommy Francisco. Jon Utin's extra-point kick gave Tech a 7-0 lead.

The Hokies got two more golden opportunities during the first half, marching inside the Miami 30 on both occasions. Both times Tech came up empty handed, seeing one drive stall on a clipping penalty and the other end on a dropped pass at the goal line and a fumbled snap. Although Tech dominated the first half, the failed chances would come back to haunt the Hokies.

Tech's relentless defense held the Hurricanes to just 16 yards of total offense during the first half. But Miami, ranked ninth with wins over Southern Cal, Georgia and Florida, slowly, turned the tide in the second half. First, the īCanes stopped a Tech threat with a 42-yard interception return. The play did not lead to a touchdown, but it changed the momentum of the game, as well as the battle for field position.

On its next possession, Miami got the spark it needed for its offense. After a drive stalled at the Hokies' 41, the Hurricanes got new life when a roughing the kicker penalty against Tech gave them a first down at the Tech 26. Five plays later UM quarterback Bill Miller found halfback Joe Mira for a 7-yard touchdown pass and Ray Harris tied the game with his extra point at the 4:20 mark of the third quarter.

By the midway point of the third quarter, Miami's size and strength were starting to make a difference on defense. UM All-American defensive end Ted Hendricks and company kept the Hokies bottled up in their own territory and allowed just one second half first down.

Miami's winning drive marked the only lengthy offensive push by either team all day. The Hurricanes started at their own 30 and made the march in 10 plays, including a key 38-yard pass from Miller to end Jim Cox that put the ball at the Tech 5. It took the īCanes four tries to score, with fullback Doug McGee diving over from the one on fourth down.

A Liberty Bowl record 39,101 tickets were sold for the game, but only 25,012 braved the 36-degree weather. The game was televised nationally by ABC and was not blacked out in the Memphis area.

Miami          0 0 7 7 - 14
Virginia Tech  7 0 0 0 -  7
VT (7:34 re 1st) - Francisco 1 run (Utin kick)
UM (4:20 re 3rd) - Mira 7 pass from Miller (Harris kick)
UM (8:05 re 4th) - McGee 1 run (Harris kick)

Team StatisticsUMVT
First Downs117
Rushing yds.5536
Passing yds.10875
Total off.163111
Fumbles lost12

Individual Leaders
Rushing - VT, Francisco 21-55, Garcia 3-15, Piland 4-10, Beamer 1-(-12), Stafford 8-(-16), Barker 3-(-16); UM, McGee 12-36, Acuff 6-25, Mira 11-9, Cassidy, 2-4, Domke 1-4, McGuirt 1-1, Miller 11-(-24).
Passing - VT, Stafford 4-13-1-59, Barker 2-3-0-16; UM, Miller 9-26-0-99, Olivo 1-2-0-9.
Receiving - VT, Cupp 1-35, Barefoot 4-34, Piland 1-6; UM, Cox 5-77, Russo 2-15, Mira 2-14, Smith 1-2.