Kosar Puts UM on the National Map

Bernie Kosar arrived at the University of Miami as a tall, gangly, curly-haired freshman from Boardman, Ohio in 1982. He was one of two freshmen quarterbacks, along with Vinny Testaverde of Elmont, NY, who were part the 1982 recruiting class. After Jim Kelly graduated from UM in 1983, Kosar beat out Testaverde and Kyle Vanderwende in fall practice to become the Canes new starting quarterback.

Kosar’s college career started on a sour note. The Canes were beaten soundly by the Florida Gators 28-3 in Gainesville to open the 1983 season. It would be the last time Miami would lose that season. What Kosar lacked in athletic ability, he made up with a razor sharp mind, high football IQ and accuracy. He calmly guided the Canes to 10 consecutive victories. Then he saved his best game for last. Kosar threw for a then Orange Bowl record 300 yards and 2 touchdown passes to tight end Glenn Dennison to lead the Hurricanes to a 31-30 upset victory over Nebraska to give Miami its first national championship.

The 1984 season would be Kosar’s last at UM. It was a season of tremendous highs and lows under new coach Jimmy Johnson. After leading UM to back-to-back victories over #1 Auburn and Florida to start the year, the Canes would finish the season with 3 consecutive losses, all in spectacular fashion. They blew a 31-0 halftime lead against Maryland. Then Boston College came into the Orange Bowl and shocked Miami when Doug Flutie completed the most famous Hail Mary in college football history. Finally, Miami finished the season with a shootout loss to UCLA in the Fiesta Bowl. But throughout that roller coaster season, Kosar remained consistent. He set UM single season passing records with 3,642 yards and 25 touchdowns, was a second-team All-American and finished fourth in Heisman Trophy voting.

A GTE Academic All American, Kosar graduated with a dual degree in finance and economics in just 2 1/2 years at UM. He decided to skip his final two years of college eligibility to enter the 1985 NFL Supplemental Draft, where he was selected by his favorite NFL team the Cleveland Browns. From 1985 to 1992, Kosar led the Browns to 3 appearances in the AFC Championship Game, losing all three times to the Denver Broncos and John Elway in heartbreaking fashion. Released by Cleveland in 1993, he was reunited with Jimmy Johnson as a backup with the Dallas Cowboys where he earned his only Super Bowl ring. Kosar finished the final three seasons of his NFL career with the Dolphins from 1994 to 1996. To read more articles about the history of the Orange Bowl, visit us at https://www.facebook.com/ghostsoftheorangebowl

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