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Florida-Miami: a rivalry revisited

By JOANNE KORTH

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 28, 2000


Florida and Miami play for the first time in 13 seasons Tuesday in New Orleans. To refresh everyone's memories of this once-bitter rivalry, the Times will review one classic game in the series each day leading up to the Sugar Bowl:

Florida 45, Miami 16

Nov. 27, 1971, the Orange Bowl, Miami

In Florida quarterback John Reaves' final game, he needed 345 yards to break the NCAA career passing record held by Stanford's Jim Plunkett. When the Gators took a big lead, coach Doug Dickey decided to let Reaves go for the record. Leading 45-8 with 1:20 to play, Reaves was 14 yards short. But Miami had the ball. Florida players convinced Dickey the only way for Reaves to break the record was to let Miami score.

In what became known as "The Florida Flop," all UF players, except defensive back John Clifford, dropped to their bellies to give UM quarterback John Hornibrook a clear path to the end zone. UF recovered Miami's onside kick, and Reaves broke the record with a 15-yard pass to Carlos Alvarez and finished his career with 7,549 yards.

Reaves was carried off the field, and the jubilant Gators stormed the east end zone of the Orange Bowl, jumping into a pool used for Dolphins mascot Flipper during NFL games. Enraged Miami coach Fran Curci refused to shake Dickey's hand. -- Joanne Korth

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