If Rice sees one person in his sleep for the next few weeks, it will be senior middle linebacker Bernard Clark, who made 13 tackles and was in Rice's face all night. Clark's biggest play came in the waning moments of the first half, six plays after Bolcar's TD had evened the score at 10-10. Clark stepped in front of Notre Dame tight end Derek Brown, picked off a Rice pass and returned it 50 yards. The interception set up Miami's second touchdown, a five-yard burst up the middle by Steve McGuire.
Yet Clark was disappointed in himself after the game. "I got caught from behind [by Derek Brown]," he said shaking his head. "That's not good. I'll never live that down."
"If you were in any kind of shape at all, that would've been six!" said tackle Mike Sullivan jokingly.
Clark responded with a friendly obscenity. "See what I mean?" he said.
Then Sullivan planted a kiss on Clark's cheek.
As he surveyed these kinder, gentler Hurricanes, coach Erickson injected a note of defiance into the postgame gaiety. "Coming into this game, I don't think anyone gave us much credit," he said. "Well, the transition is over." And the battle for No. 1 has just begun.