Mirer's coolness under the blitz was typical of his play all afternoon. He completed eight of 16 passes for 153 yards, and proved an adept rusher as well, with 11 carries for 34 yards. All season the sophomore has operated Notre Dame's multiple offensive sets like a veteran—as well he should. When he was in high school, Mirer used to come over from Goshen, Ind., 25 miles away, to study the Irish spring practices. Not that there was anything better to do in rural Goshen. "There's not a lot of entertainment, but, you know, they've got roads, and they're paved and everything," he said.
The Hurricanes still had hope as Erickson drove them from their own 35 to the Irish 25 in just over a minute. On second-and-two, Conley swept right for a 23-yard gain with nothing before him but the end zone. But Davis wrapped an arm around him from behind and jerked the ball loose, and Stonebreaker fell on it at the two. After what seemed like an interminable amount of time, Conley got up and walked to the sideline. "I just wanted to get off the field and try to hold my head up," he said.
The Hurricanes offered no excuses. "It was mental breakdowns," Craig Erickson said. "One guy here, one guy there. I'm one of them." Miami had little to say of the Irish, other than to offer perfunctory congratulations. But Erickson did. "I challenge the athletic directors and the coaches to put this game back on no later than 1992," he said.
That is unlikely to happen. The only consolation is that the game ended with a hint of reconciliation. As Dennis Erickson left his postgame press conference, two players, not his own, stopped him and buried their faces in his neck. They were the Irish's Lyght and Ismail.
"It ended the way it should end," Erickson said.