The Miami Hurricanes football program has had great talent over the last half century, and that can is definitely on display in their record book. Some of those records are numbers that a current or future player could hope to one day break, while others look absolutely unreachable.
There is a saying: records are meant to be broken. Well, sometimes when a player sets a record, they hit a mark that could stay in place for decades because it is so outlandish. There have been some former Hurricanes who have done just that. In no specific order, here are 10 records I found that seem like they are nearly impossible for a player to reach unless a players has a once-in-a-generation insane game, season or career.
1. Michael Irvin, 1988
RECORD: 8 consecutive games with receiving touchdown
So it took me a minute of thinking about this to realize how crazy it is. Catching eight touchdowns in a season is a really good year for a college football player. But to do so in eight-straight games takes a special one that is always open and is consistent. Could a player do this? Sure. But it is extremely impressive to go eight straight games with a touchdown catch. Hell, some really good players could even go a week where they don’t have a single catch.
A player could have a historic season in every way, and still not even come close to this record. Leonard Hankerson broke basically every Miami football receiving record for a season in 2010, but he still only caught a touchdown pass in six straight games, even though he caught a total of 13 on the season.
2. Willis McGahee, 2002
RECORD: 134.8 yards per game in a single season
I chose this record over his record for rushing yards in a season because, technically, a great running could have two extra games to reach 1,753 yards if the Hurricanes were to reach the National Championship game. In 2014, Duke Johnson rushed for 1,652 yards in 13 games. If he had played two more games because of the College Football Playoff, he would have shattered McGahee’s yardage record.
Johnson did come close to breaking his record for yards in a game, about seven yards per game short, but that is still quite a bit for such a great season where he was the focal point of the offense. Plus, he had a six-game run where he rushed for over 100 yards, five of those games above 130.
3. Willis McGahee, 2002
RECORD: 6 touchdowns in a single game
As great a record as the yardage per game is, his game against Virginia Tech in 2002 is one that is going to be nearly impossible to match. In almost any scenario, there is no way a running back would have the opportunity to score six times in one game. When a player scores three touchdowns in a game, it is seen as great game, but doing that twice would just be silly. Almost everything has to go right, and then the coach has to just want the guy to score more and pad his stats.
For one player to score six times, it almost has to be against a really good team that is keeping the game close, because if it were a blowout, I would imagine the star running back wouldn’t be getting too many touches. Miami has always been a pretty balanced team, so to dedicate the offense completely to the ground attack seems unlikely unless it was working so well, there was no effort to throw the ball. And if that were the case, it is probably unlikely to score six times with one player.
4. Willis McGahee, 2002
RECORD: 28 rushing touchdowns in a single season
This is one is along the same lines as the last record. It is rare that Miami has an offense that will ever completely run through one player. Even when McGahee did this in 2002, the offense was pretty good at throwing the ball as well. But that just proves how dominant McGahee was that season. Most of the players who have rushed for 28 or more touchdowns in the history of college football are from teams that are primarily ground attack teams like Wisconsin or Navy.
Even Edgerrin James, who is one of the best backs to ever play at Miami, only rushed for 17 touchdowns in a season as his best. That is a great season and anyone would be happy with that number. But when you have a game with six touchdowns, that can make your season total look a little more ridiculous.
5. Stephen Morris, 2012
RECORD: 566 passing yards in a single game
Could this technically be broken? Yes. Is it tough to imagine a player throwing for 567 yards when the Hurricanes second-highest passing yardage record is just 485 yards by Heisman-Trophy winner Gino Torretta? Also, yes. For Morris to throw for 566 yards, he had a bunch of huge plays and just sliced through NC State’s defense for chunks of yardage. If Miami were in the Big Ten, this would be in jeopardy every week, but it’s the ACC where 500-yard passing performances don’t happen often.
I would love for Tate Martell, N’Kosi Perry, or Jarren Williams prove me wrong and throw for 600 yards before their Miami careers are done, but I also don’t want them to need that many yards because that means the Canes defense is getting points dropped on them.
6. Edgerrin James, 1998
RECORD: 299 rushing yards in a single game
Some players have been close to this mark, but 299 yards is insane. There have been players who rushed for over 400 yards, which I really just have a hard time imagining because that is sad for a defense to allow one player to continually torch them, but 300 yards is the nearly same thing. There is a possibility of one player having three or four huge runs and that getting them to this mark, but I still believe it will be a long time before we see a Hurricane rush for 300 yards.
For example, Travis Homer rushed for 168 yards against Pittsburgh in the 2018 season on eight carries. If he would have received 20 carries that, maybe he would reach 300, but there are always a group of backs that are just as talented as the next, so we disperse hand-offs between a group.
7. Dan Morgan, 1997-2000
RECORD: 532 tackles in a career
To say a player was one of the best at his position in Miami Hurricanes history is a huge compliment, but to say that about a linebacker is a totally different level of praise. Dan Morgan was a monster from the time he stepped on campus in Coral Gables, tackling everything that moved for four years. It is pretty impressive to finish a season with over 100 tackles, but Morgan averaged 133 for four seasons. I can’t imagine any player doing that again.
To put this number in perspective, Shaq Quartermann has started 39 games in his first three seasons in Miami, and he totaled 249 tackles. As a senior, he would have to double his career number, THEN have 34 more to break this record. Denzel Perryman, who was Miami’s best linebacker in recent years, finished his career with 351 total tackles.
8. Bennie Blades (1986) and Sean Taylor (2003)
RECORD: 10 interceptions in a single season
I think the only thing that hurts this record’s worthiness is that two players have done it. But for those two players to be Blades and THE Sean Taylor, it says all that needs to be said. Taylor is one of the best to ever play safety. Ed Reed, who was just as dominant a player at every level, had nine interceptions, so to have more than him says a lot. A truly special player could match this record, and maybe top it, but that doesn’t seem realistic at this point.
9. Ed Reed, 1998-2001
RECORD: 21 interceptions in a career
So yes, this is not a number that jumps off the screen at you. All it would take is a player having a great season with a few more solid years to get to the 20’s, but that is easier said than done. If a player had two seasons of five interceptions and two of six, that could break this record. But six interceptions in a season is really good and isn’t a mark that many Hurricanes’ players have hit in recent years.
Artie Burns picked six passes in 2015, and he is the only player with more than four in a season since Taylor had 10 in 2003. Reed had two interceptions in each of his first two seasons, and then had eight his junior year before having nine as a senior.
10. Jim Burt, 1980
RECORD: 4 fumble recoveries in a single game
This is a random record, but one that seems like it just couldn’t happen again. To recover four fumbles in a game as a team is great, but that doesn’t happen often at all, and for every one of those to be recovered by the same player is just lucky. Or, you just have Jim Burt on your team while he is always around the ball. There is no way this could be broken. Matched? Maybe. But there is no way one player could recover five fumbles in a game.