The Miami Hurricanes apparently forgot a lot in two years, particularly the details of what a crusading, underdog team can do when it feels ignored and is shown little respect.
Miami won its own crusade and a national title by shocking Nebraska in the 1984 Orange Bowl. But if you listened to the Tennessee players, reveling in the glow of their 35-7 upset of the Hurricanes in the Sugar Bowl New Year's night, Miami was too fat and sassy for its own good.
Miami came into the Louisiana Superdome as a nine-point favorite. It had a 10-1 record and was ranked No. 2 in the country. But the Hurricanes gave up five straight touchdowns after taking a 7-0 lead in what became the biggest upset of the bowl season.
Tennessee put one great defensive whipping on Miami, the extent of which the Hurricanes still were trying to figure out early today. As well as then-eighth-ranked Tennessee (9-1-2) played, it seemed Miami was either overconfident, ill-prepared or just plain bad.
The Volunteers' defense, which posted three shutouts in its last five games to win the Southeastern Conference championship, sacked Miami's heralded quarterback Vinny Testaverde seven times, and forced him to throw three interceptions and lose a fumble.
When Testaverde wasn't on his back, he was calling audible signals (to counteract the Tennessee blitzes) that his teammates couldn't hear because of the noise the 40,000 or so Volunteers fans were making.
Many of the Miami players, including Testaverde, gave the company line afterward: "They didn't do anything we didn't expect. We just didn't execute."
That raised the eyebrows of Willie Smith, the candid Miami tight end, who was quick to say he's never seen his team's receivers covered so tightly.
"They were doing some things we had never seen," Smith said. "One time, I came off the line and there were four guys on my side, the strong side, surrounding me. It was like a box-and-one football style.
"And there were a couple of other things," Smith continued. "One, when Vinny had time to throw, they had the right coverages every time. And two, he didn't have as much time as it might have seemed."
Testaverde completed 20 of 36 passes for 217 yards, which was 100 yards below his average this season.
Mike Irvin, Miami's speedy receiver, said, "There was bad playing on everybody's part on our team. They covered us well, and their defensive line really helped with the rush they put on. But I never have felt this kind of pain. Not physical pain, but emotional pain because nobody's to blame but ourselves. We just weren't Miami tonight."
Tennessee linebacker Mark Hovanic said his team blitzed "80 to 90 percent of the time, with seven or eight different blitzes we ran seven or eight times each" to make sure Miami didn't become Miami.
"The thing we noticed in all the films was that Testaverde never took any shots all year. That's one thing we wanted to do. And I never saw them drive 70 or 80 yards. Everything they did was big plays."
Testaverde wanted to go deep for some of those big plays, but his teammates could not hear the audibles. If the tight ends, receivers and backs can't hear the signals to pick up the blitzes, the quarterback doesn't have the extra second to let his receiver get clear on deep patterns.
Smith said he had to ask the tackle for the audible because he couldn't hear, and at times was waiting to see the snap of the ball before moving off the line.
Tennessee linebacker Kelly Ziegler said, "We could sense their whole offense was getting frustrated. They didn't know whether we were coming or going."
And the Volunteers couldn't have been happier.
Two years ago, those who watched the Hurricanes on New Year's Eve could see how obsessed they were with beating then No. 1-ranked Nebraska, because the Cornhuskers were so brazenly cocky.
The Hurricanes didn't let it show publicly, but the Tennessee players said they had seen and heard enough to know Miami was full of itself.
"Miami just thought they were going to come in and win the game," Tennessee linebacker Dale Jones said.
Volunteers tailback Jeff Powell was even more vocal after the game about the fact Miami was hoping for an Oklahoma victory to displace Penn State from the No. 1 spot. That would leave Miami, which had won 10 straight, with only a victory over Tennessee standing between it and a second national title in three years.
"We felt like Miami learned a good lesson," said Powell, whose 60-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter made it 28-7. "We felt like they took us lightly . . . We saw them around town this week. They were very cocky. They didn't respect us and we took it personally."
Seemingly every single Tennessee player and coach took the time to thank defensive coordinator Ken Donahue -- Bear Bryant's defensive strategist for two decades -- who devised the plan that thumped Testaverde.
The Volunteers say if you give Donahue six weeks -- the amount of time he had to prepare for Miami -- that he'll know the opposition's offense better than it does. "Hell," Ziegler said. "He walked into the building knowing what the Miami left guard ate for breakfast."