The 1985 Fiesta Bowl, played on January 1, 1985, was the 14th edition of the Fiesta Bowl. The game featured the UCLA Bruins, and the Miami Hurricanes. The game was the fourth highest scoring Fiesta Bowl of all time. Miami was defending national champions, playing with four losses under new head coach Jimmy Johnson.
The Hurricanes were the defending national champions. Having defeated number one ranked Auburn, and then Florida, they rose to be ranked number one before their game at Michigan. They remained in the top ten after that loss. They lost again to Florida State. They beat a ranked Notre Dame team in South Bend to return to the top 10. The Hurricanes earned three more wins, but then suffered two of the most notable losses in college football history.
On November 10, 1984 at the Orange Bowl Stadium, The Maryland Terrapins defeated the Hurricanes with the largest (at that time) comeback in college football. Down 31-0 at halftime, Frank Reich, who had been injured, came off the bench and led the comeback. At the start of the third quarter, Reich led the Terrapins on multiple scoring drives. Three touchdowns in the third quarter and a fourth at the start of the final quarter turned what was a blowout into a close game. Maryland completed a 42–9 second half, and won 42–40.
The next week at the Orange Bowl stadium, the Hurricanes faced the Boston College Eagles in a nationally-tlevised game that has become known as "Hail Flutie". It has been regarded by FOX Sports writer Kevin Hench as among the most memorable moments in sports. The game is most notable for a last-second Hail Mary pass from quarterbackDoug Flutie to wide receiverGerard Phelan to give Boston College the win.
The Bruins had won back to back Pac-10 championships and Rose Bowl games in their new home stadium in the 1982 and 1983 seasons. In the last game of the 1984 season, they defeated Pac-10 champions and Rose Bowl bound USC for the third time in a row.
UCLA took an early 7-0 lead, off a 6-yard touchdown run by halfback Gaston Green. He would finish with 144 yards rushing on 21 attempts, and would be named the game's MVP. Miami responded following a 34-yard touchdown run by tailback Darryl Oliver, knotting the game at 7. Later in the quarter, all-American wide receiver Eddie Brown fielded a punt, and took it 68 yards for a Hurricane touchdown, giving Miami a 14-7 lead.
In the second quarter, quarterback Bernie Kosar threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Brian Blades to increase Miami's lead to 21-7. UCLA responded in a big way, riding a 72-yard touchdown run by all-American Gaston Green to pull within 21-14. The defense continued the momentum by forcing a safety, bringing the score to 21-16. All-American kicker John Lee kicked two field goals of 51 and 33 yards before halftime to give UCLA a 22-21 lead at halftime.
Miami reclaimed the lead in the third quarter, after Greg Cox drilled a 31-yard field goal, putting Miami in front 24-22. Quarterback Steve Bono found wide receiver Mike Sherrard for a 10-yard touchdown pass to switch the lead to UCLA, 29-24.
In the fourth quarter, Steve Bono found Mike Young for a 33-yard touchdown pass, increasing UCLA's lead to 36-24. Miami responded with a 19-yard touchdown run from running back Melvin Bratton. The attempted two-point conversion failed, leaving the score 36-30. Bernie Kosar later found Bratton on a 3-yard slant pass, giving Miami a 37-36 lead. With 2:58 remaining, Steve Bono moved the Bruins down the field. UCLA's all-American kicker John Lee scored the winning points on a 23-yard field goal, giving UCLA the 39-37 win. Miami mounted one last charge, but Terry Tumey forced a fumble after a sack of Bernie Kosar to seal the win.
Three Pac-10 teams participated in New Year's Day bowl games. #4 Washington won the 1985 Orange Bowl over #2 Oklahoma, and #18 USC won the 1985 Rose Bowl over #6 Ohio State. BYU was the lone undefeated team and was ranked #1 and the end of the year.