Though Miami were favorites to claim the victory, Alabama's defense held the Hurricanes to just 13 points, while intercepting Torretta three times, en route to a 34–13 victory to claim their 12th National Championship. Alabama rushed for 267 yards—67 more yards than the Hurricanes had allowed all season.
A legendary play in Alabama football lore, known as "The Strip", occurred when Miami wide receiver Lamar Thomas caught a pass and sprinted for an 89-yard touchdown throw from Torretta, when Alabama's George Teague caught him from behind, stripped the ball from him, and started running the other way before being tackled.  The play became famous following Thomas's pre-game comments regarding the SEC, the superiority of the Miami receiving corps, and the manhood of the Alabama defensive backs. The play was negated by an Alabama offside penalty, but the strip was still successful in preventing a Miami touchdown on the play, as Miami would have simply declined the penalty had the strip not taken place. At one point, the Tide lined up all eleven players up to the line of scrimmage, confusing Torretta, which led to an interception returned for a touchdown.
Following the poor performance, some reporters began to question whether Torretta deserved the Heisman.