A Night to Remember, 30 Years On

Craig Howard is led away by authorities after tackling Sebastian the Ibis

The 1992 Miami Hurricanes football team was riding a 18-game winning streak and were the preseason #1 team when Hurricane Andrew rolled through Dade County on August 24. As the first game on the schedule neared the team relocated to Dodgertown in Vero Beach to prepare for the September 5 opener at Iowa.

The following is what Hurricane reporter Jason Molinet wrote following the game:

University of Iowa officials were billing it as “A Night to Remember,” the first night game ever at Kinnick Stadium against the top-ranked University of Miami football team.

A number of the 70,397 people who filled the stadium will remember one tackle more than any other from the Hurricanes 24-7 victory over Iowa.

One Iowa fan attempted to take on Miami single handed, or at least UM’s mascot, Sebastian the Ibis. Standing near the end zone following a failed third down conversion late in the first half, Sebastian, portrayed by John Routh since 1984, was tackled from behind.

Recalling the incident later, Routh said, “I suddenly realized I was on the ground. If I would have seen him coming, he would have never had a chance.”

“I saw a guy running up behind [Routh] and I wondered what he was doing, and he just tackled him. I couldn’t believe it,” Zak Sulkes, a UM cheerleader, said. 

Craig Howard was arrested and charged with assault and battery, disorderly conduct, and public drunkenness.

Molinet also wrote, “It is believed Howard attacked Sebastian as a result of a wager.”

What we didn’t know at the time is who offered the wager.

Actor Tom Arnold, appearing as a guest on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno in 1993, recalled a drunken fan sitting next to him and his then-wife Rosanne Barr, at the game. In order to get rid of the fan, he bet him he wouldn’t go try to tackle the Ibis.

The rest is history.

And for Howard, it was certainly a night to remember.

Published by

JC Ridley

JC Ridley is the long-time team photographer for the Miami Hurricanes and Florida Atlantic Owls, with over 25 years of experience in the photography industry. His images have been published in numerous publications, including Sports Illustrated. JC even spent seven seasons as a contributing photographer for the National Football League.

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