The Nebraska football team might have come into the 2002 Rose Bowl game with an 11-1 record and the reigning Heisman Trophy winner in Eric Crouch, but Miami Hurricanes player Ed Reed wasn't scared of the Cornhuskers at all. The same can't be said of his head coach Larry Coker. It turns out, Reed calmed his coach down by making a prediction about the game. When the smoke cleared, the Hurricanes had won the national title in a blowout victory that many Husker fans saw as the beginning of the end of the Frank Solich regime in Lincoln.
Bruce Feldman of The Athletic recently wrote an article about one of his favorite players of all time. Feldman picked Ed Reed and then told a series of anecdotes about why the former Baltimore Ravens and Miami Hurricanes star was his pick. Feldman posted a story he was told by one of Reed's teammates, Curtis Johnson, on Twitter. The story was about Miami getting ready for a showdown with the Nebraska football team ahead of the national title game.
Miami had run through its opponents all season long and so had Nebraska, for the most part. The Huskers lost their last regular-season game to Colorado, in embarrassing fashion but the oddities of college football polls, as well as some other well-timed losses by other schools, still got the Cornhuskers into the matchup.
Hurricanes' head coach Larry Coker had gone up against NU when he was at Oklahoma State and Nebraska was in the middle of its Tom Osborne heydays so he was nervous about that iteration of the team. Ed Reed was not.
Feldman wrote that when Reed heard his coach expressing dismay before the game because the Huskers had routinely "put 60" on Coker's OSU Cowboys, he turned around and made it clear the defensive back wasn't worried at all.
"Nebraska? Nebraska? We Miami! Coach, don't be scared. We got this."Reed was said to have patted Coker on the shoulder and walked out of the locker room, ready to start the game. The Hall of Famer knew what he was talking about. The Cornhuskers were no match for the Hurricanes that day as Miami opened the game with a 34-0 halftime lead.
Most college football fans agree it was only Coker calling off the dogs in the second half that allowed the game to be considered close at all. When the smoke had cleared, Miami and Ed Reed finished the season 12-0 thanks to a 37-14 win. The following season, Nebraska football suffered it's first non-winning campaign in decades and a year after that, Frank Solich was fired.