MIAMI — Jarrett Payton got invited to talk to the Miami Hurricanes and spent a good portion of his time telling them about the mindset the school's 2001 team possessed.
Payton explained it as simply as he could: “We never thought we were going to lose,” he said.
Which makes sense, because the 2001 Hurricanes were never beaten. A decade has passed since that perfect season and fifth national championship and some of the players from that team returned Oct. 27 to be recognized during the Miami-Virginia game. The Hurricanes lost 28-21 and any realistic hopes of contending in the Atlantic Coast Conference likely slipped away.
Before the game, Payton, Mike Rumph and Brett Romberg were among the players who returned on a night where Miami also paid homage to past track, tennis, diving and baseball champions.
The Hurricanes went 12-0 in that 2001 season, outscoring seven Big East teams 290-55. For the season, Miami outscored clubs 512-117 and scored 27 points in the second quarter of the Rose Bowl alone: No team scored more than 27 against the Hurricanes in an entire game that season.
Nearly 40 players from that team played in the NFL and some of them are still there, a list that includes Jon Vilma, Ed Reed, Jeremy Shockey, Frank Gore, Andre Johnson, Kellen Winslow, Willis McGahee, Antrel Rolle, Vince Wilfork and D.J. Williams.
The Hurricanes take on Duke at 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens.
Photo: File Photo