Notre Dame-Miami rivalry to get started early in Sun Bowl

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While the announcement of the Irish and Hurricanes reuniting in 2012 had many fans excited, the Sun Bowl kick-started the process, reuniting Notre Dame and Miami in a dream scenario for bowl organizers.

“After waiting 77 years, the stars have finally lined up for us,” John Folmer, Hyundai Sun Bowl chairman said today. “I have spent 40 years as a volunteer and I would have never thought I would see the day that Notre Dame and Miami would play in the Sun Bowl.”

It might not be the high-voltage reunion of collegiate powers that marked this rivalry a few decades ago, but it’s a great match-up for both 7-5 teams. Miami is without head coach Randy Shannon, who was fired and replaced with interim head coach Jeff Stoutland, the team’s offensive line coach. And a little over a month ago, many expected the Irish to spend the holidays at home, sitting at 4-5 needing two wins in their final three games to even qualify for postseason play.

“We are thrilled about getting Notre Dame back to a bowl game, especially one with tradition like the Hyundai Sun Bowl,” Irish head coach Brian Kelly said. “Following our victory at USC, we internally targeted the Sun Bowl as a great game for us because of the national exposure the game receives and the top-notch opponent we will face in Miami.”

The Irish’s bowl scenario was fuzzy until yesterday, when a few key games determined whether the Irish would play in the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando or the Holiday Bowl in San Diego. But West Virginia and UConn’s victories, combined with a late-game win by Washington in the Apple Cup, put the Irish on target to play in El Paso.

Notre Dame leads the all-time series with Miami 15-7-1, with the last game between the two teams played 20 years ago in 1990. The Irish and Hurricanes have never played in a bowl game.