Monday, December 13, 2010

The Heckler's Bowl Preview Special (Part 2 of 7)

Today I will be reviewing the Sun Bowl. The two participants in this Bowl Game are the University of Notre Dame and the University of Miami (FL.). The game will be held in El Paso, Texas. On Wednesday I will be reviewing the Fiesta Bowl (University of Connecticut v. University of Oklahoma).

Sun Bowl (El Paso, Texas) - December 31, 2010
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Notre Dame Fighting Irish v. Miami (FL.) Hurricanes



Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-5, I-A Independent)
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Average Points per game: 25.8 (73rd out of 120 Division I-A teams)
Average Points Allowed: 20.5 (29)
Home record: 5-3 (Lost to Michigan, #16 Standford, and Tulsa)
Away record: 2-2 (Lost to Michigan State and and Navy*)
Total Yards (offense): 378.3 (63)
Last 6 (W-L): 4-2
Record v. top 25: 1-1 (W: #14 Utah-Week 10; L: #16 Standford-Week4)
*neutral site game

Miami (FL.) Hurricanes (7-5, 5-3 A.C.C.)
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Average Points per game: 27.1 (58)
Average Points Allowed: 19.7 (21)
Home record: 3-3 (Lost to #23 Florida State, #16 Virginia Tech, and South Florida)
Away record: 4-2 (Lost to #2 Ohio State and Virginia)
Total Yards (offense): 422.6 (31)
Last 6 (W-L): 3-3
Record v. top 25: 0-3 (L: #2 Ohio State-Week 2, #23 Florida State-Week 5, #16 Virginia Tech-Week 11)

BREAKDOWN:

Notre Dame entered this season under a new regime. The Brian Kelly era was supposed to be filled with wins and B.C.S. Bowl Games. What it was filled with was close losses and unfulfilled promise. They finished with a winning record and beat U.S.C. all in the same game. It wasn't the win that the Golden Domers envisioned during their last 8 years of losing to the Trojans. A missed TD pass by Senior receiver Ronald Johnson in the 4th quarter with 1:17 left gave the Irish their first win against the Trojans in 8 years. Even then they had to intercept a last gasp pass at their own 15 before the game was really sealed. The U.S.C. game was a microcosm of the Irish season. They lost a close games to Michigan, Michigan State, and Tulsa. They were a couple of disciplined quarters away from having a 10-2 season. Rumor has it that Notre Dame turned downed the Champs Sports Bowl and the Las Vegas Bowl to come to the Sun Bowl. In my opinion they are taking their chance to recruit in Texas while they can. They may win the game, but the recruiting may be the number one priority during this Bowl trip. The Hurricanes have had a similar season to that of the Fighting Irish. Miami (FL.) could have been playing in the Orange Bowl instead of #13 Virginia Tech. When the season started and the Hurricanes lost their match-up with then #2 Ohio State everyone in the Nation thought that the Hurricanes would be back on our TVs during the New Years Day Bowl extravaganza. We were fooled. The Hurricanes have had a inconsistent season at best. With every two game winning streak there would follow a stretch where they would lose their important game of the month. #2 Ohio State, #23 Florida State, Virgina, #16 Virginia Tech and South Florida (in overtime); all of the previous losses came after the Hurricanes had built and rebuilt momentum for their season. Miami (FL.) Hurricanes have better athletes than the Fighting Irish, but they are less disciplined. This game is going to be a war of coaching and assignments. The team that makes the least amount of boneheaded mistakes will win this game. It has the chance to be a shootout classic, but it also has a chance to be one of those Bowl Games where the score is 17-14 and the team that makes the least turnovers win. The people associated with the Sun Bowl hope it will be the former and not the latter.

PREDICTION:

1st Half: Miami (FL.) 10 Notre Dame 6
2nd Half: Miami (FL.) 14 Notre Dame 17

Final Score: Miami (FL.) 24 Notre Dame 23

ANALYSIS:

Both teams are going to come out and look like they have all season. The Hurricanes are going to drive down the field with their running attack and throw it down the field here and there. Jacory Harris is going to show the Nation why he was such a prized recruit when he got to the University of Miami (FL.). Leonard Hankerson is going to expose the young Irish secondary as he and Harris are going to connect a couple of times long thoughout the first half. The Irish defense like they have all year will bend and hope the other team makes some mistakes. Damein Berry and Lamar Miller won't be able to find running room against the Irish Interior and will have to settle for just 10 points in the first half despite racking up the offensive numbers. The Irish will try to establish the run with the duo of Cierre Woods and Armondo Allen Jr.. Tommy Rees the freshmen QB that took the place of Dayne Crist due to injury will try and play within himself as always and limit his mistakes. The Irish will only be able to put 6 on the board as their offense will keep coming up short on 3rd down situations. In the second half both teams will come out with a bit more motivation, finally realizing that this is the last game of the season. It will be a back and forth affair but in the end the team with the better QB and the better running game will prevail. The Fighting Irish will make it interesting in the end by getting a late TD to pull within 1 but the onside kick won't be there and in the end the Hurricanes will end their tumultuous season with a win. The Irish will lick their wounds and hope to be back next year.

-The Heckler

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