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Notre Dame to face Miami in Sun Bowl
“If I wasn’t involved in this game, this game, Miami versus Notre Dame, would be a game I would definitely watch,” Miami interim coach Jeff Stoutland said Sunday.
If he was going to coach one game, having it in El Paso seems like a natural fit. There’s a Stoutland Lane in El Paso _ and yes, it is named for him.
In the early 1990s, Stoutland was recruiting a player from the Dallas area, whose father was in the oil business. That recruit’s family built a development in El Paso, the streets were named after coaches who crossed their path _ Stoutland Lane, for example, is nestled between Warren Belin Drive, Peter Noyes Drive and Jim Knowles Place.
“I know all those guys,” said Stoutland, who didn’t know about the street name until last week, when the Sun Bowl emerged as the front-runner to get Miami.
Notre Dame and Miami began exchanging film Sunday afternoon, and Stoutland said he was eager to have a game plan ready on Monday. It will be the 30th bowl game for Notre Dame (14-15) and the 36th for Miami (19-16).
Making a bowl game in Brian Kelly’s first season as Notre Dame’s coach didn’t seem likely after a 1-3 start. And the Irish also had to deal with the death of student videographer Declan Sullivan in late October, when the tower he was filming practice from toppled over in high winds.
But the Irish ended the season on a three-game winning streak. Now they’re expecting to have Williams back after he missed the final four games with a knee injury.
“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,” Kelly said.
Kelly, who’s followed Notre Dame’s fortunes most of his life, remembers the heated series between the Irish and the Hurricanes, mostly for what coaches such as Lou Holtz and Jimmy Johnson brought to the games.
“Kind of opposite personalities that were really strong personalities and, in some instances, overshadowed the players,” Kelly said.
AP Sports Writer Tim Reynolds in Miami contributed to this report.
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