It was supposed to be a meeting between old rivals, two programs that had fallen on rough times looking to gain some momentum heading into next season.
Apparently Miami never got the memo.
In the first meeting in 20 years between Miami and Notre Dame, the Hurricanes struggled out of the gate, throwing four first-half interceptions en route to a 33-17 loss at the Hyundai Sun Bowl that wasn’t even that close.
Jacory Harris, who was named the starter on Thursday, only lasted into the second quarter after having another rough outing, only completing four passes, while throwing three right into the hands of Notre Dame defenders.
Freshman Stephen Morris checked into the game with 11:13 left in the first half, but the Hurricanes struggled to score in the first half, with the only points coming on a Matt Bosher field goal as time expired to end the half trailing 27-3.
After failing to score in the third quarter, Morris did throw two touchdown passes in the fourth, including a 42 yard bomb to Tommy Streeter, who had not seen much playing time in his three years with the program. It was too little, too late at that point however, as the Irish were able to convert a field goal in the final minute to put the game away.
For the Hurricanes, it was a brutal display of the problems that had plagued them throughout the season. Interceptions, early penalties, missed reads and missed tackles allowed Notre Dame to take command and never look back. The interceptions led to quick scores, so the Canes were never able to establish a run game, having to pass to try and keep up.
The loss puts Miami at 7-6, which included a three-game losing streak to end the season. The Hurricanes have yet to win a bowl game since 2006, before former head coach Randy Shannon inherited the program.
As new coach Al Golden prepares to take the reigns of the football program, he heads into the new year with several questions about this team. Not only does he have to establish who his staff will be (former WR coach Aubrey Hill announced his decision to take the same position at the University of Florida), but also try and convince recruits to come down to Miami while rebuilding the defense as well.
Fans can only hope that Golden can bring the program back into “national relevance.”